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Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (Book Review & Summary)

Explore the heartwarming complexity of 'Anxious People' by Fredrik Backman in our review & summary. A tale of humor, drama, friendship, and reflection

Picked up this book, mainly because the title attracted me, Anxious People by Fredrik Backman.

"Anxiety" is a state that many adults now have, including me, and this emotion always occurs from time to time.

But what are the common characteristics of anxious people, what are the reasons for anxiety, and have they been cured in the end?

In such a mood, I opened this book.

The content of the whole book is easy to read, with a touch of suspense reasoning, which makes people full of curiosity, and the result is extremely unexpected.

We always think that the world is very big, and those who come and go are unfamiliar strangers. Even if the clothes collide, they just pass by, leaving only the air that we have breathed together.

But it is often strangers, and the kindness conveyed instantly collapses a heart that thinks it is hard.

We always think that we can exist independently of society, without attachment and refusal to give. But people are both individuals and groups, and they are always inextricably linked with each other. In the process of receiving and passing on warmth and kindness, love is eternal existence.

We always think that we are bad, the past has no harvest, the present is muddled, and the future is always confused... We want to find the exit, but we find it difficult.

Habitually deny yourself, lose confidence and motivation in setbacks, let alone the courage to start all over again.

We always

  • Anxious about not being good enough
  • Anxiety because of immediate difficulties
  • Anxiety about daily life
  • anxiety about losing
  • Anxiety because of caring about other people's eyes

We have too many reasons to be anxious, but also too many +1 ways to heal it.

"Even if the world is going to end tomorrow, I will plant an apple tree today."

Open up

  • release goodwill
  • focus on the moment
  • love yourself and others
  • the way is more difficult than
  • life is short
  • Don't waste time on anxiety
  • Life is the past, the present, and the future.
  • go ahead! Encourage yourself.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman



Book: Anxious People

Anxious People is a novel by Swedish writer Fredrik Backman published by Månpocket in 2019. The novel was published in English in 2021. It was adapted into a Netflix television series of the same name, which premiered on 29 December 2021. Wikipedia
  • Book: Anxious People
  • Originally published: April 25, 2019
  • Author: Fredrik Backman
  • Genres: Novel, Humor, Humorous Fiction, Psychological Fiction
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Standard Edition (July 6, 2021)
  • Hardcover: ‎352 pages
  • Publisher: ‎Atria Books (September 8, 2020)


Introduction without spoilers: In the book, there is no absolute protagonist. Because of the tandem of two events in the past ten years, everyone's pain, escape, and redemption.

Kind suggestion: Try to concentrate on reading it, especially the first half of the book. 

I don't know why I couldn't stop crying when I read this book. My anxiety seems to be reflected in the characters, and it seems to be released with their release. 

I don’t know if I am so lucky in reality, but thanks to this novel, at least during this time, I was saved. Redemption is not a big thing, maybe it's my low-life state, or maybe it's my increasingly numb mind. 

So that in the days to come, I prefer to deduce and imagine, everyone passing by me, what stories do they have? It's impossible that at a certain corner, a certain thing has been buried in their hearts, waiting for the sun to shine in.

Surprised by the plot design, characterization, and story series. More emotionally driven, the love is there all the time. In winter, look forward to spring.

About the Author: Frederick Backman 

Beckmann is a best-selling columnist in Sweden. His debut novel, Don't Knock Again Tomorrow, was a Scandinavian bestseller, sold over a million copies worldwide, and was adapted into an award-winning film. 

Beckman's other two novels "Grandma Wants Me to Tell You I'm Sorry" and "Manifest Life I Can't Hold" also jumped to the top of the list in the Swedish publishing industry, and are among the top ten novels listed by the "New York Times" in the United States. is also the second best-selling book of the year in the United States. 

Other works include "We Who Will Be Broken", "For You, Against the World", "The Way Home Is Longer Every Day" and so on.

He is good at telling touching stories with humor and warmth, and even if the stories are a harsh reality, he can still find inspirational power, and he is not at all clichéd. 

