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Book Review: Anxious People - Fredrik Backman

Title: Anxious People
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Michael Joseph (3 September 2020)
Genre: Humor/Contemporary Fiction
Price: Rs. 489 on Amazon
Pages: 352

Some books, you don't want them to end. This is one of them. It has been a while since I wrote a book review here and I couldn't think of a better book to come back with. I usually mention my verdict in the end, but I'll be brave enough to say it right now. This book is a must read for everyone. I usually don't judge people based on the books they like or don't like, but if someone says that they did not like this one, they'll not be making it to my good books for sure. 

This is the story of a bridge. A man jumps off it, while a young boy who will later become a troubled cop, watches. A young girl contemplates on jumping off, but is saved by another young boy while a woman watches the scene.

This is the story of a bank robbery. A robber wearing a ski mask walks into a bank with a pistol and demands the exact amount for their rent. Not a penny more, not a penny less. Obviously, it doesn't go as planned.

This is the story of an apartment viewing. Some want to buy the house to resell it. Some want to buy it as an investment. Some want to make it their home. Some are just there to observe the other viewers.

This is the story of a psychiatrist. A troubled psychiatrist. Does she help people or do people help her, this is yet to be seen.

This is the story of a man with a fluffy rabbit head sitting on a toilet in his underpants. You cannot make such stuff up.

This is the story of a father-son cop duo who are dealing with a loss of their own.

This is the story of eight extremely anxious people held hostage by the bank robber in the apartment hosting a viewing.

This is the story of a pizza delivery. Because, why not.

The only other book that I have read of Fredrick Backman is 'A Man Called Ove' and I wouldn't be lying if I said that this is one of the three books that changed my life as an adult. His writing is so honest, so straightforward, so heartwarming, that you cannot help but fall in love with his stories. Anxious People is no less. I can cross my heart and say this, this is the only book that I have read where I have loved all the characters in it. Every single one of them.

This story moves back and forth with the recent past, the scene of the hostage drama, and the present, the interrogation as the aftermath of the aforementioned drama. Jim and Jack, intoxicatingly named after Jim Beam and Jack Daniels are the father-son cop duo who are investigating this case. When the bank robber escapes the bank and mistakenly enters the apartment that is hosting a viewing and takes the people there hostage, Jim and Jack surround the place and bring in a hostage negotiator. 

Meanwhile, nothing is going as planned at the hostage situation. They all get to start talking and soon secrets are revealed just like the secret closet and the bigger secret hidden in the bathroom. The hostages include a lesbian couple, one of who is pregnant, an aged couple fighting loneliness, a lonely widow who doesn't know what to do with her life anymore, a polished woman obsessed with rock music, the traumatized real estate agent and of course the surprise in the bathroom. Everyone comes with their own share of eccentricities and each one comes with a valuable lesson.

Fredrick Backman's writing is near perfection! His take on human life, relationships and human emotions is so genuine. Lyrical, whimsical and heartwarming! This story evokes so many emotions at the same time. You feel for every character, and everyone's back story is etched out so beautifully. The stories come together seamlessly and connect intricately. I just cannot stop talking about this book. I have read some excellent books this year and this one sure is going to be in the top three reads of 2020 for me.

Verdict: Don't think twice. Just go for it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I'd give this one a 500 stars if I could.


  1. I liked the way you reviewed this book one incident after another. It surely makes me intrigued about the book. Good that you have shared Amazon link.

    1. This is beautiful book! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  2. I have read many book reviews written by you, and keep reading them to learn how to review books. I know you are not easy to please so if you say this one is a gem, I am certainly shortlisting it.

    1. That's so kind of you, Anita, I still consider myself a novice though. This book is way too brilliant, I hope you enjoy reading it.

  3. I read this book too and I have to say it is one of my favorites from this year. May be just below Ove because Ove is just heart. I can't wait to read more Backman, his books seem to be written for me.

    1. Right? In my head he can't do anything wrong. His writings are so humane, so normal, that it goes straight to my heart.


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