I read My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman last year and loved it, so was delighted when I came across Britt-Marie Was Here.
The author takes a minor character from My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises and makes this story Britt-Marie’s own, to the point where I think this book could stand alone.
The story started with 63-year old Britt-Marie at an employment office, driving the poor girl behind the counter crazy as she tried to register for a job. It soon became clear that Britt-Marie and her philandering husband Kent had separated, and sadly, the reason why Britt-Marie wanted the job was so that if she died, someone would notice. In desperation, the girl found Brit-Marie a job as the caretaker of the Borg Community Centre, a dying town in a regional area.
Britt-Marie is socially inept and awkward. She is precise, demanding and enormously difficult for other people to deal with, but she has a good heart and wants to do the right thing by others.
Britt-Marie soon found herself coaching the Borg children’s football team, even though she had no understanding of football or why the game was so important to everyone else in town. She became friends with some of the children at a time when she needed them and they needed her, and even attracted the romantic attention of the local police officer.
I loved Britt Marie asking various characters which team they supported and why because their answers were delightful. For example, Liverpool supporters never give up because they believe they can turn anything around, no matter how bad. Aston Villa supporters chose their team because no one else has and because they have nice jerseys. It seems other teams supporters can recognise Manchester United supporters in social situations for reasons that are too unflattering to describe here.
Anyway, I loved that Britt-Marie was able to touch other people’s lives and as a result of her courage found that she had choices in her own life. My plan now is to go back to the beginning of this series and read A Man Called Ove.