Things My Son Needs to Know about the World by Fredrik Backman (193 pages)

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Things My Son Needs to Know about the World by Fredrik Backman (193 pages)

“Things My Son Needs To Know About The World” Is A Story About Parenthood

Things My Son Needs To Know About The World reminds me of my father. Among his many pearls of wisdom, my father’s greatest life lesson is that kids don’t come with instructions. I heard it time and again growing up, “You didn’t come with a manual, you know?” And I didn’t know…until I had a son of my own. Five years in, and among the many things I’ve learned, I don’t know as much as I thought and parenthood consists of pretty much winging it every day. 

So when the opportunity to read Things My Son Needs to Know About the World came up, I shot my hand up with a definite yes. Filled with wit and wisdom about the scariest ‘hood you’ll ever go through (Spoiler Alert! It’s parenthood), I found it a refreshing and humourous take on the every day (“What You Need to Know About IKEA”), while addressing life’s deeper questions (“What You Need to Know About God and Airports”), and what it means to be a parent – knowing one day you’re going to have to let go and trust that you did your best (“What You Need to Know About Why I Hold Your Hand a Little Too Tight”). 

  Son and Father hugging. Father showing son everything he needs to know in the world.

Laughs With Great Passages

While I expected the laughs (especially when Backman talks about his parenting style vs. his wife’s in the boxed content scattered throughout the book, titled “If I Die, Never Forget This” and “Yes. I know Your Mother Said No”), I was also touched more than once by his sincerity and introspection. 

Passages like: “[Your grandfathers are] tough and they’re proud. They make mistakes and they have their faults. But all the best things I know about being a man are things I’ve learned from them. And they became different men when you arrived. Better men. We all did.” and “You and your mother are my greatest, most wonderful, scariest adventure. I’m amazed every day that you’re still letting me follow along.” 

Man oh man, that kind of reflection hits hard and deep. 

So whether you’re a parent or grandparent, this book is a must-read. It will make you laugh, bring a tear to your eye, and make you shake your head in awe (and agreement) at how The Undertaker taught Backman (and one day, his son) about good and evil. 

The Bottom Line: 4.5/5 Brookie Stars

I loved this book. Humourous, self-deprecating, and hopeful, Things My Son Needs to Know about the World is a modern-day take on one of the world’s oldest professions. Do yourself a favour and pick up a copy, then hold onto it until your own kids have kids of their own…It could just be the manual they need as they undertake this daunting, yet fulfilling journey.

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Andrea Querido

Andrea Querido is a 40-ish book-loving, introverted word nerd who’s passionate about connection, self-care, personal growth, creating community and, of course, books!

Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Favourite brunch spot: Anywhere I don’t have to cook.


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