175. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

It would be an understatement to say I like Fredrik Backman’s books. I adore them. Love them. And believe, his books are literary hug that Olaf would agree to. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman is the probably the sixth book I’ve read by him.

And of course, in true Backman fashion, it was funny and heartbreaking at the same time.

If you’ve never read a book by Backman, here is the order in which I suggest you start, and I’ve linked my reviews for them, simply click on the title:

But coming back to Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, I literally had no clue what to expect. In the beginning when the book was announced I thought – like many others – that it was a heist story about a group of people stuck in a bank with a badly laid out plan.

However, while reading this book I found out it was certainly not the case!

“That’s the power of literature, you know, it can act like little love letters between two people who can only explain their feelings by pointing at other people’s.”

This story is about idiots – as Backman likes to call them.

Idiots who can be in over their heads, feel like they’re not good parents, are failing at providing for their kids and partners, and just been given the bad end of the stick. Anxious People is also a story about idiots who despite being polar opposites can’t help but feel attracted, in love, and married to the person who they think despises them.

“Some people accept that they will never be free of their anxiety, they just learn to carry it. She tried to be one of them. 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.”

Its a story about idiots falling in love, finding friends when alone and lonely, an ally when the world is against you, and the world conspiring to make coincidences in your life that seem to unreal to be true.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman is one of the most simple stories talking about one of the most complex beings on earth: humans..”

To say that I laughed out loud, and had to wipe a tear or two away while reading this book wouldn’t be a lie. How can you not be emotional when you read Backman? The man literally holds your emotions like putty through his writing.

“We can’t change the world, and a lot of the time we can’t even change people. No more than one bit at a time. So we do what we can to help whenever we get the chance, sweetheart. We save those we can. We do our best. Then we try to find a way to convince ourselves that that will just have to… be enough. So we can live with our failures without drowning”

So the story… what’s Anxious People about you may wonder?

Well, the story is about  a bank robber who ends up at a cashless bank, and despite the receptionist not believing what is happening or assuming the gun in the robber’s hand is real, leaves the robber a bit confused. Who asks for 6500 Kroner’s at a bank robbery? And specifically who robs a cashless bank?

“Anyone can nurture a myth about their life if they have enough manure, so if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, that’s probably because it’s full of shit.”

With these questions in mind, the robber loses their resolves and end up running out, only to see a security guard nearby, and in a state of desperation goes into a building with a door open, and climbs to the top where an apartment is open for viewing. There people inside. People with stories and struggles equally haunting, and quirks equally hilarious.

“… a parent’s job: to provide shoulders. Shoulders for your children to sit on when they’re little so they can see the world, then stand on when they get older so they can reach the clouds, and sometimes lean against whenever they stumble and feel unsure.”

And this is how a bank robbery turns into a hostage situation in a small town in Sweden, where nothing really happens. Especially not before New Years Eve, because they are not “Stockholmers”.

“But if there’s one thing modern life and the Internet have taught us, it’s that you should never expect to win a discussion simply because you’re right.”

If you’ve read this far, and think “that doesn’t sound exciting” my friend, quit thinking such nonsense and get the book. The year 2020 has already been a bowl full of crap, and if you need a good laugh and feel like there is still good in the world, then Anxious People by Fredrik Backman is the best cure.

“… we don’t want our children to pursue their own dreams or walk in our footsteps. We want to walk in their footsteps while they pursue our dreams

This story isn’t about the plot, it’s about the people. It’s about whether you a crime should go punished despite capitalism, the economic market crash, and banks and democratic systems with so much liability can blur the lines between wrong and right.

It’s about people saving people. It’s about people leaving prejudices at the door. It’s about people rediscovering their loved ones in a new light. But most importantly it is about parents, and the high pedestal kids and society place them on.

It’s about people that are parents, simply trying their best not to screw up.

And Anxious People is a freaking good story that narrates just that!

So stop moping around, and grab a copy, you need to know the joys that come, along with the struggles of being an idiot.

Onto the Basics:

  1. Rating: 5.0/5.0
  2. Favourite quote: This story is about a lot of things, but mostly about idiots. So it needs saying from the outset that it’s always very easy to declare that other people are idiots, but only if you forget how idiotically difficult being human is.”
  3. Should you read it: If you love Backman, then this will make a place in your heart along with Ove, Britt, Else, and Granny and more.
  4. Reader level: Fairly easy. The structure is pretty easy to understand.
  5. Would I read it again: Of course I will!

Till next time,

-Sarah

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