Buckman's writing style is relaxed and humorous. He is very good at shaping characters and depicting details. He has his own style of how to make people cry.

"Anxious People" builds an ingenious story with Buckman's keen observation of society and thorough understanding of human nature. Love, understanding, forgiveness, and hope, these things can save us even in times of great anxiety.

His books are published in more than forty countries. Fredrik Backman (Fredrik Backman), is a Swedish columnist, blogger, and author, was born in 1981. Today he lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife and two children.

Website: https://www.fredrikbackmanbooks.com

Contents Introduction

What kind of helplessness and desperation is it that compels a middle-aged man to rob a cashless bank with a toy gun on the morning before the New Year? 

The failed robbers fled into an apartment for sale on the top floor of the building in a panic, full of potential buyers who were looking at the house. From there, the robbery turned into a hostage-taking case.

However, the development of the incident was unexpected. There was no confrontation between the police and robbers and no fatal blow. After a long day, the eight hostages were released unharmed, but the robbers disappeared completely. 

The police interrogated the hostages one by one, only to find that each of them was full of complaints and questions, but no one could explain clearly and didn't care where the robbers went.

Marriage, work, family, parenting, investing, healthcare, relationships, life today, anything can cause anxiety, and no one can say they don't feel anxious at all. 

We are all hard-working and fragile little people, while complaining, we are still gritting our teeth and persevering. The novel "Anxious People" takes care of ordinary you and me.

The author, Buckman, is really good at writing healing and heart-warming novels. One of the characteristics of his novels is that they are both funny and easy to cry. Hit. 

His works are very concerned about the bottom class and vulnerable groups, and take care of the joys, sorrows, sorrows, and joys of ordinary people. 

For example, the grumpy but righteous grandma, the rigid but strong Britt-Marie, and the stinky but gentle Ove. 

These people have shortcomings and encounter difficulties, and it is easy for us to think of people around us or even ourselves.

"Anxious People," featuring a stupid bank robber and a group of weird buyers looking at houses, was supposed to be a thrilling story, but it took a completely unexpected turn. 

This group of people living in the same room brought about a farce, but behind the laughter and cursing were embarrassing human relationships and modern social problems. 

Not only that but in the second half of the story, there is a huge secret waiting for readers to discover.

In "Anxious People", facing the difficult road of life, some people give up, and some people are still doing their best. And Buckman's story awakens our empathy and empathy. At any time, love, understanding, forgiveness, and hope can save us.

Excerpts from the original text

If people were really as happy as they appear to be online, they wouldn't be spending so much of their goddamn time on the internet because no one would even think about half a day when they're actually having a good day selfie. With enough fertilizer, anyone can give life a false glamor.---Quoted from page 48

You know what's the worst part about being a parent? that is People are always judging you by the worst things you do, even if you do a million things right, if you do one thing wrong, you will never be a good parent. They'll think you'll always be the one who's looking at your phone while the kid gets hit on the head by a swing in the park, In fact, we always stare at our children with good eyes every time, but that time when we lowered our heads and read a text message, we became bad parents in the eyes of others, All the good things you have done before don't count. No one keeps telling a therapist about getting hit on the head on a swing as a child, but parents are forever stigmatized by their mistakes.---Quoted from page 19

Book Summary

At the beginning of this book, people are confused, and it is a pity that they are too hungry to read. As the story slowly unfolds, all the characters appear on the stage, and at the end, you will hold your little heart and find it full of happiness. This is a story about a group of people. 

The story of fools redeeming each other. I wondered at the beginning how such a brief kidnapping case could fill a story, but that is not the case. Every character, from the hostages to the police, to the kidnappers, and even to the hostage’s psychiatrist, is a living individual with a soul. 

and this story is about such a group of unremarkable people, you can pass a hundred times a day in the crowd without noticing once, how they meet by accident, their hearts are actually full of It is a silly little story about the unknown anxiety and wandering, and how they established such a wonderful and warm bond, redeeming each other, and self-salvation.

