Title: Things My Son Needs to Know about The World
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Number of Pages: 208
Summary: From Goodreads: “Things My Son Needs to Know About the World are the personal dispatches from a man on the front lines of one of the most daunting experiences a man can experience: fatherhood.
Capturing his profound awe of experiencing all the firsts that fill him with wonder, Fredrik Backman explores the expectations parents feel to always do the right thing. As any new parent can relate, the intense pressure to not fail may cause you to bundle your child so they’ll be ready for a day on the tundra—only to forget to put on his shoes.
In between the sleep-deprived nights and wonderful highs, Backman takes a step back to share the true story of falling in love with a woman who is his complete opposite, and learning to live a life that revolves around the people you care about unconditionally. Alternating between funny side notes and longer essays offering his son advice as he grows up and ventures out into the world, Backman relays the big and small lessons in life, including:
-How to find the team you belong to
-Why airports explain everything about religion and war
-The reason starting a band is crucial to cultivating and keeping friendships
-How to beat Monkey Island 3
-Why, sometimes, a dad might hold onto his son’s hand just a little too tight
Ultimately, this is a beautifully wrought and insightful collection, perfect for new parents and fans of Backman’s “unparalleled understanding of human nature” (Shelf Awareness). As he eloquently reminds us, “You can be whatever you want to be, but that’s nowhere near as important as knowing that you can be exactly who you are.””
Review: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Before I start, I should mention that Fredrik Backman is one of my favourite authors and that I went into this book with high expectations. Things My Son Needs to Know About the World is a collection of essays and lessons that Backman wants to pass on to his infant son. It’s quick, witty, insightful, and heartfelt, and it had me smiling from beginning to end.
My favourite thing about this book is that it was hilarious. I read part of this book at a coffee shop, and I’m sure people were staring at me, wondering why I was quietly giggling to myself. The essay titled What You Need to Know About IKEA was one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while, but it was also one of the sweetest and heartfelt things I’ve read in a while. I also found the short sections between essays to be laugh-out-loud funny, and I especially enjoyed the dialogue that Backman had with his wife.
The other thing I loved about this book is how insightful and heartfelt it was. Underneath all of the humour and jokes is a father who is doing his best to be the best father he can be. One of the major themes of this book is love: loving your child, loving your significant other, and loving your friends. This book is a reminder of the important things in life: standing up for what you believe in, having friends who will be there for you, and that stuff isn’t more important than people.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I think it was funny and full of important lessons that everyone can appreciate.
Favourite Quote: “Because sooner or later, you’ll fall in love. And from then on, every sofa you own will be one long compromise.”
Rating: 4/5 stars!