Lit with Lexi


DISCLAIMER: I will try my hardest to not spoil anything from this book, but it is very difficult because practically anything I say will be a spoiler because every few pages there is a new groundbreaking plot twist. 🙂

Typically, people looking for an apartment don’t expect to be taken hostage. But when everything that could possibly go wrong goes wrong for a bank robber, panic ensues.  In Fredrik Backman’s novel, Anxious People, an adrenaline rush causes a failed bank robber to run into an apartment complex, across from a NO CASH bank, and up several flights of stairs. They are looking for an escape, see an open door, and take the opportunity to find safety. Inside the apartment though, what does the bank robber find, but an Open House with many viewers. 

Hours after the apartment viewers have been taken hostage, the bank robber finally  decides to release them. As the police storm the apartment, Officer Jack, a local police officer, finds a gun in a pool of blood on the floor, and to his disappointment, no bank robber. The police scour the apartment high and low to find the perpetrator, but end up more confused when there is no trace of where the bank robber escaped to. From this, Jack concludes two things he knows for certain: that the hostages were held at gunpoint and someone was shot, and that one of the apartment viewers must have helped the bank robber get out undetected.

With police officers Jack and Jim dealing with the aftermath of the hostage situation, they are destined to find the bank-robber-turned-hostage-taker. They don’t always get along, but they are the only two police officers available to take on the hostage situation because it is the day before New Years Eve. Jack wants to prove to his superiors that he can handle the case, while Jim is at the age where he doesn’t feel comfortable being put in these sticky situations.

Ergo, they have to bring in the “suspects.”  First off, they interview the 20-year-old bank worker who is glued to her phone. Then Jack and Jim bring in all of the people that were released from the apartment. Backman does an incredible job of making his characters hyperrealistic for people from all walks of life: a ritzy 50-year-old woman, an older couple on the brink of divorce, a 90-year-old woman who’s just happy to be there, a newlywed pregnant couple, and a real estate agent. 

To the frustration of Jack and Jim, none of the witnesses know where the bank robber escaped to, or how they got out. All they agree on is that they were not in any imminent danger because the gun they were held hostage with was obviously fake.  It is easy to see that none of the open house viewers felt threatened by the bank robber and that none of them are injured, or most importantly have any bullet wounds. This causes a “Eurika!” moment for Officer Jack because he now knows that the bank robber must have shot themself and is now on the run and injured.

  As the story unfolds, readers learn more and more about all of the characters and how their lives are intertwined. Backman keeps his readers on the edge of their seats with his organic and distinct formatting throughout the story using “in the moment” narration, first hand dialogue from witness interviews, and flashbacks to the same events in different characters’ eyes. This book will have you questioning your sanity from the first plot twist. Readers are compelled to go back and re-read because it makes you question everything you have read so far.

I had a hard time starting Anxious People because it is so nondescript in the beginning. I like books that jump right into the action, and this book took a little while for me to get to a point of fully understanding everything that was taking place. As I read, I was enthralled by the realism and relatiblity of all of Backman’s characters, even though they could not be more different from one another.

I rate this book 10/10 because it kept me entertained and wanting more.  I think that Fredrik Backman did an astounding job making his audience feel in the loop, but also completely clueless at almost every moment while reading. I think that Anxious People is one of the best mysteries I have ever read because as a reader, I feel that I am pretty successful in guessing what will happen next, but in this book, I felt as though I figured out everything just for it all to be wrong.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fredrik Backman’s latest novel, Anxious People, because it kept me interested from the get go. I recommend this book to anyone that wants something that will keep their attention.