What really fascinated me about this novel is the way the storytelling - the interrogation room transcripts, what happened in the apartment, the stories that happened to each of the characters - interweaves and builds on each other without disrupting the rhythm of the story at all, and lightly describe the origin of everything, 

and the author's own life experience and interpretation are interspersed between the perspective switches, which made my mood fluctuate with the development of the story. Especially, Ms. Zara was the first character whose confession was recorded. 

I really gritted my teeth at the beginning and wanted to get into the book and teach her to be a human being hahaha, but after knowing her inner pain and confusion, I found that she was under the cold armor. 

After a cowardly and soft heart, he will successfully empathize with her, and all behaviors will be rationalized along the way.

One of the writing features that the author finds very interesting to me is that he often uses "subjunctive tense" + questions, and "future tense" + statements in this book, such as frequently throwing "If xxx didn't happen, would xxx happen? 

"Or at the end of the article, after all the dust has fallen, a series of wills are used to show the wonderful life that the characters are about to usher in (this paragraph makes me want to cry and the description is so good!), 

this style of writing makes me feel like reading Come very interesting. Perhaps I can understand that this is the author's own thinking and tracing habits, and he retains three points of uncertainty about everything we will see what happens then, but before that, I will hold the most hope as I can to step into the future. 

At the same time, it can also stimulate my imagination of the characters as a reader, enhance the sense of substitution, and unconsciously generate a sense of hope. After all, this is a happy little story.

Finally, I return to some reflections brought to me by this book.

I always remember a sentence that an intermediary sister once said to me when I was applying for overseas graduate students. I take it for granted.

Looking back on the past, 99% of our anxiety from childhood to adulthood comes from the mismatch between our own behavior and external expectations, and the frustration and confusion generated in the process of trying to match this expectation made me sink more and more into the quagmire of anxiety deeper. 

Anxiety does not mean failure, (I found that most of the things I tried to do ended up with satisfactory results, not in Versailles lol) but in the process of hard work, in the long struggle before reaching the end, this kind of complex contradictions, confusion and even Feeling hopeless and helpless is the most suffering, because no one can tell you what to do to get the right answer, 

so we have to try and make mistakes while worrying that the people we care about will run out of patience and disappointment in the process of making mistakes leave. We are so anxious, trying to hold the sand in our hands.

Gradually, my state of mind has changed over the years. From the beginning, I cared too much about other people’s opinions and was silently under tremendous pressure, to firmly believing that I would be invincible if I didn’t care about other people’s ideas. 

After teaching how to be a human being, and after reading this book, I gradually felt relieved: people, or me, are social animals, and I need to gain nutrients through interaction with others. 

I like others to praise and encourage me, and I rely on others' Expectations of me to strive to do better - all these "pressures" from the outside world are shaping me to become a better and better individual.

You can say that I am living for others, and I do not deny it, because meeting the expectations of those I care about and love, and not letting them down is the strength that supports my life.

Just like Anna-Lena hired someone to smear the sale of the house in order to make her husband happy like Julia and Ro didn't know if they were competent partners and mothers like the kidnappers wanted to have a small home with their daughter on New Year's Eve and went to rob, It's like Jack turned down a big-city police job for Dad.

loneliness is like starvation, you don't realize how hungry you are until you begin to eat.

For me, the focus of this book is not how to internally "reconcile with myself", but externally "accept my own imperfection". I admit that I am anxious because I have someone I care about and I don't want to be alone.

Then, then, calm down to savor this anxiety, and ask me: Yes, I am a little anxious now, so why am I anxious? Can I go and communicate my feelings to the source of my anxiety? Would letting the other person understand my anxiety help me find better ways to relieve it? 

Even, is the other party actually anxious like me? Transform internal anxiety into external communication and empathy, and turn negative anxiety into positive "anxiety". After all, the world is not only black and white but also gray.

Anxiety is not a scourge. To be anxious people does not mean to be inferior. Feel it, admit it, accept it, release it, and then transform it into the power of life. I think this is what I can do for the people I love.

My Opinion

Buckman's new book, I bought it after it was published. Friends who have read his other books before should be familiar with his style. This book is still a warm one. 

