Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

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Anxious People: Chapter 32 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Back in the hostage drama, police sirens start to go off outside, and the bank robber runs onto the balcony and curses. Photos circulate of the “masked gunman” following this. The robber runs back inside to find Julia getting up; Julia snaps that she has to use the bathroom. Ro pats the robber’s leg and says that Julia is just sensitive because she’s pregnant. Julia shouts for Ro to stop making friends. To explain, Ro tells the robber that Julia’s upset because Ro is the sort of person to stop eating fish sticks after seeing the dolphins at the aquarium. The robber says their daughters, who are six and eight, are like that. Zara criticizes the robber for trying to rob a bank, but the robber says they just need time to think. Life wasn’t supposed to turn out like this.
Technically, the robber is a “masked gunman.” But they’re not actually interested in hurting anyone—as they say later in the passage, they never planned to end up in this position. This term, thus, grossly misrepresents the robber’s actions. Ironically, as Julia warns Ro to not make friends, Ro does just that by sharing with the robber that she’s a (sometimes annoyingly) sensitive person. And when the robber mentions their own daughters, they and Ro get to share a moment of connection.
Themes
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Zara pulls out her phone so they can call the police and be done, but Ro says there’s no signal. Ro muses that maybe that’s okay; kids who grow up without screens are supposed to be smarter. Zara points out that Ro needs to be able to call for help if someone slips a peanut through the mail slot and the baby chokes on it. Julia returns and rolls her eyes. She says the bathroom is occupied. The robber tugs at the bathroom door—and that’s how this turns into a story about a rabbit.
As Ro connects with the robber, she warms a bit to the apartment, highlighting how connection makes Ro feel more comfortable and secure. Zara ruins the moment with her hilariously dark and far-fetched choking scenario, highlighting that she isn’t interested in connecting with others—yet.
Themes
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon