Review Blog

Jul 15 2014

The simple things by Bill Condon

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2014 ISBN 9781743317242.
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Family, Rural life. Going to visit an aunt many miles from the city is not what Steve wants to do, but his parents are concerned about her health and have not seen her for nine years. On arrival, he is told they will be there for the whole holidays, three weeks, and she is a caustic, strange old woman who does not mince her words.
At first he is taken aback when he offers a hug, her response not being what he expects, but then the two begin to see each other in a different light, as he plays jokes on her, banging the door of the outside loo when she is in there, and finding her talk about family history of interest.
Their lives become closer as he realises that she is lonely, that she is frail, but will not admit it. He tries to patch up her soured friendship with her next door neighbour, Norm Smith, now undergoing chemotherapy, and goes with Norm and his granddaughter fishing.
This is a charming story of an unusual young boy learning to accept his aunt for what she is, seeing her as others see her, but also looking underneath. Condon writes sympathetically of this woman and her family, and of the life she leads in the country town, and of her relationship with her neighbours and various other community members. Her growing delight with her nephew endears the reader to this cranky old woman, as the whole story becomes one about a developing friendship between two disparate and sometimes difficult people, with Lola finally revealing something of her past.
Fran Knight

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals 2018
National Book Award winners 2017
Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards 2017
YABBA Awards 2017
Teens' top 10
2017 Man Booker Prize
Australian Family Therapists' Award for Children's Literature 2017 winners
2017 Children's Peace Literature Award Short List
Inkys Awards 2017
2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award
2017 NSW Premier's History Awards
The Queensland Literary Awards 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2017
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Bookmark and poster templates