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Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie Was Here

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July 2016 Book of the Month.

The publisher’s blurb for this quirky novel certainly drew me to it especially since I am an enormous fan of his first, A Man Called Ove. I’m afraid I didn’t read his second (shame on me!). Here we have a woman who is definitely on ‘the spectrum’, who has at last left a cheating, domineering husband (when he had a heart attack in the arms of another woman) and must now earn a living. She will not accept that the Job Centre has nothing for her and is eventually given a dead-end, short-term job as caretaker in a closing sports centre in a dying town. She ends up coaching the local kids’ football team in a delightful, warm-hearted tale of great charm. How she wins everyone round and makes a life for herself is poignantly realised. A lovely read. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

If you like Fredrik Backman you might also like to read books by Rachel Joyce, Gavin Extence and Jonas Jonasson.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Emma Smith - 'Fredrik Backman has a stunning way of making you feel for the characters without overly describing them. Their personalities shine from the page and finishing the book leaves you missing them.'
  • Sarah Harper - 'If you have to read only one book this year, make it this one.'
  • Sue Broom - 'Realistic and endearing characters, jaunty dialogue and a cracking pace - all contribute to a heart-warming and entertaining tale.'
  • Catherine Bryce - 'This is a really lovely story and as the reader progresses into the book it becomes more enjoyable and it is certainly a book worth reading.'
  • Maz Tucker - 'A strange book, but a very good one, as the story unfolds, you learn to love Britt Marie's funny ways and you end up cheering for her and the kids she befriends. Great Story.'
  • Angie Rhodes - 'This is a wonderful book. An uplifting story, full of characters you become fond of. Loved it!!'
  • Katie Hoare - 'This story flows from the start to end, told with humour, and very well written.'
  • Rachael Anderson - 'Hilariously funny, yet deeply moving. Touches all the emotions. This is a wonderful novel.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'I recommend this book to everyone, it's another remarkable story from this brilliant author.'
  • Lorraine Blencoe - 'Backman takes the reader on a journey of discovery and assimilation into life not just for Britt-Marie. Just a fantastic read from a fantastic writer.'
  • Nicola Edwards - 'A fantastic read with quirky characters and unexpected friendships written by a very talented author!'
  • Yvonne Richardson - 'A remarkable woman, witty and with a heart bigger than life itself.  I would recommend this to anyone. I even found myself liking football!'
  • Emily Wright - 'Britt-Marie Was Here encompasses the joy and sadness of everyday life, wherever you live and whoever you are, to create a charmingly quirky novel with a big heart.'
  • Lynette McCann - 'On first starting this book, I thought if you didn't laugh, you would cry, then I really got into Britt- Marie. She is a lovable character, leaving her mark everywhere.'
  • Sharon Butler - 'Not quite the sort of story that I normally read and the underlying theme of football just isn't what I envisaged the book being about. However with perseverance, this book can grow on you.'
  • Vicki Sharman - 'This is a good not great book. Made me laugh at times. It's an easy enjoyable read.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Writing at it’s very best, this will make you laugh, cry, get angry, feel good and when you read that final page, you’ll want to jump straight back to the start...Backman is a quality writer and is now on my Premier League of authors.'


Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

For as long as anyone can remember, Britt-Marie has been an acquired taste. It's not that she's judgemental, or fussy, or difficult - she just expects things to be done in a certain way. A cutlery drawer should be arranged in the right order, for example (forks, knives, then spoons). We're not animals, are we? But behind the passive-aggressive, socially awkward, absurdly pedantic busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams and a warmer heart than anyone around her realizes. So when Britt-Marie finds herself unemployed, separated from her husband of 20 years, left to fend for herself in the miserable provincial backwater that is Borg - of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it - and somehow tasked with running the local football team, she is a little unprepared. But she will learn that life may have more to offer her that she's ever realised, and love might be found in the most unexpected of places. The number 1 European bestseller by the author of A Man Called Ove, Britt-Marie was Here is a funny, poignant and uplifting tale of love, community, and second chances.


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) * 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 * 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 * Impressive [and] heart-warming... there are unexpected delights to being stuck with Britt-Marie. * Literary Review * This is an author who understands people and watches society closely.... An author who specialises in the unforgettable, outdoes himself and in the process overshoots our rating system.... In the end 5*s are all I can offer but I feel that this is a novel that deserves many, many more. * Bookbag *

About the Author

Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman is a Swedish blogger, columnist and author. His debut novel A Man Called Ove was a number 1 bestseller across Scandinavia, has sold over one million copies worldwide, was a Richard & Judy summer read in the UK and an instant New York Times paperback bestseller, and has been made into an acclaimed film. Fredrik's subsequent novels, My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises and Britt-Marie Was Here, also went straight to number 1 in Sweden on publication.

Author photo © Edvard Koinberg

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Book Info

Publication date

7th July 2016


Fredrik Backman

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Sceptre an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division


304 pages


Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Reading Groups
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Fiction in translation



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