Things My Son Needs to Know about the World by Fredrik Backman
Simon & Schuster: 5/7/19
eBook review copy; 208 pages
Things My Son Needs to Know about the World
by Fredrik Backman is a very highly recommended collection of personal
essays about being a father. One of the best collections of the year!
I didn't think I could
possibly love Fredrik Backman's writing more than I do and then I feel
in love all over again with this collection of essays he has written to
his son and for other new fathers. These
essays are hilarious, touching, and heartfelt. Even more importantly,
they include things a father needs to pass on to his son, as well as
insights for other fathers into the whole culture-change of having a
They include tidbits of essential wisdom, like:
"There’s a hell of a lot to keep track of. Diaper bags. Car seats.
Nursery rhymes. Extra socks. Poop. Above all, poop. There’s a lot of
poop to keep track of. It’s nothing personal. You can ask any parent
with small children. That whole first year, jeez, your entire life
revolves around poop.
preschool teachers refer to something as 'nature’s own candy,' they
almost always mean raisins and almost never bacon."
"[T]hat is how
you complete the final level of Monkey Island 3. Your mother can roll
her eyes all she wants. I am not risking this knowledge dying with my
"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."
"The nurses really don’t like it when you use the words “house-train” in relation to children."
The collection includes his longer personal essays with humorous side notes interspersed between them.Essays include:
To my son;
What you need to know about motion-sensitive bathroom lights; What you
need to know about IKEA; What you need to know about soccer; What
you need to know about stuff; What you need to know about being a man;
What you need to know about God and airports; What you need to know
about what happened to the singing plastic giraffe; What you need to
know about why that Felicia girl’s mother hates me; What you need to
know about good and evil; What you need to know about starting a band;
What you need to know about love; What you need to know about when I
hold your hand a little too tight.
The writing is simply
wonderful. This is an excellent choice for new parents who are right in
the throes of experiencing parenthood for the first time, but it also
will be appreciated by parents who are seasoned veterans and will
remember back when it was all new. As usual, underneath the humor are
some essential insights into human nature that you will find in
Backman's novels too.
My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster.