Figuring Out How To Review “Anxious People” Gave Me Anxiety, So Read These Quotes Instead

Anxious People is the kind of book that defies description.

There are so many layers to this book and its theme of human connectedness, I struggle to write a cohesive review. Not only does this book tell an uplifting story with depth and humour, it transcends genre. Is it a thriller? Mystery? Romance? Kind of. So here’s the best I can do for reviewing this book: a handful of my favourite quotes and some borrowed reactions from reviewers who found the words I couldn’t.

What the Book Is About

From @read_with_steph on Instagram: “…(I)t’s a masterpiece. About a would-be bank robber who attempts to rob a cashless bank and then ends up taking an apartment viewing full of people hostage, it explores so much about humanity and emotion and life it’s difficult to put into writing. We have the stories of 10+ individuals, who all have unique histories and perspectives, but their lives intertwine in such interesting ways. There’s twists and turns — but not like those big ones that make you want to throw the book — the kind where you’re like ‘Ahhhh how did I not realize?’ The book is both depressing and uplifting at the same time and … has tiny elements of mystery thrown in (what happened to the bank robber?), which I love, but that’s not really what the story is about. It’s about so much more, and as the narrator tells us, it’s about a lot of different things. A bridge. A bank robber. Idiots.”

See what I mean about layers? So many layers to this book.

Concerning a Police Interview with a Witness

“Hand on heart, which of us hasn’t wanted to pull a gun after talking to a twenty-year-old?”

Truly, I’ve never wanted to shoot a twenty-year-old, but Backman brilliantly captures some of the comically frustrating reactions one thinks but rarely says upon relating to representatives of this age group.

As For Good Intentions

“For the sake of the children. She did all she could to prevent any of the adults’ mistakes from affecting them. That doesn’t explain why she tried to rob a bank. It doesn’t excuse it. But maybe you’ve had the occasional bad idea, too. Maybe you deserved a second chance. Maybe you’re not alone in that.”

Every person out there has a heart-breaking back story you may never know about. Treating others with kindness is How To Be A Good Human 101.

Passing Judgment on Others and Ourselves

“The truth is that this was a story about many different things, but most of all about idiots…We have all of this in common, yet most of us remain strangers, we never know what we do to each other, how your life is affected by mine.”

Yep. Even as we shake our heads about the idiots of the world that test our patience, let’s keep in mind: We are all idiots. 

How You’ll Feel Reading This Book

And from @marychasewrites on Instagram: “Entire Book I Want Stitched on a Sampler: Anxious People…(E)very other line felt quotable. This book got to me and made me feel and think and want to change. In my opinion, the audio was fantastic…and I’m so glad I listened, but I’ll be buying a hard copy of this book to highlight and reread.”

I’ll be hanging on to my hard copy for the same reason. Sorry free libraries, this one is a keeper.

Pairs well with veggie curry and orange-y Rosé

When You Can’t Put The Book Down and It’s Dinner Time

“Anxious People” pairs well with mysteriously adaptable Creekside Rosé ( and this idiot-proof veggie curry by Yum & Yummer. (

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