Before getting into my review, just wanted to apologize for the few days of silence. The holidays always throw me off a bit with blogging. You'd think by now I'd have the hang of it, but somehow they still always sneak up on me and I don't have anything prepared. Plus, I figure most people are spending time with those they love and not reading blogs :) Anyway, on to the slightly festive mini-review!
By: Frederik Backman
Published Year: 2017
Publisher: Atria Books
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): It all begins with a father telling a story to his son on Christmas Eve. But this isn’t your typical Christmas story. The father admits to his son that he’s taken a life but he won’t say whose—not yet.
One week earlier, in a hospital late at night, the man met a five-year-old girl with cancer. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.
As the man tells his son about this plucky little girl, he slowly reveals more about himself: while he may be a successful businessman, idolized by the media and his peers, he knows he failed as a parent. Overwhelmed by the responsibility of fatherhood, he took the easy way out and left his wife and little boy twenty years ago to pursue professional success. Now he is left wondering if it’s too late to forge a relationship with his son, who seems to be his opposite in every way—prizing happiness over money, surrounded by loving friends in a cozy town where he feels right at home.
Face to face with the idea that something is missing, the man is given the unexpected chance to do something selfless that could change the destiny of the little girl in the hospital bed. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he needs to find out what his own life has actually been worth in the eyes of his son. And so, he seeks him out and tells him this story…
A short Christmas story by Fredrik Backman? I’m in! I love the cover too, so I was in without even reading the summary.
What I thought
This was kind of a weird, depressing story.
Backman starts the book with a letter to readers, almost warning us that this is going to be a bit weird. It’s a short story he wrote about life and death and what it would mean to have never existed.
Unlike Backman’s full-length novels, this one has illustrations. There are beautiful pictures every few pages that add perfectly to the story. Considering this novella is only about 60 pages, I don’t have much of a review. I don’t know if I would recommend this as a Christmas story, but it’s an interesting perspective that I thin would make for some great discussion amongst friends.
If you like stories that can cause an existential crisis and you like Backman’s writing, you should read his latest novella. Maybe wait until after the holidays, but it’s worth a quick read. I don’t often recommend what type of format you should read in, but I’d recommend reading this in physical book format and not e-reader. The pictures are just too beautiful to not see in color.