The stories and characters are very suitable for today's society. Different people face different difficulties in life. You can say that this is a kind of anxiety or some other emotion. 

This book is not difficult to read, and the plot of the characters is relatively simple, so you can read it without any reading threshold.

In my opinion, this novel is like a small theater triggered by a robbery. Buckman skillfully introduces the common troubles faced by modern people into the plot. The front is a little trivial, but you must see the end! 

The conversation between Julia and Estelle really touched me. It was very touching to see them getting closer.

Some excerpts:

  • We don't have a plan, we just try to get through each day, because tomorrow we will start all over again. 002
  • Talking about work is relatively easy when you don't know how to talk about other things in your life. 028
  • The scary thing about entering adulthood is that we are forced to realize that absolutely no one cares about us. We have to take everything into our own hands and figure out how the whole world works. 036
  • Love will make you do a lot of ridiculous things, like get married, have children, act like a happy family, and have a happy marriage. 046
  • In many cases, we are just living life. 046
  • If people were really as happy as they seem online, they wouldn't be spending so much of their goddamn time on the internet. 048
  • In this crowded world, the most expensive thing you can buy is the distance between people. 081
  • You always feel that the world owes you something, but in fact, it owes you nothing. 082
  • I think everyone should tell themselves that we have to do something to make the world better, or at least not make it worse. 084
  • As much as everyone says they want to know themselves, no one really does. 089
  • If you could only learn about something or the truth about something by reading reviews, then you'd probably never form your own opinion about anything. 092
  • Children suck up all the oxygen in the home and crowd out the emotional space of adults. Some parents don't even get the chance to talk about their feelings for years. If you haven't had the opportunity for a long time, sometimes will completely forget what to do. 132
  • "Go to a bigger place, live a different self there, and realize what you have longed for but have no courage to do." 139
  • If you fall long enough, you'll think you're flying, and vice versa. 186
  • It's a story about bridges, idiots, hostage-taking, and house inspections, but it's also really a love story or a combination of several love stories. 193
  • No matter what happens, always have the courage to face life and insist on being a romantic. To do all this, you have to have an ordinary heart. 236
  • Humor is the soul's last line of defense, as long as we are laughing, we are alive. 241
  • I can't find the words to describe that experience, but it felt like traveling with someone, anywhere, even in outer space. 242
  • It's a strange thing that you can get to know someone perfectly through a book they've read with voices we once loved together. 243
  • Knowing nothing is a great place to start. 296
  • You are my princess and my warrior, you can be both a princess and a warrior. 303
  • Even knowing that the world will end tomorrow, we will plant a small apple tree today. 307
  • We are constantly looking for something to hold on to, something to fight for, something to look forward to. 309

"I think everyone should tell themselves that we have to do something to make the world a better place, at least not make it worse." 

Always read Buckman's consistent heartwarming words in the story. I have read all the last thanks, Buckman is a very sincere person.

Buckman is right, we need not only news reports but also fairy tales!

Book Review

I admit that I am an anxious person. But I know that on this planet at this moment, there are countless people who are anxious about various things like me.

I would say that it is very important to realize this. Among the countless anxious individuals, there may be a lot of people who think that the worst things in the world have happened to them. It feels like they have been cut out alive, and the background is a blurred existence.

If you realize that "anxiety" is a social phenomenon and a group symptom, to some extent, it will make your heart relatively balanced and relieve some anxiety.

I am not a psychiatrist or an expert, and today I am not here to guide you on how to deal with anxiety. Instead, I want to share with you some thoughts after reading this interesting book "Anxious People".

01. Do your best with life and don't be sorry

So what's so interesting about "Anxious People"?

Ingenious idea

The story happened two days before the new year, a middle-aged man who was cornered by life, armed with a "toy gun", went to rob a "cashless" bank, intending to rob him of 6500 crowns.

Such unprofessional robbers fled into an apartment for sale on the top floor of the building opposite the bank after their failed operation, and there were all "brothers and sisters" who were looking at the apartment. So the robbery turned into a hostage-taking case.

