Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Joan Walker (Narrator)
Audiobook; Duration: 09:18:07
Published May 3rd, 2016 by Simon Schuster Audio

Britt-Marie can't stand mess. She eats dinner at precisely the right time and starts her day at six in the morning because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It's just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But at sixty-three, Britt-Marie has had enough. She finally walks out on her loveless forty-year marriage and finds a job in the only place she can: Borg, a small, derelict town devastated by the financial crisis. For the fastidious Britt-Marie, this new world of noisy children, muddy floors, and a roommate who is a rat (literally), is a hard adjustment.

As for the citizens of Borg, with everything that they know crumbling around them, the only thing that they have left to hold onto is something Britt-Marie absolutely loathes: their love of soccer. When the village's youth team becomes desperate for a coach, they set their sights on her. She's the least likely candidate, but their need is obvious and there is no one else to do it.

Thus begins a beautiful and unlikely partnership. In her new role as reluctant mentor to these lost young boys and girls, Britt-Marie soon finds herself becoming increasingly vital to the community. And even more surprisingly, she is the object of romantic desire for a friendly and handsome local policeman named Sven. In this world of oddballs and misfits, can Britt-Marie finally find a place where she belongs?

Zany and full-of-heart, Britt-Marie Was Here is a novel about love and second chances, and about the unexpected friendships we make that teach us who we really are and the things we are capable of doing.

My thoughts...

Britt-Marie Was Here is a story about Britt-Marie, a rather particular elderly woman who finds herself thrust into a new situation in life. She's been a devoted wife, giving over her entire life to Kent. But Kent hasn't appreciated her brand of obsessive loyalty and has had an affair and she has left him.

“It’s difficult to know when love blooms; suddenly one day you wake up and it’s in full flower. It works the same way when it wilts—one day it is just too late.” Fredrik Backman, Britt-Marie Was Here

Britt-Marie is difficult, frustrating and socially awkward. She is also insensitive, obsessive about how things should be done and kind of rude. She finds a job and is forced to move to a small town. In the process she finds a sense of humor, discovers that she can make friends and finds her sense of self. She is slowly beginning to live life, and is needed, particularly when things take a tragic turn.

“A human being may not choose her circumstances, but she does choose her actions”
Fredrik Backman, Britt-Marie Was Here

Fredrik Backman has this interesting way of creating such endearing characters and making old grumpy people likeable. I struggled with the first part of the story but then got caught up in the characters and was really enjoying it. And then came the totally ambiguous ending that left me feeling irritated.  

Happy Reading!


  1. I agree about the ending. I’ve read 4 Fredrik Backman books, and this one is my least favorite so far. Great review!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. Britt-Marie is difficult, frustrating and socially awkward. She is also insensitive, obsessive about how things should be done and kind of rude. Hmmm sounds a bit like me!