Book: Anxious People
Author: Fredrik Backman
Release: September 2020
Almost everyone has a favorite author that makes their way onto your “auto-buy” list – meaning that, as soon as you find out they’re publishing a new book, you just absolutely have to have it, no questions asked. Fredrik Backman is one such author for me. I’ve read the majority of his books, and I’ve been enthralled with each and every one. Anxious People was no exception.
This is a book about idiots. About a bridge. About a bank robbery gone wrong, and about redemption in your darkest moments. This is a book that will make you laugh, make you cringe, make you smile, and make you cry (at least, it made me cry, as is typical for most of Backman’s books).
Backman weaves a whimsical yet poignant story about the connection and impact that people have with and on each other. It has similar elements of style that he uses in his other stories, and yet, it is entirely different than anything he’s written before. He broaches tough topics through his characters, and their struggles and pain are so palpable, so vivid, that you have no choice but to feel the raw and honest emotions that they feel. Sometimes while reading, I felt like Backman had plucked bits and pieces of my own mind out and wrote them into his story, such as with the quote below.
Sometimes it hurts, it really hurts, for no other reason than the fact that our skin doesn’t feel like it’s ours. Sometimes we panic, because the bills need paying and we have to be grown-up and we don’t know how, because it’s so horribly, desperately easy to fail at being grown-up.
I do not think it was a coincidence that the English translation was published during Suicide Prevention Week. Anxious People is a raw portrayal of what most people try to hide from others – their pain, their fear, their doubts and worries. We try to protect those we care for by hiding these things, but Backman shows us a way that makes it okay to feel these things, and not just that, but he shows us a way to get through feeling them, to see that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel if only we let others in.
We don’t have to be alone, even if we think we are worthy of nothing more. If you or someone you know has been struggling lately, especially now with the bleak reality many of us are forced to face, please reach out and check in with them. If you need someone, or just want information and support, the resources below are freely available to you (note: these resources were listed at the end of Anxious People by Backman, and I strongly felt that they should be noted here, too):
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: text “talk” to… US & Canada: 741741 || UK: 85258 || Ireland: 50808
I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.