This kind of thing happens once in a hundred years in a small town. A pair of father and son soldiers in the police station rushed out. The son's mind was to rescue the hostages and capture the robbers alive; the old father who was about to retire was obviously unable to do what he wanted, and what he wanted was to cooperate with and protect his son.

However, the fights and screams, confrontations, and negotiations that should have occurred in a robbery and hostage-taking case did not seem to follow the script. The long day ended with the release of the eight hostages safe and sound, but the complete absence of the robbers.

During the witness questioning at the police station, the eight hostages seemed to be full of complaints. They had no respect for the two policemen, spoke rudely, and talked about him from left to right.

"Where did the robbers go?" This question has never received any clues or answers.

I thought this was a thrilling and suspenseful case, but the direction of the plot was completely unexpected. Stupid robbers and weird hostages, what happened to these people during the day when they were in the same room?

The whole story is full of suspense and reversal. If you don't see the end, you can't know the final answer.

This is a story that happened in an apartment, and it is also a story about "a bridge"; it is a story about robbers and hostages, and it is also a story about life difficulties and soul redemption.

Humorous language

"This is a robbery! Give me 6,500 crowns!" "But, this is a cashless bank, are you an idiot?"... "Where is the real estate agent?" "Am I your GPS?"... … Yes, Buckman's sense of humor is fully reflected in his characters. 

Although each character has different personality traits and troubles and anxieties that bother him, there are a few tones of bitterness and hatred. 

Instead, they are venomous, self-deprecating, or playful. Therefore, when we watch such a case story, instead of being drawn by thrills and fears, we often laugh out loud because of the dialogue inside. But if you think this is a nonsensical and funny story because of this, you are wrong. 

The author's skill is not only reflected in the ingenious conception of the story but also in making readers feel warm when they laugh and feel healed when they cry.

Warm healing

So, what kind of people is this group of people?

A man who chose to jump off the bridge and end his life ten years ago because of the failure of the real estate investment;

A poor man was betrayed and lost his marriage, family, and job because his other half cheated on his boss. In order to be able to pay the 6,500 kroner rent for the next month, and to give the two daughters a stable residence and a stable heart, he chose to be a robber;

A decent-looking, mean-spirited female banker with the label of "upper elite". But wrapped in a heart of stone is a soul full of guilt and unable to face itself. Ten years ago a man committed suicide by jumping off a bridge because of her "moral hazard" theory.

An elderly couple who kept buying houses and changing hands after retirement to fill the empty married life;

A same-sex couple who are about to become parents, but are afraid that each other won't be able to truly handle it;

There is also the old lady who is not old at heart, and always maintains a love for others and a love for life, even if her wife has left and her children are far away...

They are very similar to us who often feel hollowed out because of marriage, parenting, family, work, investment, medical care, relationship, and so on.

Different ages, different social classes, and different hardships point to the same emotional experience—Lingering anxiety.

However, some people give up, and some people are doing their best. When we realize that we are not alone in the long river of life and that one does not have to be happy all the time, we should make the right choice.

This story awakens the empathy and empathy hidden deep in our hearts. Love, understanding, forgiveness, and hope must heal us at all times.

02. Cross your "bridge" and move forward

Remember that "bridge" mentioned above? It is the inner clue of the whole story. Ten years ago, a man jumped off a bridge. As a result, this bridge strung together the fates of several people. 

And deep in their respective hearts, there seems to be a "bridge" of their own, which has always been difficult to cross. Jack, a young cop, blames himself deeply for not being able to finally stop the man who jumped off the bridge when he was a teenager. 

A week later, after successfully rescuing a little girl who also wanted to jump off the bridge at the same place, he firmly believed in his ideal of inheriting his father's mantle and becoming a good policeman who saves others. He vowed never to let anyone die under his nose again, not even a robber. This became an obsession in his heart.

However, in life, as a pastor, my beloved mother saved countless others in her life, but in the end, she still could not get the blessing of God, and she left herself under the torture of illness, and he was powerless;, he was helpless; he lived and worked with his old father, but he couldn't really walk into his father's heart.

