Things My Son Needs to Know About the World

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About The Book

Fredrik Backman, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown, delivers a poignant and insightful memoir from the front lines of one of the most daunting experiences any man can experience: fatherhood.

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World is bestselling author Fredrik Backman’s revealing look at the relationship between fathers and sons. Delving deep into his own experience and speaking directly to his child, Backman reflects on the perspective and tools his son will need to make his way in the world.

As he conveys his profound awe at facing all the “firsts” that fill him with wonder and catch him completely unprepared, Backman doesn’t shy away from divulging his own false steps and fatherly flaws. Along the way, he tackles issues both great and small, from masculinity and mid-life crises to practical jokes and poop.

In between the sleep-deprived lows and wonderful highs, Backman takes a step back to share the sweet, 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 he cares about unconditionally. Alternating between humorous side notes and longer essays offering his son guidance about growing up, Backman contemplates the big and small moments that form their shared life, from soccer matches and Ikea trips to first homes and young love.

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World is Backman as you’ve never seen him before—intimate, vulnerable, and brave. Above all, it is a tribute to the love between a parent and a child. For, as Backman 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.”

About The Author
Photograph © Linnéa Jonasson Bernholm/Appendix fotografi

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Connect with him on Twitter @BackmanLand or on Instagram @backmansk.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 2019)
  • Length: 208 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501198236

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Raves and Reviews

PRAISE FOR US AGAINST YOU

“This is a tale of the pitfalls of group mentality as well as the loss of an innocence we all take for granted—and it will grip you from start to finish.” 

– Canadian Living

PRAISE FOR BEARTOWN

“I wasn’t sure I would love a novel centred on hockey—but as with Friday Night Lights this is actually a story about people—about strength and tribal loyalty and what we unwittingly do when trying to show our boys how to be men. I utterly believed in the residents of Beartown, and felt ripped apart by the events in the book.”

– Jojo Moyes, New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You

“Like Friday Night Lights, this is about more than youth sports; it’s part coming-of-age novel, part study of moral failure, and finally a chronicle of groupthink in which an unlikely hero steps forward to save more than one person from self-destruction. A thoroughly empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit, Backman's latest will resonate a long time.”

– Kirkus Reviews

Beartown is a moving novel, with a powerful message and memorable characters. It is a graceful and hard-hitting, compassionate and unapologetic examination of sports culture and the people who breathe life into an otherwise meaningless game.” 

– The Winnipeg Free Press

“Backman, a bestseller-list mainstay . . . returns with the story of a down-and-out town and its hopeful young hockey team. . . . The sentimentally savvy Backman takes a sobering and solemn look at the ways alienation and acceptance, ethics and emotions nearly destroy a small town and young people.”

– Booklist

“You’ll love this engrossing novel.” 

– People

“There’s so much heartbreak here, so much wisdom and raw emotion packed inside, that reading this novel makes for a powerful experience.”

– The Book Reporter

“Consider this the Friday Night Lights of the ice rink. . . .  Beartown has all the pleasures of a rainy-day matinee.” 

– USA Today

“This story is a charmer.” 

– Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“You don’t have to know hockey to enjoy this story; in fact, you might like it a little better if you don’t. You may even love it if you’re a fan of keeps-you-guessing novels of exquisite storytelling. Undoubtedly, if you’re a big Backman fan, you need this book because Beartown cannot be beat.” 

– The Oklahoman

“Fredrik Backman puts out some of the most human novels. Each and every work is carefully, delicately crafted, delving into the emotional depths of individuals that one might not look twice in real life. . . . Beartown is undoubtedly his masterpiece.”

– New York Journal of Books

“Backman’s dialogue and characters in Beartown create a story that is both specific and universal. With hockey as the story’s center, he explores loyalty to sport, relationships, the town and oneself.” 

– St. Louis Post-Dispatch

PRAISE FOR A MAN CALLED OVE

“A charming debut. . . . You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel new sympathy for the curmudgeons in your life. You’ll also want to move to Scandinavia, where everything’s cuter.”

– People

“Even the most serious reader of fiction needs light relief, and for that afternoon when all you want is charm, this is the perfect book.”

– San Francisco Chronicle

“A light hearted, deeply moving novel about a grumpy but loveable curmudgeon who finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door. This quirky debut is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the impact one life has on countless others—and an absolute delight.”

– CBS Local

"An inspiring affirmation of love for life and acceptance of people for their essence and individual quirks. A Man Called Ove is a perfect selection for book clubs. It's well written and replete with universal concerns. It lacks violence and profanity, is life-affirming and relationship-driven. The book is bittersweet, tender, often wickedly humorous and almost certain to elicit tears. I contentedly wept my way through a box of tissues when I first read the novel and again when I savored it for a second time.”

– BookBrowse.com

A Man Called Ove is exquisite. The lyrical language is the confetti thrown liberally throughout this celebration-of-life story, adding sparkle and color to an already spectacular party. Backman’s characters feel so authentic that readers will likely find analogues living in their own neighborhoods.”

– Shelf Awareness, starred review

“Readers seeking feel-good tales with a message will rave about the rantings of this solitary old man with a singular outlook. If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’ this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down.”

– Booklist, starred review

“A funny crowd-pleaser that serves up laughs to accompany a thoughtful reflection on loss and love… The author writes with winning charm.”

– Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This charming debut novel by Backman should find a ready audience with English-language readers . . . hysterically funny . . . wry descriptions, excellent pacing. . . . In the contest of Most Winning Combination, it would be hard to beat grumpy Ove and his hidden, generous heart.”

– Kirkus Reviews

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