Anxious People

Anxious People


Fredrik Backman

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Anxious People: Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Jim and Jack are the first officers on the scene at the hostage situation, just because the town is so small, and nobody wants to work the day before New Year’s Eve. The journalists are already there. Neither man knows what to do, but Jim points out that Jack took a course on “active listening” recently. Jack points out that to listen actively, they need to be able to speak to the hostage taker—but there’s no ransom or note. Jim surreptitiously googles what to do in a hostage situation. Jack is annoyed. He knows his bosses will just want to call Stockholm, so he asks Jim what Google says. According to Google, one must find out who the hostage taker is and what he wants.
The fact that Jack and Jim have to consult Google to figure out what to do cuts into Jack’s earlier assertion that he and his police department are competent. Clearly, in this situation at least, he isn’t. However, Jack’s desire to prove himself shines through here. He wants to be able to make this work and save the people the robber took hostage. And now Jim goes out of his way to try to help his son figure this out, in much the same way he does later in the afternoon during the interviews.
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