Beartown Becomes ESU’s One Book Selection For 2019-2020 Academic Year

Posted by: Elizabeth Richardson on March 11, 2019, No Comments

East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania has announced Beartown, by Frederik Backman, as its choice for the 2019-2020 One Book, One Campus program, which is intended to promote deep reading, critical thinking and unity among members of the campus and local communities. Now in its seventh year, the program will feature book discussions around themes of Beartown throughout the fall 2019 semester and will be open to the general public. More information about those events will be forthcoming.

“The One Book, One Campus selection committee overwhelmingly selected Beartown because of the breadth of topics covered,” said Doreen Tobin, D.Ed., vice president for student affairs. “Our hope is that in reading the book, our students, faculty, staff and community members will engage in deep discussion that is meaningful and educational. We should all come away from this book and the planned events feeling as though we have been transformed.”

According to the book’s publisher, Atrias, the novel is about a small town with a big dream – and the price required to make it come true. The hopes and dreams of an entire town rest on the shoulders of its junior hockey team, according to the book’s publisher. “…Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain…”

Huffington Post likens the novel to “a fictional spin on “Friday Night Lights.” Carol Haggar for Booklist writes that the book “takes a sobering and solemn look at the ways alienation and acceptance, ethics and emotions nearly destroy a small town.” And The Washington Times warns not to sell the novel short by placing the strongest emphasis on hockey but instead to focus on “right vs. wrong, fear vs. courage and the importance and limits of friendship and loyalty.”

Andrea McClanahan, Ph.D., professor of communication, is the co-chair of the One Book, One Campus committee, which is comprised of faculty, staff and students. “Our hope is to expand ESU’s One Book, One Campus program to include more members of our community – particularly students and teachers from regional high schools as well as book club members, reading enthusiasts and library members,” Dr. McClanahan said. “In topics and themes of this novel, we believe everyone in the ESU community will feel connected to this book in some way.”

Beartown’s author, Fredrik Backman, is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, and Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than 40 countries. The novel is available for purchase in the ESU bookstore for $17.00.

Additional book discussions will be announced for fall 2019.