2020 releases · fiction

Emotions Were Felt: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Amazon.com: Anxious People: A Novel (9781501160837): Backman, Fredrik: BooksYou know when you read a book by an author and it’s so good that you declare said author a favorite without ever reading another of their books? This happened to me with Backman. I read Beartown and I loved it so deeply that I knew that I was gonna love everything the author wrote. So naturally, when the lovely people from Atria reached out and sent me an e-galley of his upcoming release Anxious People, I was ecstatic. The premise sounded really intriguing. This book is set during a hostage situation – a group of people come to an apartment viewing when a fleeing bank robber hides in the apartment and basically holds them hostage. It’s a cool premise and I really ended up loving this novel. 


“Addicts are good at lying, but never as good as their children.”

A Very Human Story

This is something that was very true for past Backman books I read, and it was just as true for Anxious People – this story captures the human condition and experience so well. There’s not a better way for me to put it, this book just tackles issues that I am sure everyone has dealt with, and it taps into all of our daily anxieties about minor things, but major ones as well. It felt to me like I was talking to a really close friend who gets me, and I think this will be the case for many people, because Backman is very good at capturing this feeling of being a person in the world today. It feels intimate, but also really universal, and I really like that about his novels. I am someone who does not really like cliches, but nothing in this book felt like a cliche, even though it might seem like it. That’s something that I really appreciate about Backman’s writing – it showcases in a really wonderful, unassuming way how cliche the human experience actually is. And Anxious People captures that really well.

Charming Cast of Characters

I really enjoyed the cast of characters in this novel. Backman is really good at creating really believeable, realistic characters that are frustrating but, at the same time, super easy to root for. These are the kinds of characters that really get under your skin. They seem annoying and frustrating at the beginning, but it’s because everyone is kind of annoying and frustrating at the beginning. I think that also ties into how very human this story felt. Yes, it’s a premise that does not actually ever happen, but it’s used as a backdrop to showcase a number of very real characters that feel like people you meet every day and people you know and care about. I really enjoyed all of them, I think they were charming and so easy to care about and root for. I also really liked their dynamics, they really played well off of each other, so I ended up really caring about them once they started interacting with each other.


And that’s just what this book is – it’s an exploration of these random people’s lives and how different they are but how ultimately the same. There’s not a lot more I can say, except that I really loved it, it made me tear up, it was funny and charming. My one complaint is that it took a while to get going, and had some pacing issues, but that just did not take a lot from my experience. Highly recommend.



I would love to hear from you! Tell me if you have read this, or any of Backman’s other novels. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

*I received a free e-galley of this novel from the publisher. All opinions are my own. 

In the meantime, happy reading


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10 thoughts on “Emotions Were Felt: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

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