by Fredrik Backman
Date: May 22, 2021
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Heartwarming, thought-provoking, unpredictable, relatable, and absurdly funny.
A great book that lets you put yourself in someone else's shoes and be a bit more kind and empathetic. Backman does a fantastic job creating characters that are well fleshed out; his portrayal of their actions, feelings, emotions, habits, and their peccadilloes is just dead on. I loved Backman's light and whimsical style of writing and I'm looking forward to reading his other works.
N.B: I listened to the audiobook narrated by Marin Ireland.
My favourite quotes:
“Because the terrible thing about becoming an adult is being forced to realize that absolutely nobody cares about us, we have to deal with everything ourselves now, find out how the whole world works. Work and pay bills, use dental floss and get to meetings on time, stand in line and fill out forms, come to grips with cables and put furniture together, change tires on the car and charge the phone and switch the coffee machine off and not forget to sign the kids up for swimming lessons. We open our eyes in the morning and life is just waiting to tip a fresh avalanche of "Don't Forget!"s and "Remember!"s over us. We don't have time to think or breathe, we just wake up and start digging through the heap, because there will be another one dumped on us tomorrow. We look around occasionally, at our place of work or at parents' meetings or out in the street, and realize with horror that everyone else seems to know exactly what they're doing. We're the only ones who have to pretend. Everyone else can afford stuff and has a handle on other stuff and enough energy to deal with even more stuff. And everyone else's children can swim.”
“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.”
“Some people accept that they will never be free of their anxiety, they just learn to carry it. She tried to be one of them. She told herself that was why you should always be nice to other people, even idiots because you never know how heavy their burden is.”
“We don't have a plan, we just do our best to get through the day, because there'll be another one coming along tomorrow.”
“At the end of your career you’re trying to find a point to it all, and at the start of it you’re looking for a purpose.”
“Then she thought about an American author who had written that loneliness is like starvation, you don’t realize how hungry you are until you begin to eat.”
“Have you ever held a three-year-old by the hand on the way home from preschool?"
"You're never more important than you are then.”
“The truth, of course, is that if people really were as happy as they look on the Internet, they wouldn’t spend so much damn time on the Internet, because no one who’s having a really good day spends half of it taking pictures of themselves. Anyone can nurture a myth about their life if they have enough manure, so if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, that’s probably because it’s full of shit.”
“This story is about a lot of things, but mostly about idiots. So it needs saying from the outset that it’s always very easy to declare that other people are idiots, but only if you forget how idiotically difficult being human is.”