I have to start this review by divulging a fact: I’m not really an audiobook person. However, since I was going to be on an Amtrak train for many hours and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to overcome motion sickness to read, I grabbed a couple audiobooks for the ride. I only listened to one of the three, since I discovered on our way home that I could read on the train without sickness! Of the three, choosing Britt-Markie Was Here by Fredrik Backman (author of A Man Called Ove) was the best possible choice I could make.
I read A Man Called Ove for book club, and it touched my heart in multiple wonderful ways, tugging at my emotions the whole way through. If you liked Ove, you’ll love Britt-Marie. Or heck, even if you didn’t like Ove, there’s still a chance you’ll love Britt-Marie!
In my opinion, there aren’t a whole lot of authors out there who can inject so much emotion into their characters. Backman is a masterful storyteller with a knack for lovingly painting his characters’ portraits in a way that makes it practically impossible for the reader to not fall in love with them, empathize with them, and become emotionally engulfed by them.
Britt-Marie is an older, but not quite elderly woman with a penchant for organized cutlery drawers, really clean windows, mugs that aren’t plastic, and coasters. She’s persnickety, set in her ways, proper, and exceedingly persistent. When her husband is unfaithful and she leaves him, her clean and tidy life gets messy, and she struggles to adapt. Since her husband was her provider, she decides she must get a job. Her hilarious persistence at the unemployment office lands her a poorly paid, temporary job as a caretaker for a doomed recreational center building in a derelict town.
What follows is something I can only describe as a twisting and turning story of a woman who, despite her steely exterior, begins to open up to the world around her. The town and its cast of colorful characters begin to encroach on Britt-Marie’s heart, and neither she nor the town will ever be the same.
This book is hilarious, heartwarming, heart-wrenching, and insightful, and I loved it! It had even more depth to it than Ove, and I just couldn’t believe how tangled and deep the story got, but I loved every moment of it. And the ending…that ending! Britt-Marie made Backman one of my favorite authors. I highly suggest adding this one to your TBR list! Audiobook, ebook or paper, this one will steal your heart, turn it upside down and all around, then hand it back to you better for having known Britt-Marie.