Book Review

Book Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary fiction
Length: 341 pages
Author: Fredrick Backman
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: September 8th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


A poignant, charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined

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 a motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.

Humorous, compassionate, and wise, Anxious People is an ingeniously constructed story about the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope—the things that save us, even in the most anxious of times.


Absolutely loved this. Worth the hype. What a story. This writing style was unique and magnetic. It has such a quick pace that I just kept flipping pages and couldn’t believe how much I had read. I loved going into this without reading the synopsis and I suggest you do too (but do read the trigger/content warnings list first).

I couldn’t believe how much I fell in love with these characters. Many annoyed me at the beginning and as the plot developed, wow, was I caught up in each individual’s story. The way they’re woven together and inter-connected, *amazing*.

This also plays as a mystery and that kept me wanting to unravel the entire story. I wanted to see the big picture. Feel all of the emotions rolling around and loved how the “worst hostages ever” made this novel.

There’s so much here. Love, compassion, kindness and humility. The struggles of living and making a normal day survivable. Many of the sentiments discussed resonated on such a deep level with me. I loved it.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary fiction
  • Language: very little (maybe even none, I read it so fast I forgot to mark if I noticed any)
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: suicide, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, addiction, loss of loved ones, depictions of anxiety and depression

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