By Carol Ann Robb, PPL Reference Librarian
Several years back, a friend recommended a new book she thought I’d like—Fredrik’s Backman’s debut novel, “A Man Called Ove” (thank you Patty!) I chuckled, laughed out loud, and bawled at the end of this thoroughly delightful book and couldn’t wait to share it with the book discussion group. Who pretty much universally hated it. That shocked me but well, not everyone shares the same taste in books (but really, how can a person not fall in love with Ove?)
So I looked forward to Backman’s next book, “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry”—and was very disappointed. It did nothing for me, so I didn’t even try his third book, “Britt-Marie Was Here.” Was he a one-hit wonder author for me?
“Beartown” redeemed him in my eyes—still not as good as Ove but at least I liked the characters but still haven’t read the sequel, “Us Against You” (which I better get to since the conclusion to the trilogy comes out in the fall).
And then I picked up “Anxious People”—ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! Well, I think it is. The story is full of quirky characters, screwball situations, and turns your preconceived notions upside down. It was easily one of the best books of 2020 for me (granted, that’s a rather low bar to meet). I only wish I could read it for the first time once more but it’s still enjoyable. I like the irony in Backman’s books, yet the good guys come out on top.
Still, I suspect my reading tastes will again be questioned when the discussion group meets next week to talk about another Backman book that I like and they don’t. But that’s OK—we don’t all like the same books. If we did, it would be a mighty dull world. And let me state again—if you don’t like a book, don’t spend time reading it! Make yourself happy by reading something you enjoy. Even if it isn’t one by Fredrik Backman.