Britt-Marie Was Here

A Novel
Narrated by: Joan Walker
Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (9,638 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of the "charming debut" (People) A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, a heartwarming and hilarious story of a reluctant outsider who transforms a tiny village and a woman who finds love and second chances in the unlikeliest of places.

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 63, Britt-Marie has had enough. She finally walks out on her loveless 40-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 on to 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.

©2016 Fredrik Backman (P)2016 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"[Narrator Joan] Walker's engaged, seamless narration combined with the heartwarming story makes for delightful listening." ( AudioFile)

What listeners say about Britt-Marie Was Here

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Backman is an extraordinary writer

This is the first book that I’ve listened too but have read all of his work. I read this book and then listened to it . I loved it both times!! His stories are wonderful, poignant, sometimes sad and always uplifting. This is a wonderful story as are all of his books. Britt Marie was introduced in another book which is equally as brilliant “ My grandmother told me to tell you she is sorry”. I hesitated on this one because I did not fully understand or care for Britt Marie. However all things are revealed about her childhood in this book and you understand the power of life and the beauty of change just by stepping into life . I recommend all his books he makes me laugh and cry and always leaves me with a smile .

15 people found this helpful

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Heroes come in every form and shape!

I love everything about Britt-Marie! She is witty and has OCD lol. I really thought that Backman did an amazing job at making us understand her and see things the way that she does. It was such simply gorgeous and I try to recommend this book to everyone.

11 people found this helpful

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Not nearly as good as Ove, too slow

A Man Called Ove was one of my favorite reads this year. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry was just an okay read from a couple of years ago. This one, lands right in the middle. What I think went wrong was that too much time was spent on inner dialogue, which I rarely enjoy. It also was a bit repetitive - Got it! She's addicted to sodium bicarbonate. And yes she folds her hands a lot. Oh, and yes, understand she has no crumbs on her skirt. (why is she always wearing skirts???) However, the characters were rich in character and it was nice to watch her common sense melt away allowing her to self realize. It helps I always have a soft spot for Liverpool, even though I was ruffled they didn't mention The Saints! I'd recommend it for an innocent, light read.

22 people found this helpful

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A Gem

What a wonderfully odd, engaging and eccentrically off-beat novel. This was the first of Backman's books that I have read. I didn't understand until I finished listening and read some reviews that the character of Britt-Marie actually came from another earlier book written by the author. This wasn't a huge problem because I think this book works well as a stand-alone novel too. However, this is something to consider if you are thinking about trying this title. You might want to read them in order and start with My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry first.

The narration was just excellent. I loved Joan Walker's style and ability to voice all the different characters. It was a pleasure to listen to her skilled delivery. She really brought the story to life.

Be aware, this isn't a neat and tidy book with all the loose threads wrapped up at the end. Instead it is an often unsettling, thought provoking story about life, love, loss and choices. I really enjoyed it.

120 people found this helpful

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Ha! (Listen to the book and you will understand!)

Terrific book! It was my second Backman book and I can't wait to get to the third one! Britt-Marie is a card...you can't help but fall in love with her. Ha! Backman has a wonderful writing style - it is very different from others. He has a way of teaching us that behind those rigid, stern people we encounter, are tragic histories which helped shaped them. The book was delightful!

44 people found this helpful

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Charming

I love this author's writing, the ability to turn peoples' foibles, eccentricities, or bad habits into something explainable, charming, even redeeming.

We first met Britt-Marie in "My Grandmother Asked me to Tell you She's Sorry." You do not need to read that book to appreciate this one.
It's the story of a town, of a people, of one person... the ripples in a pond, each person making a difference if they get an opportunity.
The writing is more repetitive and less charming than the author's previous works, but it's still a great way to spend some time :)

14 people found this helpful

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Love, love, loved this book!!

BUT... you MUST read "My Grandmother Told Me..." first; otherwise, you won't appreciate the full effect of finding yourself wishing everything good and happy on the most "nag-bag" of characters from the previous book.
Fredrik Backman is my new favorite author. He'll take you over the full range of emotions from laughter to tears all while his sweetly genuine characters work themselves firmly into the warmest parts of your heart.

6 people found this helpful

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TOUCHING, FUNNY, DEEP

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book is a rare pleasure. At first, I found the main character to be distractingly OCD and hard to hear about. But that's the beauty of the story: learning to see her for who she really is, as she does the same.

What did you like best about this story?

The story's great, but the narrator is amazing. There's no way to describe her talent. She "makes" the presentation.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Britt-Marie realizes that she is the kind of person who "jumps."

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not really. I found myself wanting to savor the experience.

36 people found this helpful

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Still not Ove

I suppose I really must stop my search for another magical listen like "A Man Called Ove" as nothing is measuring up. This was a sweet listen. Britt-Marie is a very quirky, OCD driven lady with a heart of gold. The narration was spot on. The novel was satisfying. I gave it less than 5 stars because 5 stars are reserved for Ove and the like! However, this listen was an enjoyable way to pass a few hours.

5 people found this helpful

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Simply Gorgeous

Britt-Marie was such an unlikable character throughout "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry" that I was shocked when her character arc turned her into such a compelling, wonderful person. Someone whose past and present had such pain in them. I was thrilled to find that "Britt-Marie was Here" carried that wonder forward and made her truly memorable.
This is a fantastic book. Britt-Marie, a woman whose furiously scrubbed windows are her view into the world, a woman who can't sleep because that's what happens when you live your life for others, follows her from the unemployment office to a tiny town that's been hit hard by the financial crisis, from an unfortunate marriage to budding relationships with others, from a woman whose lists are down in pencil to a woman who may actually use pen, yes pen, in her life. Because maybe, just maybe she has courage and hope to spare.
The story is filled with delightfully profane characters, characters who have the courage to get up and get along, who struggle mightily, who are written with the greatest love imaginable. Backman pours love into each and every one of them, and he pours love into each and every word he writes. Where else will you read about someone whose hair style is so bad it looks like it "was combed with a terrified animal"? Where else will you read about a Snickers-loving rat? (And the reason Britt-Marie makes a pact with this little creature is so touching I damned near cried.)
I did cry, flat-out, when she makes her funniest joke, this woman who doesn't believe she has a sense of humor because she's been told she hasn't one, at the end. Hell, I cried for the last quarter of the book.
This story is written with love, and it succeeds with well-drawn, fully fleshed-out characters where "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry" faltered a bit. I honestly think I just might get the print version to go over some of the writing. But the audio has such fresh narration, perfect vocal distinctions that I think it'll be a toss-up as to which version is my favorite.
Highly, highly recommended! This book brought out feelings like I'd never felt before (and I feel A LOT)!

75 people found this helpful