Us Against You

Us Against You


'Us Against You' is the sequel to the brilliant 'Beartown.'

The small town is still reeling from an event that tore the isolated community in two. New conflicts begin to arise and the reader is left to wonder how far will one town go to protect it's reputation?

Our Review

I chose to read Us Against You because I enjoyed Fredrik Backman’s previous book Beartown. If you haven’t already read it then I suggest you read it before reading this book. You don’t have to read it, but it certainly helps.

I was given this book to read for review many months ago, but time slipped away from me because of looking after my new-born. However, this weekend I had some time to myself and I devoured this book.

WARNING This review contains some spoilers.

Reading Us Against You made me experience a whole range of emotions; I laughed, I cried and there were many times where I seethed with anger. At no point did I feel like it was just a book. It was one of those books that absorbs you to the point where whilst reading it you are a citizen of Beartown.

The citizens of Beartown are still reeling over ‘the scandal’ of the star hockey player Kevin raping the general manager’s daughter Maya. When it happened, the town divided, and many chose to take Kevin’s side after all hockey equals life for many in the town.

Many of Kevin’s friends chose to move to Hed Hockey club with him. Now the truth is out how have those who sided with Kevin reacted?

Beartown hockey club is in trouble, the old divisions remain, and more secrets are about to come out.

“Have you ever seen a town fall? Ours did. We’ll end up saying that violence came to Beartown this summer, but that will be a lie, the violence was already here. Because sometimes hating one another is so easy that it seems incomprehensible that we ever do anything else.”

Backman’s writing style makes you feel as though you in conversation with someone who was witness to the events and carries the emotions with them for good or for bad, who makes you wonder what you would do in a similar situation.

“Sometimes good people do terrible things in the belief that they’re trying to protect what they love. A boy, the star of the hockey team, raped a girl. And we lost our way. A community is the sum of its choices and when two of our children said different things, we believed him. Because that was easier, because if the girl was lying we could carry on as usual. When we found out the truth, we fell apart taking the town with us. It’s easier to say we should have done everything differently, but perhaps you wouldn’t have acted differently, either. If you’d been afraid, if you’d been forced to pick a side. If you’d known what you had to sacrifice. Perhaps you wouldn’t be as afraid as you’d think. Perhaps you’re not as different from us as you hope.”

Us Against You is about the aftermath of a scandal, about community, family, friendship and sport. It’s about masculinity and femininity and what it means when you can’t follow the rules society sets out for you.

Backman prepares the reader for the worst very early on in the book, he warns what it is to come but if you are anything like me you will become so absorbed in the story that you forget his warning.

“We will say it was a traffic accident, but accidents happen by chance, and we will know that we could have prevented this one. This one will be someone’s fault.

People we love will die. We will bury our children beneath our most beautiful trees.”

One of the things about the aftermath of the events of the last book was the way both Kira and Peter blamed themselves and felt they should have or could have done something more to prevent it but also how Kevin’s mother felt she had done something wrong too.

I enjoyed all of the characters in this book but two of the characters that stood out the most for me were Benji and Leo.

Leo struggles from the beginning with feelings he should have done something to protect his sister even though he is only twelve.

“His friends have still started to tell him that he ‘ought to do something,’ That one of those bastards ‘needs to be punished.’ That he ‘has to be a man.’ Masculinity is complicated when you’re twelve. And at every other age, too.”

One of the hardest hitting quotes for me from the book was this:

“She wasn’t raped, she’s still being raped. For Kevin it lasts a matter of minutes but for her it never ends.”

This book gives you a lot to think about for long after it finishes.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 5/5

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