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In this guide, you’ll find Anxious People book club questions, a summary, favorite quotes and my top 3 recommended similar reads that will aid your book club discussion.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman discusses issues such as anxiety and mental health.
Backman has a distinctive writing style. His books leave readers with a sense of hope and a lesson to learn. He also writes really good characters with satisfying character growth.
This is exactly what you can expect from Anxious People, your next book club read.
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Anxious People Summary (Non-Spoiler)
A group of people attend an open house and across the street, they witness a bank robbery.
Soon enough, they become hostages at the open house. This book is written with a comedic approach and introduces you to characters with their own baggage.
Because of this hostage situation, you get to see these characters interact with one another. Soon you discover the battles they’re fighting and develop a sense of empathy towards them.
It is also interesting to see the connections they make among themselves because of this mutual event.
There are many characters in this book (which can be confusing) and the story is told in multiple point of views.
Some characters in Anxious People:
- police officers
- bank robber
- real estate agent
- Zara (a wealthy woman)
- a couple married for a long time
- a young couple, first-home owners
- Estelle (an older woman)
20 Anxious People Book Club Questions
- Anxious People talks about many types of relationships some of which were developed during the course of the book, which ones surprised you the most? Which ones did you not expect to take place?
- Of all the relationships described in the book, which ones do you relate to the most according to your own experience?
- As this novel involves drama, societal commentary and humour, what are your thoughts on the writing style of this book?
- As a psychological fiction, Anxious People discusses themes such as losing the will to live, grief, regret and more. How did these negative feelings portrayed by the author make you feel?
- Did you find yourself alike with another character, if so, which one and in what ways?
- Which character’s growth were you most invested in and why?
- As the plot revealed that the bank robber was a female, what were your thoughts on that?
- “Couples have to be better at making up than they are at fighting”. Discuss this quote from the book.
- Anxious People speaks through its characters on the problems we often come across in our lives, do you think the characters handled it well? Who do you think could have handled it better?
- Zara had received a letter from the jumper which she never read until the end of the book. What do you think would’ve been different had she read it earlier?
- Anxious People follows the found family trope, what are your thoughts on this trope being applied in the book?
- During the hostage situation, the young policeman had to make a tough call on whether to protect someone or follow the law. Do you think he made the right decision? What do you think he should’ve done?
- Anxious People speaks on how people only pretend to be alright and have it all together while secretly struggling, what are your thoughts on this?
- In terms of dealing with trauma and healing themes of the book, do you think it was depicted well by the author?
- Anxious People is a book based on mental health issues, who would you recommend this book to and why?
- The bridge plays a significant role in the story. How do you think the bridge made an impact on each character’s life?
- Were you to be there in place of the bank robber, what would you have done differently?
- “Because you’ve probably been depressed yourself, you’ve had days when you’ve been in terrible pain in places that don’t show up in X-rays, when you can’t find the words to explain even to the people who love you. Deep down, in memories that we might prefer to suppress even from ourselves, a lot of us know that the difference between us and that man on the bridge is smaller than we might wish.” What are your thoughts on this quote?
- Which characters could have worked together to overcome their problems and why do you think so?
- What are your thoughts on how the financial system was portrayed in this book?
5 Best Quotes From Anxious People
“If our past was all that defined us, we’d never be able to put up with ourselves.”Fredrik Backman (Anxious People)
“Because the terrible thing about becoming an adult is being forced to realize that absolutely nobody cares about us.”Fredrik Backman (Anxious People)
“Nothing is easier for people who never do anything themselves than to criticize someone who actually makes an effort.”Fredrik Backman (Anxious People)
“Everyone gets a few moments that show who they really are, tiny instances that reveal their entire soul.”Fredrik Backman (Anxious People)
“Boats that stay in the harbor are safe, sweetheart, but that’s not what boats were built for.”Fredrik Backman (Anxious People)
3 Books Like Anxious People For Your Next Read
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
Elsa is seven, and her wild grandmother is seventy-seven. Despite the age difference, the two BFFs. Together, go on imaginative adventure, where they imagine tales of a far-off land where nobody needs to be normal.
Things start to unfold when Elsa’s grandmother dies, leaving behind a series of letter addressed to people she has wronged. This is where Elsa’s adventure truly begins.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Eleanor Oliphant, a finance clerk approaching her 30s, has worked for the same graphic design company since she graduated from college.
This book tells us more about what it’s like to be a social misfit. Just like Backman’s Anxious people, this one teaches us about social anxiety and the struggles of people with mental health issues.
The Midnight Library follows Nora, a thirty-something woman who is regretful about her life and feels like a burden to the world.
As she explores a library, she finds books that represent a portal into another variation of what her life could have been.