Anxious People is a bestselling novel by Fredrik Backman and has an equally popular Netflix series based on it. This is my second Fredrik Backman novel after A Man Called Ove and here’s what I thought about it.
Reading Level– Medium to difficult.
Who Will Love it– Everyone as it imparts a great life lesson about human bonds, and especially those who like many stories woven into one.
Confusing, confusing, confusing. This was my first thought after a few chapters into the book. It is a story of many people and many things at once and this is what makes it puzzling.
A bank robber tries to loot a cashless bank and when that fails, panics and hides inside an apartment. The apartment was up for sale and there were prospective buyers inside when the robber went in and locked the door. Now from a bank robbery it soon turns into a hostage drama. What happens after that, who are the people held hostage, who is the bank robber, and how does it all end is the story of Anxious People.
The start is fast paced and you don’t know when you are already a couple of chapters in. It is intriguing and makes you interested in the story.
The problem for me was the middle of the book. It blends story after story and makes them related to each other. Maybe others will find it endearing but I don’t like too many stories told together. I am a one-story woman! Things get very confusing and, at times, the story feels dragged. I skimmed some paragraphs and actually thought it was a bad book and a bad idea to read it.
The book, despite its confusing plot and characters, ends on a very satisfying note which was not surprising because it is Backman and I had faith in his storytelling to know it will end beautifully. All’s well if it ends well, I say.
The Surprise Element
There are plenty of surprises in the book. One of them is so fascinating and intelligently written, you can’t help going back and re-reading it to get awed by its smart execution.
I am sorry to say but I did not like even a single character from the book. This was a big disappointment because characters are the greatest takeaway from a book after its story. That is also the reason why it was a difficult read for me.
It’s a translated work and unlike A Man Called Ove, is difficult to read. It’s probably the story or the author’s natural liking for long sentences that make the reading tough. I struggled to grasp the story in most parts of the book.
Memorable Quotes from the Book
Here are some awesome lines from the book that I felt compelled to share.
- If you had to try things out and read things and find out the truth about things, then you’d never have time to have an opinion about anything.
- When you’ve been stuck with each other long enough it can seem like there’s no difference between no longer arguing and no longer caring.
- Julia frowned so hard and so thoughtfully that she got a whole new hairstyle.
- Not knowing is a good place to start.
- 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.
3.5/5 stars for the spectacular start and heart touching end. The message is very inspiring and satisfying. In between, it is forgivable.
Buy the Book here
5 responses to “Book Review- Anxious People”
Thank you Niharika for the review.
1. The turn of events seem to make it a promising read. Bank robbery, then hostage and then surprises. Oh cool.
2. Characters indeed are the biggest takeaway from a story. Thanks that you forgave the author nonetheless.
Hello Raman, thank you for reading the review and sharing your views on it. 🙂
I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while now. I heard about it because of the show. It sounds good minus the middle so I’ll still be giving it a read. Wonderful review.
Thank you! Yes, do read it. I would like to read your review of it if you ever write one. 🙂
Thanks and I absolutely will review it if I ever have time to read it with my busy schedule lol!