Audiobook Review: Things My Son Needs To Know About The World

Things My Son Needs to Know about the World
by Fredrik Backman
Narrated by Santino Fontana
Length: 3 hrs and 10 mins
256 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Simon Schuster Audio 
 (ISBN13: 9781508258698)

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review.


The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove shares an irresistible and moving collection of heartfelt, humorous essays about fatherhood, providing his newborn son with the perspective and tools he’ll need to make his way in the world. 

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World collects the personal dispatches from the front lines of one of the most daunting experiences any man can experience: fatherhood.

As he conveys his profound awe at experiencing all the “firsts” that fill him with wonder and catch him completely unprepared, Fredrik Backman doesn’t shy away from revealing his own false steps and fatherly flaws, tackling 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 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 humorous 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

My Thoughts

Elizabeth Stone said, “Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”  I don't think a truer sentence has ever been written. I have two hearts walking around outside my body as I write this. One is about to embark on the world while the other still has a few years before she will begin her journey. 

As time was coming to a close on my son's high school career, I couldn't help but wonder if I taught him everything he needs to know about the world. Have we covered all the important things at least? Fredrik Backman and I are at opposite ends of Phase I in the parenting spectrum. (Phase I is years 0-18. The years when you are one of the most influential people in your child's life.) 

I enjoy Backman's writing immensely. I remember when I first read A Man Called Ove. I laughed out load and cried all in the same chapter. His story encompasses what it means to find your tribe, your family. You fall in love with his characters, which aren't always likeable in the beginning. But they become endearing in the end. It's because of this book I was curious to read Things My Son Needs to Know About the World. I chose audiobook format because I love audiobooks, and Backman's books are highly enjoyable in audiobook format. Seriously, check them out if you haven't already.

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World is narrated by Santino Fontana. He does a wonderful job bringing Backman's essays to life. He reads the book with the depth and humor the author intended. Fontana makes you feel as if you are in a one-on-one conversation about parenthood. It almost seems unreal that this book is a little over three hours long because it's chocked full of charming and amusing anecdotes, as well as more serious topics. 

I also love how Backman doesn't try to come off as a parenting expert. He acknowledges his missteps. He embraces his flaws. And I think that's why this book is so endearing. It speaks from the heart. Things My Son Needs to Know About the World is the perfect book for parents, no matter what phase of life your children are in. It's definitely perfect for fathers, who will probably love this book even more than I do. I can honestly say, this is one of the best parenting books out there. Do yourself a favor and read it.