It was not until the end of the story that he passed the case and saw the warmth and longing behind his father's stale and cowardly appearance and embarked on the journey to bring his sister back together.

Zara, a banker, received a letter from a man who jumped off a bridge ten years ago. Since then, the letter has been kept in the satchel but has never been opened. It is a guilt that I cannot face and admit, but I have to remind myself of its existence all the time. 

For ten years, she has continuously participated in various on-site viewing activities, trying to understand and experience the living conditions and thinking patterns of the middle class. And the "bridge" can be seen from the balconies of these apartments. 

She went to the clinic of the psychiatrist Nadia, not just to treat her insomnia, but more like to persuade herself through repeated debates. At the same time, she looked at the little girl who also tried to jump off the bridge. How to redeem yourself and others. 

In the experience of being a "hostage", she seemed to have finally seen the mutual healing between people across classes and finally broke through the prejudice she had always been firm and stubborn and thus gained a relationship, which ended her own life. 

The first half of my lonely life. When she finally had the courage to hand the letter to the psychiatrist, the 5 simple words in the letter— not your fault —made her finally cross the "bridge" in her heart.

Of course, there is also the story of the robber who cannot be ignored the most, which is the core of the whole story. But I hope you can discover and experience it in the book.

Every anxious person has such a "bridge" in his heart. Only by walking across it bravely can the road ahead become wider and wider.

One needs the opportunity to convince oneself that one is not just the sum of all mistakes made yesterday, but that we are also the sum of all our choices and every tomorrow in the future. "Anxious People"

03. Save what can be saved, be kind to others

Jack's mother, who was a pastor, often said to him during his lifetime: "We can't change the world, and we can't even change others in many cases.

Then try to change a little at a time, save what can be saved, and do the best you can. "

In this story, those moments of mutual healing always make people cry.

The old lady Estelle, the person with the lowest sense of presence at the beginning, was the lubricant that connected everyone on the scene. 

She gave the robbers warm hugs, food to satisfy their hunger, and a place to stay later; she drank red wine with the wives of the older couples and the expectant mothers of the same-sex couples and talked about her lifelong love marriage and restrained romance. 

In an extramarital episode; in her own way, she warms and influences everyone around her, so that they will not lose confidence and hope in life.

The old policeman is also an old father, Jim, although increasingly dull and backward in the eyes of his son, will always stand in front of his son without hesitation in the face of any unknown danger. 

The nostalgia for his wife and concern for his daughter made him feel compassionate after seeing the robber's true face. Even if he violated his professional principles, he chose to make a decision of truth, kindness, and beauty.

Nadia, a psychiatrist, suffered domestic cold violence in her childhood and almost jumped off the bridge. Thanks to Jack's rescue, he worked as a psychiatrist and participated in public welfare undertakings as an adult, hoping to redeem every anxious soul.

Among the same-sex couples, Luo Ou, who is about to become a father, had a childhood shadowed by war and fleeing, but when he grows up, he becomes a person who can make others laugh. 

Whether in life or at the scene of the crime, she is the one who does her best to turn anxiety into joy for those around her, even if she has deep anxiety in her heart.

Humor is the soul's last line of defense, as long as we're laughing we're alive, those lame puns and dirty shit jokes are our scorn and mockery of despair. "Anxious People"

This is a heartwarming and healing story. The moment I closed the book, I really felt a warm current passing through my body.

Growth is undoubtedly the subject of each of our lives. Faced with every challenge that life throws at us, will you choose to give up, or do your best?

We try to be adults, try to love each other, and try to figure out how to plug in a USB cable. We are constantly looking for something to hold on to, something to fight for, something to look forward to... 

Despite having so much in common, most of us never get to know each other, never know each other The meaning to the other party, I don't know how I will affect your life. "Anxious People"

We are all the same, with the same anxiety, but also the same strength. So, remember that sentence:

"Even knowing that the world will end tomorrow, we will plant a small apple tree today."

