On Humanity – A Review of Fredrik Backman’s Anxious People

If you’ve heard of Backman’s A Man Called Ove and have not read it yet, don’t worry because neither have I. Oh wait, am I the only one who hasn’t read it yet? It certainly feels that way, although hopefully not for long. Anxious People is told in such a creative way that we see the events unfold from many different perspectives.

This book is about a failed bank robbery – a cashless bank where a robbery is impossible to accomplish. In an attempt to hide from the police, our suspect flees to the nearest building where 7 prospective buyers and a real estate agent are in the middle of an open house. The book becomes their story as each person being held hostage opens up about their lives as well as the cops who were investigating the case. The cops are a father-son duo, who express not only of their differences but also similar battles they are facing within their own family. These character stories are funny, compelling, and heartbreaking all at the same time.

The motive? $6,500. A mother taking extreme measures to try to keep her family together after a failed marriage. She thought of the fastest way to get one month’s rent so she could secure an apartment while she finds a job. The apartment wasn’t only for shelter. This would be home to her two daughters too when it was her turn to have the kids. Otherwise, her ex-husband had threatened to fight for sole custody.

The honesty from each character and the robber were all too relatable to real life situations around us. This reminds me of a quote from Brad Meltzer, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

This is humanity. We are not perfect. But, what this story showed us is that a little bit of empathy can go a long way.

“We are asleep until we fall in love.”


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