Book #72 of 2020 | Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Title: Anxious People

Author: Fredrik Backman

Thoughts: Fredrik Backman has this gift of writing absolutely heartbreaking books, but writing them so beautifully that you basically ask for him to continue breaking your heart. Anxious People is no exception. Backman’s books explore the deepest parts of what it means to be human, even the broken and ugly parts. Every character is incredibly flawed and somehow still lovable, which I think is Backman’s whole point: that our brokenness does not make us unlovable.

Favorite Lines:
“Our hearts are bars of soap that we keep losing hold of; the moment we relax, they drift off and fall in love and get broken, all in the wink of an eye.” (p. 1)

“We give those we love nicknames, because love requires a word that belongs to us alone.” (p. 54)

“We’re just strangers passing each other, your anxieties briefly brushing against mine as the fibers of our coats touch momentarily on a crowded sidewalk somewhere. We never really know what we do to each other, with each other, for each other.” (p. 98)

“Sometimes ‘Stockholm’ can actually be a compliment: a dream of somewhere bigger, where we can become someone else. Something that we long for but don’t quite dare to do. Everyone in the apartment was wrestling with their own story.” (p. 156)

“He wasn’t emotionally equipped to say it like it was, that Anna-Lena was his load-bearing wall.” (p. 161)

“‘We can’t change the world, and a lot of the time we can’t even change people. No more than one bit at a time. So we do what we can to help whenever we get the chance, sweetheart. We save those we can. We do our best. Then we try to find a way to convince ourselves that that will just have to…be enough. So we can live with our failures without drowning’.” (p. 203)

“It was impossible to argue with such a stubborn woman. Jack hated how much he admired her sometimes. Jim, in turn, loved her so much he could hardly breathe. But she didn’t travel so much after that, and never went so far away again. Then she got sick, and they lost her, and the world lost a bit more of its protection.” (p. 210)

“‘He was my echo. Everything I do is quieter now.'” (p. 249)

“That’s the power of literature, you know, it can act like little love letters between people who can only explain their feelings by pointing at other people’s.” (p. 262)

“They say that a person’s personality is the sum of their experiences. But that isn’t true, at least not entirely, because if our past was all that defined us, we’d never be able to put up with ourselves. We need to be allowed to convince ourselves that we’re more than the mistakes we made yesterday. That we are all of our next choices, too, all of our tomorrows.” (p. 324)

Click here to purchase Anxious People

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