Reading Notes

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 should be nice to idiots because maybe we all look like anxious idiots in other people's eyes. We don't know what others have been through the same way as others have no idea what each of us carries. So being nice to others is being nice to ourselves.

The human heart is like soap, slippery and difficult to grasp. ---Quoted from page 1

Sometimes we panic because of the need to pay bills and be adults that we don’t really know anything about because growing up is scary and it’s so easy to be on the verge of failure. ---Quoted from page 2

The problem is that everything is relative, that happiness is based on expectations, and we now have the Internet - where people are constantly asking in various ways: Is your life as perfect as mine? Um? How about it? now what? ---Quoted from page 47

Of course, the truth is, if people were really as happy as they appear to be online, they wouldn't be spending so much of their goddamn time on the internet, because no one would be thinking about it when they're actually having a good day Take half a day to take selfies. Anyone with enough fertilizer can give their life a false glamor so if your neighbor's lawn looks greener, it's probably because there's more shit over there. ---Quoted from page 48

"Love each other till death do us part" Isn't that what everyone often says? Isn't this a promise between partners? Or I am wrong? "Love each other until one of us gets tired of it." Maybe that's the right way to say it? ---Quoted from page 48

Everyone is wrestling with their past. ---Quoted from page 139

We can't change the world, and many times we can't even change other people, maybe only a little at a time. So we'll do our best every chance we get, dear. We can only save what can be saved, do our best, and find ways to convince ourselves that doing so...is enough. Only in this way can we endure failure and not drown in despair. ---Quoted from page 183

The most human anxiety symptom is our constant attempt to cure chaos with chaos. ---Quoted from page 186

If you fall long enough, you'll think you're flying, and vice versa. ---Quoted from page 186

God doesn't protect humans from knives, dear, but God gave us others so we can protect each other. ---Quoted from page 189

Small boats are safest when left in port, my dear, but that's not what boats are built for. ---Quoted from page 188

If you really care about someone, it's better not to ask people "how are you feeling" vainly, and you should directly ask the other person "are you hungry?" It would be great if more people could understand this truth. ---Quoted from page 220

If you can help others when they don't know it and think you're in control, you're doing a great job. ---Quoted from page 231

Loneliness is like hunger, you don't realize how hungry you are until you eat. ---Quoted from page 237

Humor is the soul's last line of defense, as long as we're laughing we're alive, and those lame puns and dirty shit jokes are our scorn and mockery of despair. ---Quoted from page 241

Backman: Golden Sentence Maker

  • Small boats are safest left in port, but that's not what boats are built for.
  • The world doesn't revolve around you, not everything is about you, my dear.
  • Because sometimes knowing that others are also unhappy, your own anxiety will be reduced a little.
  • Knowing nothing is a good start.
  • When you were young, you longed to grow up and decide everything by yourself, but once you grow up, you will realize that "making decisions" is the most terrifying task that adults have to face. You must always have an idea in mind in order to make up your mind in time. 
  • The human heart is like soap, slippery and difficult to grasp.
  • The anxiety symptom that best embodies human nature is that we always try to use chaos to heal chaos. Those in catastrophic situations seldom back down and are more inclined to speed up, going all the way to the dark.
  • Life won't always go your way.
  • If people were really as happy as they appear to be online, they wouldn't be spending so much damn time on the internet.
  • Happiness is like money—its value is made up.
  • Some people are just able to accept the fact that they will never get rid of anxiety and learn to live in peace with it.
  • One of the functions of social media is to disrupt people's ability to socialize.


The people in the book seem to be difficult to get along with, but they are surprisingly gentle in their hearts, as the text says: "God will not protect human beings from the knife, dear, but God gave us others so we can protect each other.”

Everyone in the story has their own anxieties, but they all have kind hearts. Maybe our lives are not so bad, and constantly solving problems is the essence of life.

"Maybe today we passed each other in a hurry in the crowd, neither of us took a second look at each other, only briefly touched each other's coats, and then went our own way. I don't know who you are, and you don't know who I am.

But when the day is over, when you get home at night, don't forget to breathe a sigh of relief because we've had another long day. Another long tomorrow awaits us."

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