There can be a certain kind of melody in chaos. That’s the first thing that comes to my mind when I start reading “Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman. Actually no, the first thing was probably “ whoa, the dude’s all over the place, but this is kind of intriguing” and then the second thing, as I ventured further into his words, was the melody thing. As a reader, more often than not, I’m used to a well laid out structure where words fall into each other like waves or a well-orchestrated symphony and I go, “wow, that’s beautiful writing”. And then here comes along this guy with his abrupt sentences, making me feel like, “hey… it’s like a millennial talking”. No offense to any millennial out there. Maybe I should say it sounded like me talking. Jumping from topic to topic in order to provide some context and then jumping back to the point.
But enough about the writing style, let’s talk a little about the book. The plot revolves around a set of apparently unrelated people, brought together by one strange event – a house viewing on New Year’s eve and an “accidental” hostage situation. As you dive deeper, you realize that this bunch might not be as unrelated to each other as you initially thought. Or to you. And me. This book makes us understand, and beautifully so, how anxiety can make a person feel so isolated that they start believing no one else understands their predicament. It challenges some of our hard-wired thought processes and makes us step into quite a few pairs of shoes. It teases your “rationality” with such subtlety that you can’t help but smile at the audacity of the author. But most of all, it makes you realize that things might get so much better if you just talked to each other. Helped each other. People have more in common than we realize, however in our anxiety fueled ignorance, we often find ourselves feeling utterly and hopelessly lonely.
A friend who recommended the book to me described it by saying “it’s witty, it’s sad, it’s hilarious, it’s warm and It’ll make you go aww – Everything all at once.” And boy was she right!
In my humble opinion, this was one of the most relatable books I’ve read in 2021 and also a pretty successful Christmas holiday read. While it’s also on Netflix now, I strongly advise you to read the book first.
And here’s another piece of advice before you open this one up- leave your baggage and opinions about what good writing should be behind. Or at least wait until you’ve fared into the journey a little. In a lot of aspects, a book is like a Netflix series. The first episode might not always blow you away… but that doesn’t mean the series isn’t amazing and I’d hate for you to miss out on something special because of prejudice.
You can easily find this one on Amazon…. now be a grown up and get a paperback, alright?!
I suppose all that’s left to say now is – Happy Reading Millennial!
The Millennial Cult