Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

How I Read It: Print/ Audiobook

Dates Read: 9/8/20-9/13/20

How I Found It: It’s Fredrik Backman

TRIGGER WARNING: There is a lot of talk about suicide in this book. There is also a specific scene where a suicide takes place. That scene is referenced throughout the entire book. Read at your own discretion.

Okay, so I may or may not be a total fangirl for Fredrik Backman. I also may or may not have his future books set as a notification (speaking of, WE ARE GETTING ANOTHER BEARTOWN NOVEL!!!!!! I mean, come on, I deserve to be excited about this!), so I purchased this book long before this quarantine happened. I have reviewed all of his other works (If you would like to see my other reviews for Fredrik Backman, you can click this link) before on the blog, so I am not going to go into a whole lot of detail about why I love his books, but I will try to leave my fangirling at the door and give you my thoughts on Anxious People.

On the night before New Year’s Eve, a bank robbery turns into a hostage situation. Well, not at the bank, at an apartment showing across the street from the bank. And really, it wasn’t a robbery because nothing was taken. And really, the robber doesn’t want anything other than to be able to leave, so is it really a hostage situation?

Throughout the entire story, we get to meet the strange cast of characters as we try to piece together how and why all of this is happening. With new surprises on every page, we take a deep dive into suicide, love, pizza, and friendship.

So here’s the thing about this story, I’m being purposefully vague. Within the first 20 pages, you already have 3 major revelations, and those revelations only become more convoluted as you read. And while I will say that I don’t think this is the best work that Backman has written, I will 100% encourage you to read it.

Which leads to why I say it’s not the best. Backman has always had a way of focusing on one character and having the story revolve around them. The only example of him not doing so would be the Beartown series, where he had different characters form the plot. In this book, he used the characters in a way to skew the plot, which has a purpose in the book, but is difficult to follow. And while he has a wit that I will never be able to fully comprehend, I personally didn’t find this book as entertaining to read as some of his other works.

HOWEVER, this book serves a purpose way above just the story. This book will make you consider what love means. Through 3 (maybe 4, maybe more) relationships, 3 families, and 9 people stuck in an apartment, we learn a lot about what you do for the people that you love, and what happens when we try to fight for the right to love. This book will go into survivor guilt, and how hard it is to recover feeling that you could have done more. This book will go into drug addiction, and how hard it is to love someone with a drug dependency. This book will go into death, and how we struggle dealing with grief. This book has so many real-life connections that give the reader a place to start thinking about what all of this means (P.S. This is characteristically Fredrik Backman. If you think that is cool, read his other works, please. He is my favorite author for a reason).

I personally would give this book a high rating, probably a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I would say for those that are debating reading this book, this book is an open door into mental health. If you don’t know how to say how you feel, there is probably a character in this book who you can relate to. If you need someone to root for that is like you, read this book. It’s a little bit of a maze, but it’s worth it.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Fredrik Backman

Wow… what an insane week! Firstly, a thank you to all the people who have stopped by, read my words, told me they will read him in the future, or just happened to come across my page. I am so proud of the work I have put into this week and the content that I have created. Thank you for making it worth it.

The question that I think most people are thinking: Why this guy? The truth: I found this guy about a year and a half ago on Goodreads. Beartown was one of those books that was immediately recommended for me, and I said “I’ll get around to it eventually”. Eventually became a year, and I was looking for books to listen to on Audible (because you can never have enough), and chose Beartown. I am so thankful I made that decision.

I first listened to Beartown in December 2018, and I have never stopped loving him since (in a completely platonic, I-have-never-met-you-but-I-will-have-your-babies-if-that’s-what-you-want type of way). I immediately jumped into Us Against You right after, and in January 2019, I listened to A Man Called Ove. Somewhere in all that I also read Deal of a Lifetime and And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. I didn’t read Britt-Marie Was Here or My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry until I decided to make this week a thing.

Immediately, I knew this guy was legit. He found a way to talk about the world while still keeping humor and often times a childlike perspective. Speaking of, at some point this week I said that his stories often read like children’s books. Unless you are completely comfortable with your kids hearing curse words in their bedtime stories, maybe don’t read the novels to your kids (if I remember correctly, the short stories are clean, but don’t quote me on that). I don’t think I have read any of his stories that I haven’t had moments of laughter mixed in, even when the content is extremely deep and heavy. He’s just that good.

Writing-style-wise, I never felt like his books drag. If you read a lot, you know that so many books end up dragging in the middle and you have this moment where you decide if that drag was worth the reward. I never felt that drag, so the pay off to me was always more than worth it (how many more times can I say drag?). My one knock to his style is that he tends to say “oh btw, this book is going to feature someone dying” and so the whole time you sit there like “is this the time?” only for him to remind you AS SOON AS YOU FORGET so that you are on the edge of your seat again. As someone who reads a lot, I gotta give the guy credit, he kept me entertained, even if there were moments where I wanted to slap his stupid little face (P.S. I have no idea if he has a little face, and I also don’t know the IQ of his face) for teasing me like that. If that is the only knock you get as a writer, then I think you are doing something right. But that’s just me.

And look man, I make the rules in this joint, so I have been trying to find ways to still be authentic to why I wanted to start this blog while still finding ways to encourage viewership, and he was it. Thank you guys so much for sticking with me this week and my obnoxious amount of posts, and in turn, if there is ever an author you want me to focus on in the future, I got you (I’m probably going to regret that later). If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on Twitter/Facebook/ Instagram @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

Beartown/ Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

Beartown: A Novel by [Backman, Fredrik]
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KG5GQDS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
Us Against You: A Novel by [Backman, Fredrik]
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078M5KLX9/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

How I Read It: Ebook/ Audiobook

Dates Read:5/3/19-5/8/19

This duet is ROUGH, but incredible. TRIGGER WARNING: these books discuss rape culture in a graphic way. Read at your own volition.

These books follow the town of Beartown, where you play hockey or you are too old. After a semifinal game, a young girl is raped by the star player. The question becomes: do you sacrifice the team or the boy’s career in order to get justice, or is he too good to be punished? The second book discusses politics, and ultimately how easily politicians trick us to fit their agenda. With discussions into being LGBTQ in a small town, survivor’s guilt, and feminism, these books are 100% needed in today’s world.

I love it because 1) it discusses culture that is not only present, but extremely (sadly) real, and 2) they mimic how poorly small towns can deal with these types of issues. These are incredibly heavy books, not only in size but content, however the overall storytelling and content is so incredibly important that it is worth the read.

Storytime: These were the first books I read by Fredrik Backman. I genuinely had no idea that they would be this good, I just saw the recommendation on Goodreads and was like “yea, okay!”, and from there my life has changed. Truly, I love these books because they find a way to hit EVERY SINGLE THING that is happening in today’s society and says “hey, we are kinda pooping the bed at this point so here is what I have to say about it” and I respect it. If you want to read any book by Backman, read these. They are so incredibly important.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

Side note: In January 2019, HBO Europe greenlit a miniseries on Beartown. I have zero clue as to when it will actually come out, only that it is in the works. I also have no idea how you would watch it in the US, but I will update you as I find out!

Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

The Deal of a Lifetime by [Backman, Fredrik]
https://www.amazon.com/Deal-Lifetime-Fredrik-Backman-ebook/dp/B075RLXL3T/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=deal+of+a+lifetime&qid=1556312187&s=gateway&sr=8-2

How I Read It: Ebook

Dates Read: 4/25/19

This short story follows a man who would like to sacrifice his life for a little girl with cancer. It then follows that he has to see what he is really giving up, and if what he is going to lose is worth giving to the little girl. Essentially, it is a conversation of what are you willing to give up for the people you love, and at what point do you choose others over yourself. And while I don’t want to give you much more than that, I will say that Fredrik Backman has a really good way of talking about life in a general form while still hitting you right in the feels.

This story is only about 50 minutes on Audible and about 95 pages on Kindle, but half of that is a sneak peek of Beartown (which I will be reviewing Friday). If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer: A Novella by [Backman, Fredrik]
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01INMZKD8/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 4/25/19

Ugh…. I can’t. Why is this so good? I feel like at this point I need to give a little backstory on me real quick: I probably will develop dementia/Alzheimer’s. I have always said (at least since watching The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) that my worst fear is time, not that I don’t have enough, but that I don’t take advantage of the time I do have. To know that at some point in my life I probably will forget my parents, my partner, my children, or even my life in general makes me want to appreciate all of those moments and people more.

With all that being said, my only extremely close relationship with dementia was my grandmother. She slowly started to think that I was my mother, that my mother was her mother, and in the end, she began to think I was just someone who stopped by occasionally to talk about her past and my present. It broke my heart to see her slowly lose her memories, and at one point in my life I wanted to work in a nursing home to help other people in her position.

Bringing it back to the story, this novella follows a grandfather and his grandson, Noah. After a boating accident, the grandfather is trying to explain what is going on in his head and how hard it is for him to return to “home”, or reality.

This book is only about an hour on Audible or about 100 pages on Kindle. It is an incredibly short read, but it is so powerful and important and beautiful and ugh, I’m not crying I promise. If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel by [Backman, Fredrik]
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017RNBRRW/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

How I Read It: Ebook/Audiobook

Dates Read: 4/30/19-5/2/19

If you have read My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, then you know that Britt-Marie is a character in that book. This book stands alone, but is also based on that same character.

This book is about Britt-Marie. She is a control freak in the simplest terms, with a complete lack of understanding of the world. After she leaves her husband, she seeks a job at the unemployment office. She gets a job in a super small town called Borg as the recreational office caretaker, but quickly the job becomes more than she can imagine. Through soccer and small town values, Britt-Marie finds herself out of her comfort zone as she begins to find herself.

The life lesson I pulled out of this one is to not be afraid to jump. I think that, especially now when we all have a shield in our hands in the form of a phone, we all hide from life. But here’s the thing, life is going to come whether you are ready or not. The question becomes: are you going to go along with it, or are you going to watch it go by?

There is also this interesting conversation of loyalty. While this book talks about loyalty to a soccer team, and what that says about you, this book also delves into the notion of sacrifice in the name of loyalty. Do you let your reputation get ruined because of the company you keep? Do you sacrifice your career for people you care about? So many ethical questions circle around this notion, and it was insane to me how many of the characters are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of loyalty. THIS is the reason why I love small towns.

To be completely honest, not my favorite out of the ones he has written, but it still had me laughing, in tears, and laughing again. If you guys have any thoughts or ideas on this book or the blog in general, feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman

Things My Son Needs to Know about the World by [Backman, Fredrik]
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MD6JBNM/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 5/7/19

Hi to any of my coworkers that may be wondering why I sat in my car with the music real loud, this is why! So to be completely honest, I was the most nervous for this post. Not only was it the first time I am putting a review out the same day the book came out (because I hate myself), but it also was the first book by Backman that was (as far as I knew) not fiction. Crossing my fingers that this would all work out, I put all my heart and soul into this week hoping that this book wouldn’t mess up everything.

Spoiler alert: it didn’t. If anything, it just made me love him more.

So this book is about what it is like to be a parent. I’m not talking all the other parents who make it seem like they know exactly what they are doing, I mean real parenting. The type of parenting where you mess up and hope to God that you don’t screw up your kid. Now I’m not a parent unless you count my ray-of-sunshine-definitely-not-a-pain-in-my-butt 5-month-old golden retriever, but I absolutely loved the stories that he chose to tell. And while writing a book like this is kinda a crap-shoot because you never know if your kid is actually going to like hearing these really personal stories that you told to millions of people (especially about the amount of poop you create), but I can’t imagine a funnier, lovable, or enjoyable person to write it. You will laugh, you will (almost) cry (I have just enough dignity to not cry at work, but only just), and the cycle will keep going, but you will never be disappointed. So Fredrik Backman, if you ever come across this review, please know how thankful I am to read your words (well, translated words) and share them with others.

If you guys have thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave me a comment or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove: A Novel by [Backman, Fredrik]
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GEEB730/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

How I Read It: Ebook

Dates Read: 4/26/19-4/27/19

This book focuses on the topic of suicide and the grieving process. Specifically, this book lists multiple ways to commit suicide, so if that is a trigger for you, read at your own risk. With that being said, I truly think this book is so incredibly important and here’s why:

This book aptly follows a man called Ove, who is a very crotchety man with quite a few opinions. Following the death of his wife and a lay-off at work, Ove no longer has anything tying himself to this Earth. In the process of trying to commit suicide, something goes wrong that he has to fix. This pattern repeats itself, causing Ove to go outside of himself and farther into his neighbor’s lives.

I love this book purely because it says “hey, you could commit suicide, but there are people here that really need you to stick around”. And listen, this guy was completely alone. His wife is dead, he lost his job, and all of his constants in his life are there, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t serve a purpose. I love the positive message this book imposes despite the morbid backbone.

This book is also a really good example of why I love Fredrik Backman. He has this tendency to be able to talk about some of the worst things in today’s society while still managing to make it funny and/or childlike (I will go more in depth with this on Saturday). It amazes me how much I laughed in a book about suicide.

With all that being said, if you or someone you know are considering suicide, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org to talk to someone who can help you.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas on this book or the blog in general, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

(P.S. There is a Swedish adaptation of this movie which is free on Amazon Prime. There is supposedly an English adaptation starring Tom Hanks in the works, but I have yet to see any dates as to when that movie can be expected.)

(P.P.S. I watched the Swedish adaptation last night. It matched the book so incredibly well, while also being incredibly smart about their planning. I highly recommend you watch it if you don’t want to read the book (although why wouldn’t you?))

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry: A Novel by [Backman, Fredrik]
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Q102M5Y/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

How I Read It: Audiobook/ Ebook

Dates Read: 4/28/19-4/30/19

Welcome to the week of Fredrik Backman! A quick heads up: Fredrik Backman tackles difficult topics in his writing. I will be doing my best throughout the week to give you warnings if I think something that is talked about is triggering, but I do absolutely love this author, and I really need to shut up now. But stick around all week because there will be posts every day with Saturday’s Let’s Talk all about why I love Backman. With all that being said, let’s get into the review!

Okay, so this one is hard to explain but I will try my best here. There is this girl named Elsa, who has a grandmother who is really sorry. Yep, that’s about it.

I’m done joking now. So Elsa, she is incredibly smart, but more than that she is incredibly wise. She can interpret the world extremely well, and she’s 7. So her grandmother, Granny, has this world called the Land-of-Almost-Awake, and specifically they hang out in Miamas. In this land, the currency is fairytales, and everything is measured in eternities. When Granny dies, she asks Elsa, the best knight in the land of Miamas, to go on a treasure hunt where she delivers letters to people. I bet you can’t guess what happens in the letters. But it’s this crazy story about love, tragedy, and life.

I guess now you want to know my thoughts: This book in my opinion is hard to keep up with. Almost all of this story is told through the Land-of-Almost-Awake, so there are A LOT of long-winded metaphors that can be really overwhelming. With that being said, I almost appreciated this book more because it was set in a way that children can understand. Death is an extremely universal constant in the world as we know it, so having a story that can not only address death, but do it in a way that can be swallowed by a child, is extremely important.

This week, I’m not going to be rating these stories, purely because I think that since I am focusing on this particular author, you probably have a pretty good idea what I think of their books. If you guys have any thoughts or ideas about this book or the blog in general, feel free to leave a comment or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!