‘Things My Son Needs to Know about the World’ by Fredrik Backman will make you both laugh and cry — it’s wonderful


With his “Things My Son Needs to Know about the World,” author Fredrik Backman is revealed as a writer who just gets it right. All the time. Whether he’s writing a fascinating story about a small hockey town and a murder, or spilling secrets about being a father, his writing is brilliant.

This collection of thoughts, essays, humorous anecdotes, and many references to poop is perfect for those who have grandchildren or children, or for those who never want to have children. For the latter, reading this might just reinforce their desire to never reproduce. But those who have already brought new life into the world will by turn laugh themselves silly, then shed a tear over the experiences and thoughts that Backman shares.

Backman’s writing style is direct. He’s not flowery; he writes the anecdotes as if he is telling them to a friend. The beauty is the clever way he tells the stories, sometimes leading the reader to think he’s implying one thing only to twist it at the end and present another very different idea. His humor is self-deprecating, and when he writes about his wife, it’s with passion and intense love. Most women would be lucky to be as revered as his wife appears to be.

Just a tidbit:

Heading: “This parenthood thing didn’t come with instructions, that’s all I’m saying.”

“You spit on the napkin.

Then you wipe the child’s face with the napkin. You don’t spit straight onto the child.

My bad.”

Some of the essays are longer than others. Some sections are just a few sentences. All of it is fabulous reading. For those in doubt, just pick up the book at your local bookstore and read “A-papa-calypse Now” on page 44.

You will buy the book.

Note about the translation and the translator: As someone who speaks two languages, I know the difficulty of translating from one language into another in a way that really gets across not just the meaning but also the emotion and the nuances of the language. Alice Menzies does it all beautifully.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Atria Books, the publisher, for review purposes.

This review was originally published on Bookreporter.com.



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