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The Deal of a Lifetime

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  18,929 ratings  ·  2,685 reviews
A father and a son are seeing each other for the first time in years. The father has a story to share before it’s too late. He tells his son about a courageous little girl lying in a hospital bed a few miles away. 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.
Hardcover, 65 pages
Published October 31st 2017 by Atria Books
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,929 ratings  ·  2,685 reviews

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Chelsea Humphrey
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-publisher

"Hi. It's your dad. You'll be waking up soon, it's Christmas Eve morning in Helsingborg, and I've killed a person. That's not how fairy tales usually begin, I know. But I took a life. Does it make a difference if you know whose it was?"

What an opening! As a longterm reader of Backman I've become accustomed to staying perched on my toes; you never quite know what you'll be getting when you step into his version of reality. Will it be the whimsical, heartwarming atmosphe
Elyse  Walters
I debated about writing anything at all.

I liked Susanne’s review which ended in ‘enough said’!

I find the reviews of this novella as interesting as the story.

Many - I mean MANY of us are FANS of Fredrick Blackman...

So... I’m thinking...GUT HONEST HERE:
It’s my opinion... it would be ‘easier’ to give this book 5 stars if you didn’t pay for it...
BUT I DON’T think I would have...and I LOVE BACKMAN...
This story drove me deep into my thoughts ( a ‘little’ odd - aware of the
Nov 02, 2017 rated it liked it
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

I have been seeing this everywhere and decided I had to give it a read.

I love that gorgeous cover!

Honestly I’m not sure how I feel about the story. I’m not going to go into the plot as the description itself is pretty long and goes into quite a bit of detail. I was definitely pulled in from the very first line and enjoyed the story, but just felt a bit like “that’s it?” when it was over. I knew the book was going to be shor
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read two books by Fredrik Backman this year and enjoyed them both. When I saw The Deal of a Lifetime floating around on Goodreads, the cover and author sent me right into an impulse buy and I used an Audible credit to purchase it. I didn't even read the blurb and assumed I was purchasing a Christmas read. It turned out to be very different from what I expected and my review below might contain something you consider a spoiler if you want to go in completely blind. Although, I don't feel that I ...more
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
i love this time of year. its a time of kindness and warmth and giving. its a time that makes me believe in hope and humanity. its a time that reminds us what is truly important in life.

and i would lying if i said i didnt put off this book for seven months, just so i could read it during a time when i knew i would need a small dose of that holiday magic. and there is no one better to deliver that than fredrik backman.

this story is the epitome of christmas spirit - its a story about what it mea
Susanne  Strong
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars* (rounded down)

A short novella about the meaning of life, death and sacrifice by Fredrik Backman, one of my all-time favorite authors.

It is poignant, sincere and heartfelt. A quick, easy read. Enough said.

Published on Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook on 11.6.17.
The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman is a 2017 Atria Books publication.

Backman continues to amaze-

Every year there are a handful of holiday themed novels I never managed to read before the season was over, and this one falls into that category.

If I had been able to get my hands on a copy before Christmas, I wouldn't have had any problems working it into my schedule. In fact, I would have pushed it to the top of the pile, no matter how short or long it was. But, I missed any and all ad camp
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, christmas, sweden
3.5 Stars

"A second is always a second, that’s the one definitive walue we have on earth. Everyone is always negotiating all of the time. You’re doing the deal of your life, every day. This was mine.”

When you’re used to being charmed by Backman’s characters, by his stories, this one is a bit different. A different slice of life, Poignant, bittersweet, introspective, and yes, charming, but more in the darker slice of life way, still, look beneath, and you’ll find Backman. A story that examines
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2017
An introspective fable reflecting on the choices we make and the differences in people.

This is a perfect fit for the upcoming holidays. The Christmas season is a time for caring and sharing, giving and receiving, friendship and fellowship. Often during this time of year we find ourselves considering what we value and what others value. We consider who we are, and what we will leave behind.

We all long for that which we don't have. To go back and make better choices, make up for our mistakes, cho
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: terrible-twos
"Maybe you will find this to be a strange story, I don't know...Anyway, this is the story. Thank you for taking the time to read it.
With love,
Fredrik Backman"

Dear Mr. Backman,

I purchased and read all your books within a year. How could you take advantage of one of your most ardent fans, by charging me $18 for a not much more than a hardcover greeting card? I've received birthday cards that stirred more emotions within me than "The Deal of a Lifetime." Plus, that title was like pouring salt in
Angela M
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it

I read this because Fredrik Backman has become over the last few years one of my favorite authors. I read it now because I thought it was a Christmas story, but it really isn’t. It’s a story for anytime, an allegory about how one lives a life, about the importance of knowing what really counts, about love. Moving in many ways, what we have come to expect from Backman. Recommended to all, but especially Backman fans. A very short review, I know but this piece of writing, described as a novella se
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, favorites, own
This is a beautiful, meaningful novella, a story told by a father to his son on Christmas Eve. In "The Deal of a Lifetime" there's a five-year-old girl with cancer who is confined to the hospital. In a nearby room is another patient, a very wealthy man, a man who has forsaken his family but by his standards is an important man because in his world, with great wealth comes great worth: "I failed with you," he says of his son. "I tried to make you tough. You ended up kind." This is about the momen ...more

In THE DEAL OF A LIFETIME, a man looks back on his life....reflects on what he missed....what is truly important, and with the influence of a little girl decides to make a change.

Just a short novella, but by Fredrik Backman.....always worth my while.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5 because what else would I rate this?? I mean really.

My reviews and (maybe) some other random thoughts can also be seen at


I honestly don't think there is anyone that can make me cry like Fredrik Backman can. This teeny tiny 65 page novella gave me ALL the feels. I love his short stories with their beautiful illustrations and the gut wrenching "lessons". Backman is by far one of my f
Some food for thought and perfect for the holiday season. Short but introspective. Beautiful cover art and many uplifting reviews from my GR friends led me to this one. May each reader take what they will from this novella. Fredrik Backman is special and does not cease to amaze me.
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it

Fredrik Backman, I hate you. Why is it that you make me cry every single time?!

The Deal of a Lifetime is in the form of a letter written by a successful and famous but selfish man to his son. The man has been diagnosed with cancer and he seems to regret having been an absentee father because of his obsession with leaving behind a memorable legacy. His hospital room is adjacent to that of a five-year-old girl's who too has fallen victim to cancer. In his letter, he details the heartbreaking conv
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Not my favorite of Backman's work, honestly, but it was a sweet, quick read.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a short story about what you would be prepared to sacrifice in order to save a life...
May very well be the last book I finish the year. Mmm... not quite know how to rate. Story is out of the box, weird, emotional. Drawings, especially the double page ones, are beautiful. It just didn't get to me as much as Beartown or Ove. Three stars therefore.... He is definitely an interesting writer, Fredrik Backman. Interested in the two books in his work I still need to read, maybe in 2018...
Dec 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Since this is a short book, I shall sum up my feelings in short poetry form:

Yet missing the Backman warmth;
I am left bereft.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it

Though provoking and so so wonderful!

If all else fails this year, at least I’ve discovered Fredrick Backman.

Already enough reasons to be grateful.
Diane S ☔
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Not too much to say about this. A very short novella, with a warm ending and a poignant realization along the way. An adult fable, if you will, pictures and all. Nice heartwarming story and a quick read.

ARC from Edelweiss.
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Got this gem as a Christmas present and started listening to it on my drive to see my family on Christmas day. It finished right as I was pulling into their driveway and the tears were just drying in my eyes. Though it is short, it is mighty.

A short story told about an absent father making a deal for the greater good. The tiny nuances are what stood out for me: the gray sweater, the red thread, the city as it appeared... Backman is such a gifted storyteller and I could just picture him writing t
I had not read this author before except for his other novella so really didn’t know what to expect. I was confused at first. I had not read the blurb, so I went back to see what the story was about and got my bearings. I must say this very short novella (more of a short story) is poignant, and I loved the poctures, but it really didn’t tug at my heartstrings for whatever reason. Since I didn’t get the feelings I was searching for my rating of this one isn’t the best. I will try again with one o ...more
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
My Video Review:

Nov. 1, 2017: I read this one time through, but I can tell there's more to get out of it that I didn't pick up on. I'm rereading this today, and I'll rate it after an immediate reread.

Nov. 1, 2017 Reread #1: I definitely think I got a ton more out of this the second time around and pulled out a lot of great messages. The ending is very ambiguous, but it allows you to pull different things out of the novella by thinking about the story from different v
Stephanie Anze
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, favorites
"The only thing of value on Earth is time. One second will always be a second, there's no negotiating with that."

A man writes a letter to his son on Christmas Eve. He tells him he has taken a life but before he can tell him whose, he has to tell him why. A noted personality, this man found success in business but all his achievements came at a steep price and its time to pay up.

Fredrik Backman does not dissapoint. I actually planned on reading this novella around Christmas but the book did not a
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lightening fast read!! I love this author, I wanted this to be a longer novel not a novella.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-2
Delightful, sad and hopeful at times, and like everything Backman writes, beautifully rendered.
That was fast. On audio, this short story is approximately 45 minutes long at regular playback speed...which is about 23 minutes for me lol. I do not have time for slow narration so I crank that baby up! Overall, The Deal of a Lifetime was a likable story about so many things but mainly it provides perspective about what the ultimate sacrifice might look like. The author suggests it's so easy to say you would give your life for something or someone but is anyone actually selfless enough in our h ...more
Sam Quixote
Jan 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
Any Family Guy fans here? Brian Griffin (the dog) is an aspiring author who writes the hackiest crap ever (his debut novel was titled “Faster Than The Speed of Love”!). Reading Fredrik Backman’s The Deal of a Lifetime was like reading what I imagine one of Brian’s books would be: beyond contrived, comedically sentimental and clumsily manipulative.

The framing device is a letter from a dying father on a cancer ward to his estranged son. I won’t say any more because that’d reveal the whole farcica
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Live your life like it's the last day, every day. That's the basic message of this short little book. Don't take anything for granted, spend time with your family, your spouse and kids before life is over. Make time for simple pleasures. Enjoy every moment.

All proceeds from this book and other novellas written by Fredrik Backman go to charity. 😊
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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. Things My Son Needs to Know About the World, his first work ...more

Articles featuring this book

The holiday season is all about comfort and joy, but—let's be real—it can be a bit hectic too. That's why we suggest cozying up with a b...
45 likes · 15 comments
“The only thing of value on Earth is time. One second will always be a second, there’s no negotiating with that.” 21 likes
“You were always someone who could be happy. You don’t know how much of a blessing that is.” 13 likes
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