About My Book Reviews

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Title: Anxious People

Author: Fredrik Backman

Published: 2020

Genre: Contemporary

Grade Level: Adult

-Movie Rating: PG-13

-Features: Autism



(This review will only be over the first half)


Narrated by: Marin Ireland

Length: 9hrs 53 min

Recommend: Yes


Blurb (from 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.


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.

My Scores:

Writing Style: Solid

If you look at my past reviews of Backman’s work, you will see that I am a huge fan of his previous works. Whether it’s the in-depth character study style featured in A Man Name Ove or the multi-perspective fast-paced style of Beartown, I loved it all!

However, this novel really let me down. While I loved how it was written, I just couldn’t get emotionally invested in the story that Backman was trying to tell (as much as I really wanted to).

I will say that the writing style is similar to Beartown, as opposed to A Man Called Ove.


Characters: Annoying

Oh my gosh, I have never experienced having so many annoying characters in one book! I know that most were designed by the author to get on my nerves, but they were unrealistically dumb! One of the characters was supposed to be a realtor, and I couldn’t imagine this character ever being given a license to sell houses.

Shockingly, unlike in the rest of Backman’s novels, I never became emotionally attached to any of the characters…. even the ones I knew I was supposed to like. I have given this quite a bit of thought, and I think the reason is because most of the characters in Anxious People were missing an urgent goal, and because the POV switches so much the main plot of the novel gets lost in the shuffle.

Plot: Slow Burn

It felt really slow… I wanted so badly to try and finish the book because I respect this author so much… but it just kept dragging on and on.

I just never felt like this novel really had a plot structure. I never knew who to root for, what the main conflict is, and most importantly what I should be hoping will happen in the end.


Overall: Confusing

I love Fredrik Backman as an author, but, unfortunately, I hated this novel. I found the characters utterly annoying and the novel to be plotless.


Goodreads Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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