Britt-Marie Was Here Book Review

Britt-Marie Was Here: Book Review By Dinh.

4 stars


Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She begins her day at 6 a.m., 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 criticism, which is certainly not her intention. She is not one to judge others- no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be.

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 is more than a little unprepared.

Employed as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center, the fastidious Britt-Marie has to cope with muddy floors, unruly children, and a (literal) rat for a roommate. She finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts- and a handsome local policeman whose romantic attentions to Britt-Marie are as unmistakable as they are unwanted.

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 big-hearted misfits, can Britt-Marie find a place where she truly belongs?


Synopsis from hardcover version, 336 pages, published by Atria, copyright May 2016.

Britt-Marie Was Here Book Review


If you are a fan of Fredrik Backman then you will certainly enjoy Britt-Marie Was Here. This time, he’s back with another funny, insightful and moving book that will endear the reader.

As you may know, I loved Backman’s bestseller A Man Called Ove and I also enjoyed My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s SorryAll in all, my expectations were high going into the book. And guess what? I was satisfied after reading the book.

So let’s dive in and see what I liked about the book.


Britt-Marie Was Here A Novel



What I enjoy most about Backman’s book is his ability to make the reader like the characters in his books.

Britt-Marie was a side character in My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, and in that book we got an inkling of her fuddy-duddy character – Elsa didn’t like Britt-Marie but Elsa’s mother said that Britt-Marie was not always like that…

Now, starring in her own right in this book, Britt-Marie who at first seems like a fussy, quirky, and irritating old lady, is transformed into a character that we begin to like, even though she still retains those quirky behaviors.

I enjoyed the personal growth that Britt-Marie takes on as the book develops and she realizes that she has friends and is not in the shadows anymore.

We see how at the beginning of the book, Britt-Marie has just left her cheating husband, whom she was married to for 40 years, and not knowing what to do with herself and afraid that no one would notice if she died. Then she finds and job in the backwater town of Borg and somehow ends up being a soccer coach to the local kids.

Seeing her metamorphose and being appreciated by the soccer kids makes you like her. Backman is amazing in putting warmth and life into a character!

The magic of Backman starts when you start rooting for Britt-Marie, the kids in the soccer team, and the local policeman who is besotted with Britt-Marie.


Britt-Marie Was Here By Fredrik Backman


Story Line:

I enjoyed the story line of Britt-Marie Was Here. Backman is great at crafting  a moving, touching, and funny story line.

This heartwarming book’s story line is similar to A Man Called Ove except this is a female character who leaves her cheating husband and then finds meaning in her life, whereas Ove is about him reflecting on his life after the death of his wife. Both characters are old curmudgeons in sort, but are nice people underneath.

I like Backman’s repeating themes in his book- what you see is not what it appears and being different is okay.


What didn’t I like?

I thought the book was a bit slow to start. I understand that Backman has to set the scene but it took some time before I got stuck into it. However, the pace did increase and the rest of the book was steady.

I thought this was a bit too similar to A Man Called Ove. Though they differ in story line, I kept thinking about Ove, which was memorable.


My Final Thoughts:

I am a fan of Fredrik Backman and really enjoyed Britt-Marie Was Here. It has a good story line and was sad, funny, moving and uplifting in parts. I liked getting to know Britt-Marie and rooted for her.

Though slow to start, this book will move your emotions. I would recommend it to those looking for a heartwarming book to read, especially those that like to read contemporary fiction.

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Have you read any of Backman’s works? How does Britt-Marie Was Here compare to his other books?

14 thoughts on “Britt-Marie Was Here Book Review

  1. I haven’t read this one yet, but it sounds like another brilliant book by this author. It seems he can really do no wrong, and that he truly knows how to make the reader love the characters. I also really want to read this one to get a bit more insight into Britt-Marie’s story. It sounds like she develops so much! So glad you liked this one <3

    1. Hello Olivia!
      I know you like Backman so this book will be right up your alley. Backman is sticking to what he knows and is doing it well so it’s an enjoyable read.

      Do let me know when you get a chance to read it! 🙂
      I’ll be looking out for your review!

  2. I loved loved loved A Man Called Ove!!!
    I am going to read this book as soon as I’ve finish The Underground Railroad. I need a bit of heartwarming and funny after this…

    Great review!

    1. Hello Jenny!
      I am glad you loved A Man Called Ove. I loved it as well.
      Britt-Marie is also good but not as good as Ove and it has all the similar aspects that I love about his books.

      Hope you are enjoying The Underground Railroad. We have just picked that for a book club to read for February’s pick! I can’t wait to read it. Heard so much about it…

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Great review on the book Britt-Marie Was Here. I found the storyline very interesting and it has good mix of all sorts of emotions. Your review made me curious to know the full story and characters.

    1. Hi Demi!
      I am glad that Britt- Marie Was Here caught your attention.
      I enjoyed this book because it did have a range of emotions and it’s a feel good book (with a nice ending).

      Do let me know if you enjoy it!

  4. I love examining things under a microscope b/c there is always more than meets the eye. Britt-Marie seems like one of those characters you grow to love–before you know it, she’s under your skin and in your heart, too. Seeing that she’s a spin-off of sorts, is this a standalone book?

    1. Hello Lonna!
      Britt-Marie is a spin-off from My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She Is Sorry but this book is a stand alone book. You don’t have to read any of Backman’s previous works to enjoy this book. I would have given this a better star rating except that I felt it was like Ove book but not as good. Having said that, I really did enjoy it and like reading his books.
      I know what to expect and it’s usually has emotional parts that make you sad, happy or uplift you in some way.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  5. Really interesting review – I neither knew the author or subject of this book but feel I have an insight into both now. It certainly sounds like a book I would enjoy. The character of Britt Marie sounds like a bit of a metaphor for most of us; we are all far deeper than our surface appearance or the different roles we play.

    Thank you for bringing this author and book to my attention.


    1. Hi Steve!
      I agree with you that Backman’s book is good metaphor for most of us. I like that he is predictable like that and can expect to enjoy a book that makes you appreciate people that are not run of the mill types. Different or unusual people are just like anyone, they have feelings and dreams…

      I hope you get a chance to read this book. 🙂

  6. Awesome review, very complete. I can see that you are really passionate about books.
    I like a lot contemporary fiction’s books, so I will definitely check this one.


    1. Hello David!
      I am glad you enjoyed my review. I always feel that there’s room for improvement, but that’s just me and my insecurities.

      I do love to read and when I find a good author I like to tell people about it. I hope you will check out Backman’s books, especially A Man Called Ove- I just love that book! This book is also good and you will enjoy the humor, even if you find Britt-Marie a bit quirky with her stuck in the mud character.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  7. Great review. This kind of fiction I do find hard to relate to. My own reading issue means that I can find it hard to follow some convoluted storylines.
    You have a great empathy with the author.
    It’s a well written piece.

    1. Hi Francis!
      The story line isn’t convoluted at all. I think the core of the book is about Britt-Marie’s journey to discover herself, and self worth after so many years doing things for others. She put her dreams on hold as she took care of people in her life and now she is beginning to grow out of that and get a life that she deserves.
      I like Backman a great deal because he brings out the good in everyone that seems a bit different on the surface. We all have our quirks and it’s those things that he celebrates that I like. His book’s take-away always make me feel good and I am usually satisfied after reading them.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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