Fredrik Backman | Anxious People

anxious people fredrik backman

The Book: 

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, 2020

The Characters: 

The real estate agent
London, the bank teller
Julia and Ro
Anna-Lena and Roger

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Get it on Amazon.

The Plot (from Goodreads):

Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can’t fix up their own marriage. There’s a wealthy banker who has been too busy making money to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can’t seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an eighty-seven-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom, and you’ve got the worst group of hostages in the world.

Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them—the bank robber included—desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises, these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.

Click here for book spoilers for Anxious People
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Anxious People, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

The bank robber was a woman. 

Zara was the banker who wouldn’t give the male jumper a loan. She went to the bridge right after his death and watched Jack rescue Nadia. At the end of the book, she finally reads the letter from the jumper that she had carried around for ten years. It simply read, “It wasn’t your fault.”, which made me ugly cry. 

Jack gets back in touch with Nadia when Zara gives him a letter to take to her address. It said, “You saved yourself, he was just there”.

Estelle was the owner of the house they were viewing. 

The Ending:

Jack and Nadia begin dating. 

Estelle keeps the apartment and lets the bank robber live there for free with her daughters. Ro and Julia buy the one across the way and they all stay friends. Estelle eventually dies from old age.

Zara ends up with Lennart.

The Review: 

Alright, now that I’m done ugly crying I can sit down and write my review. This was my first-ever buddy read with my friend Christie, and it was a blast to have someone to talk to about the book in the moment.

This was also my first novel by this author. Backman’s writing style is so unique, and I really enjoyed his roundabout way of storytelling. At the beginning I felt like I needed to take notes on how all the characters were interconnected in a “small-world” kind of way, but after the first few chapters I got the hang of it. It certainly kept me on my toes! I copied down so many quotes, both funny and emotional.

The characters were extremely well-written, which seems to be on par for this author. This is a story about friendship, compassion, and how people come together under stressful situations. I loved all of the little life lessons scattered throughout the book. I also really enjoyed Backman’s sarcastic attitude towards parenting and how the narrator threw in snippets about his own life. 

If you’re annoyed by the idiots in their police interviews, as I was, it is definitely worth it to push through. I think the ending was perfect–not too sappy, but realistic and understatedly positive. I needed a hug from my boyfriend after, though!

I will certainly be coming back for more of Backman’s novels. Beartown is high on my TBR, so that I can watch the new HBO show once I read it!

anxious people fredrik backman

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