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Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – Book Review

In the summer of 2021, I started to get back into reading again. I’ve been on a long reading slump prior to that, and I was just in a phase where I was still trying to figure out what genre of books I actually like. Coincidentally, someone in my neighbourhood started a book club and I thought it was a perfect way to fuel my newborn love for reading. We all voted for the first book that we would read for the month and Anxious People won by a landslide.

I ended up not joining the book club for the discussion, which I do regret but my social anxiety was towering and I was simply not ready for a meetup with strangers. Nonetheless, I’m happy that I still read the book because this was the introduction that I needed to Fredrik Backman’s books. Suffice to say, Fredrik Backman instantly became one of my favourite authors after reading Anxious People.

Pub Date: September 8, 2020 (English version)

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Canada)

Number of Pages: 336 (paperback)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Humour, Mental Health

Add To Shelf: GOODREADS

Fredrik Backman, Author of Anxious People

SYNOPSIS

Anxious People is about a crime that never took place, a failed bank robbery that turned into a hostage situation at an open house. I know you’re probably confused just reading that sentence, but hear me out. 

In Anxious People, we see eight strangers at an open house. It seems like a normal apartment viewing until a failed bank robber who tried to rob a cashless bank is now on the run and suddenly bursts in the apartment and holds everyone hostage. As the pressure & anxiety surges, these eight strangers start opening up to one another and each revealing some long-hidden truths. 

Outside the apartment building are two police officers, Jack and Jim, who have no experience with big crimes like this but think that they can handle this situation themselves. Before long, the inexperienced robber decides to release the hostages but when the police enter the apartment they see no one. The robber vanished and no one could figure out where the robber went. Jack and Jim then interrogate each of the hostages but none of them would give a solid description of the robber.

MY THOUGHTS

Anxious People is a thought-provoking novel, one that surprised me in so many ways and made a big impact on me. This book was also very entertaining. It includes a lot of witty humour and comical dialogue from the characters as well as from the author. It is the perfect mix of tragedy and humour, laughter and tears.

Anxious People depicts how each of the characters’ lives are intertwined and how their past shapes their decisions today. This book serves as a reminder that everything we say or do, can impact people and that we must always be careful with our actions and words because it can simply alter or destroy one’s life. But it also shows us that though we make mistakes in life, it should not define us. And that it’s up to us to alter the path of our mistakes before it completely becomes destructive.

“We need to be allowed to convince ourselves that we’re more than the mistakes we made yesterday. That we are all of our next choices, too, all of our tomorrows.”

Anxious People serves as a reminder that we’re all going through our own silent battles in life and that we should not judge or assume that we know everything about someone’s life. Everyone we meet might be carrying a heavy burden that we don’t know about. Everyone is just trying their best in life. So always be kind. ❤️

“She told herself that was why you should always be nice to other people, even idiots, because you never know how heavy their burden is.”

WHAT I LIKED

I really enjoyed Backman’s unique writing style. The way this book was structured is like a puzzle. In each chapter you are given a piece of the puzzle that may not make sense at that time, but as you read on it becomes clearer how each of those pieces fit together. 

would i recommend it?

Absolutely. This book has definitely become one of my favourites and one that will always stay close to my heart. Read it if you like a comedic whodunnit, but one that is gripping and will leave you feeling touched.

my rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

content warning

suicide

5 replies on “Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – Book Review”

Yay! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. There is also a Netflix adaptation but I’ve only seen one episode of it. But so far the book is definitely better!

Liked by 1 person

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