Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Anxious People: A Novel, by Fredrik Backman

Here is an early review, two thumbs up, I’m about 2/3 of the way through & I watched the series.  Six word story synopsis:

More than a friendly hostage situation.

Mr. Backman also wrote a Man Called Ove which I read for book club many moons ago before Covid ruined things for the Sippers & Skimmers of the Schaefer public library.  Here is my 2018 review – part two which has a link to part one.  Both of these books have the same realistic in your face without being too much.  I laughed out loud at totally inappropriate parts & practically highlighted the entirety of what I read so far in Anxious People for my commonplace quotes. 

I told my brain trust during our breakfast that we were characters in the story.  I love when life imitates art.  I had them rolling in the aisles except for B who kept saying he was not Roger!  Oh but you are dear, you really are.  For those who may have read the book, there is also a Netflix series.  I found out how they cast us … Anna-Lena & Roger aka Jilly & B.

Roger was forced into retirement.  He keeps driving past the old building waiting for them to fail without him.  They never do.  B was forced to change careers & start his own company.  Not exactly same but close enough.  He too drove past the old building waiting for them to fail without him.  Pony really got a kick of that.  B said I had no choice but to drive that direction, I didn’t care what they were doing.  But hoping they fail was definitely part of it. 

Roger & Anna have two children, a son & a daughter.  At one point, Anna tells Julia “how bad a parent can you be when neither your son nor your daughter want to have children?”  Her son is focused on his career & her daughter says there are already too many people in the world.  But Anna laments because Roger wants to be a grandpa & that would give him purpose, making him a success in ways that count. 

Here we are close. Pony is not focused on his career but does acknowledge he likely won’t have children.  He did want them for a time before his marriage went to crap.  Lulu says with the recent events over women’s rights, she is going to sit this one out.  We all know B really wants to be a grandpa and with every grandchild his friend has, he feels it more.   And just like Roger, B would be a wonderful Grandpa. 

We can never say never but unlikely.  And that’s okay.  Truly everything is as it should be.  I won’t be Pollyanna since I have recently learned overly positive is sometimes called toxic positivity.  Toxic positivity as me grinning & bearing it most of my life.  I stopped being myself in 9th grade when Jeff told me, you’re always sad, no longer fun to be around, we can’t hang out anymore.  Then he ran off with the girls from St. Benedict’s, leaving me behind.  This person is someone I knew and was close to from age 5 to 14. I was devastated. From then on, turn that frown upside down Jilly girl. Even or especially when things go to crap. Oh wow, now this is becoming therapy.  I better stop now.

Back to the review. Read the book, it’s a keeper. Way more than the little anecdote I parceled out.

As always, more to come.

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