“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.”
My first introduction to this author was early this year when I read ‘A Man Called Ove’ (read my review HERE). It was a good one so I had some pretty high expectations going into reading this book. I am happy to say that it totally exceeded my expectations.
This is a highly entertaining and hilarious story about a failed bank robbery and an unintended hostage situation where a supposed bank robber takes 8 people hostage (or maybe not) who are at an apartment viewing opposite the bank. As the hostages and the bank robber spend time together in the apartment while the police try to figure out how to arrest the situation, they come to know more about each other and form a strange bond that surprises them all. This is a witty and insightful narrative about love, commitment, second chances, relationships, anxiety, fear, courage and hope.
Fredrik Backman has created his own version of the historical event that birthed the familiar term used by psychologists “Stockholm Syndrome” which was a result of a hostage drama that took place in a Swedish bank on the morning of August 23, 1973. Using a third person narrative, Backman’s story however is filled with very interesting characters, relevant themes and many laughable incidents. I found this book really engaging and I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters. I enjoyed how the story reveals several perspectives in different types of relationships that people wouldn’t ordinarily consider and the plot twists were excellently done but nothing beats the laugh out loud moments had.
I highly recommend this book not just because it made me laugh but because the story carries valuable lessons that may teach us a thing or two.
Rating: 5 Stars
Published: September 8th 2020 by Atria Books (first published April 25th 2019)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction (Humor)
Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. Things My Son Needs to Know About the World, his first work of non-fiction, will be released in the US in May 2019. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Connect with him on Twitter @BackmanLand or on Instagram @backmansk.