Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel (Paperback)
Readers of Backman’s second novel, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, will remember Britt-Marie, as a rule-making, nag-bag with an OCD involving cleaning. Britt-Marie is hard to like, and she hasn’t changed much as this novel begins, except that she has taken a step away from her cheating husband, Kent. Britt-Marie lands a temporary job looking after a recreation center in a small town decimated by the financial crisis. In Borg she encounters a cast of characters who are almost as eager to steer clear of her as she is to avoid them. It’s when some children demand her attention that the people of Borg and Britt-Marie begin to change. Backman takes a disillusioned, middle-aged woman, a down-on-its-luck village and delivers a laugh-out-loud novel that is also poignant.— Karen
Sometimes a person is in the mood for comfort food, and for bibliophiles there can sometimes come a yearning for comfort reading. I was in one of those moods recently and Frederik Backman’s Britt-Marie Was Here was as satisfying as homemade macaroni and cheese. Britt-Marie needs her life and her cutlery drawer to be in just the right order, so when her world suddenly shifts, she must take matters into her own hands to put it right, befriending an unemployment office worker and a Snickers-eating rat. But that is just the beginning of a world that expands to include a struggling small town in Sweden with a passion for soccer. You may have met Britt-Marie in Backman’s My Grandmother Asked me to Tell you She’s Sorry. As with that book and A Man Called Ove, the cast of quirky characters is engaging, endearing and ultimately, comforting. (As I was writing this review, a boxed set of all three books arrived at the store—a perfect Mother’s Day gift!)— Mary
Sometimes a person is in the mood for comfort food, and for bibliophiles there can sometimes come a yearning for comfort reading. I was in one of those moods recently and Frederik Backman’s Britt-Marie Was Here was as satisfying as homemade macaroni and cheese. Britt-Marie needs her life and her cutlery drawer to be in just the right order, so when her world suddenly shifts, she must take matters into her own hands to put it right, befriending an unemployment office worker and a Snickers-eating rat. But that is just the beginning of a world that expands to include a struggling small town in Sweden with a passion for soccer. You may have met Britt-Marie in Backman’s My Grandmother Asked me to Tell you She’s Sorry. As with that book and A Man Called Ove, the cast of quirky characters is engaging, endearing and ultimately, comforting.— From Mary's Staff Favorites
May 2016 Indie Next List
“Backman's incomparable novels celebrate and revolve around unlikely protagonists: a curmudgeonly widower in A Man Called Ove; a girl on the autism spectrum in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry; and now Britt-Marie, an order-obsessed, cleanliness-loving woman of a certain age. Having left her two-timing husband, Britt-Marie takes a job in the small, depressed town of Borg, and magic begins to happen. Britt-Marie Was Here is another warmhearted delight!”
— Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI
The New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry “returns with this heartwarming story about a woman rediscovering herself after a personal crisis…fans of Backman will find another winner in these pages” (Publishers Weekly).
Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.
But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes.
When Britt-Marie walks out on her cheating husband and has to fend for herself in the miserable backwater town of Borg—of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it—she finds work as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center. The fastidious Britt-Marie soon finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts. Most alarming of all, she’s given the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory. In this small town of misfits, can Britt-Marie find a place where she truly belongs?
Funny and moving, sweet and inspiring, Britt-Marie Was Here celebrates the importance of community and connection in a world that can feel isolating.
About the Author
Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, and two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime, as well as one work of nonfiction, Things My Son Needs to Know About the World. His books are published in more than forty countries. His latest novel is Anxious People. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Connect with him on Twitter @BackmanLand or on Instagram @Backmansk.
"Warm and satisfying."
“Backman has written another bestseller with his latest novel. While at first Britt-Marie seems intolerable and aggravating, readers are quickly endeared to her obsessive-compulsive ways and frank honesty. At first the writing style comes off sharp; however, readers quickly see that is how Britt-Marie processes the world and it too becomes something amicable. Heartfelt and truly stirring, Britt-Marie Was Here resonates long after the last page is read.”
— RT Magazine
“The bestselling author of A MAN CALLED OVE returns with this heartwarming story about a woman rediscovering herself after personal crisis. Backman reveals Britt-Marie’s need for order….with clear, tight descriptions. Insightful and touching, this is a sweet and inspiring story about truth and transformation. Fans of Backman’s will find another winner in these pages.”
— Publishers Weekly
"Universal...Backman hits a nice note between overly sweet and hard-boiled fiction; excellent for book clubs."
— Library Journal (starred review)
"Britt-Marie’s metamorphosis from cocoon to butterfly seems all the more remarkable for the utterly discouraging environment in which it takes place."
“A brilliant mix of belly-laughs, profound insight and captivating events delivered… with Backman's pitch-perfect dialogue and an unparalleled understanding of human nature."
— Shelf Awareness
PRAISE FOR A MAN CALLED OVE
“A charming debut…You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel new sympathy for the curmudgeons in your life. You’ll also want to move to Scandinavia, where everything’s cuter.”
“Even the most serious reader of fiction needs light relief, and for that afternoon when all you want is charm, this is the perfect book."
— San Francisco Chronicle
"A light hearted, deeply moving novel about a grumpy but loveable curmudgeon who finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door. This quirky debut is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the impact one life has on countless others—and an absolute delight."
— CBS Local
"An inspiring affirmation of love for life and acceptance of people for their essence and individual quirks. A Man Called Ove is a perfect selection for book clubs. It's well written and replete with universal concerns. It lacks violence and profanity, is life-affirming and relationship-driven. The book is bittersweet, tender, often wickedly humorous and almost certain to elicit tears. I contentedly wept my way through a box of tissues when I first read the novel and again when I savored it for a second time.”
"A Man Called Ove is exquisite. The lyrical language is the confetti thrown liberally throughout this celebration-of-life story, adding sparkle and color to an already spectacular party. Backman's characters feel so authentic that readers will likely find analogues living in their own neighborhoods."
— Shelf Awareness (starred review)
"Readers seeking feel-good tales with a message will rave about the rantings of this solitary old man with a singular outlook. If there was an award for 'Most Charming Book of the Year,' this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down."
— Booklist, Starred Review
“A funny crowd-pleaser that serves up laughs to accompany a thoughtful reflection on loss and love… The author writes with winning charm.”
— Publishers Weekly, starred review
“This charming debut novel by Backman should find a ready audience with English-language readers… hysterically funny… wry descriptions, excellent pacing… In the contest of Most Winning Combination, it would be hard to beat grumpy Ove and his hidden,generous heart.”
— Kirkus Reviews
PRAISE FOR MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE'S SORRY
“[…] Believable and fanciful. Backman’s smooth storytelling infuses his characters with charm and wit. . . Engaging. . . A delightful story.”
— St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Every bit as churlish but lovable as Backman’s cantankerous protagonist in his debut, A Man Called Ove (2014), precocious Elsa will easily work her way into the hearts of readers who like characters with spunk to spare. A delectable homage to the power of stories to comfort and heal, Backman’s tender tale of the touching relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter is a tribute to the everlasting bonds of deep family ties.”
— Booklist (starred)
“Firmly in league with Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman. A touching, sometimes funny, often wise portrait of grief.”
— Kirkus Reviews
— Publishers Weekly
"An eclectic cast of characters, fairy-tale wisdom, and a little mystery… one of our favorite novels of the year so far."