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

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

COULDN’T PUT THIS DOWN.

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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Book Review

Book Review: Beartown (Beartown #1) by Fredrik Backman

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fiction + Sports
Length: 432 pages
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: April 25th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Overeturns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

AN IMPORTANT NOVEL.

This left me awestruck. What an amazing and poignant story that brought to life so many things wrong with our culture.

I connected a lot with the life emphasis on hockey. As someone who knows the depths of Southern football, it can rule your life. The pressure to win, be the best, and always do right can be intensely overwhelming. These boys are under way too much stress from parents and other adults who care a bit too much about hockey.

Because I swear, if I heard one more character mention “putting the club before anything else.” I was going to through my Kindle through a window. HOW DARE THEY. Oh I was so angry. Which I’m sure was the intention, which is also why I loved this book so much. I felt so many feelings and reevaluations run through my mind.

As a parent I feel like the story itself hit me on an even more emotional level. I can’t even began to fathom this happening and knowing what to do about it. The strength and courage that some of these characters exhibited in a horrid and disgusting situation was stirring.

I could not put this book down. The rotation of the point of views throughout the story allowed an insight into so many character minds and rounded out the effects this type of story has on an entire town. Each character responded uniquely and while I didn’t love some responses I appreciated the importance of seeing all sides.

Note: contains strong subject manner that is detailed and hard to read, please read at your own discretion

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary fiction + sports
  • Language: a lot of strong language (one of the only things I would change)
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: physical & verbal assaults – see Trigger warnings for more details
  • Trigger warnings: aggravated rape, teenage drug & alcohol use, off & on screen domestic abuse, sexual harassment, suicide, suicide ideation, depression, homophobia

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