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Book Review – Simon’s Family: A Novel of Mothers and Sons

Simon’s Family: A Novel of Mothers and Sons, by Marianne Fredriksson leaves us to wonder what is Family?

This was a well-written novel on the aspects of what it means to be a family…families come in many forms, such as, biological, extended family, imaginative families, and those we choose to be part of our family.

Simon Larsson and Isak Lentov are eleven years old friends. Isak is Jewish, and from a wealthy home, and when Simon visits Isak, he begins to see the differences in their life styles. When Isak visits Simon, he finds a family surrounded with love and caring. Each one comes to discover their differences, their similarities, and their uniqueness, within familial confines.

The great tree instantly fell silent, and the boy knew something important had happened. He swallowed the lump in his throat, disowning his own grief.”

The story begins during the pre-World War II period, and lasts throughout the war. This exceptionally insightful story deals with mothers and sons, three generations of women, and how they affect their sons, both emotionally and physically. The book also sends a strong message on how we assimilate into society, the way we choose to fit in. Issues of stability and fear are detailed, as if we are within the bodies of the characters and feeling their emotions.

The book grapples with how fear plays a major factor in some lives, and how it can imprison us, if we let it.

Familial roles are played out, by relatives, friends and others…with the children always at the end of the rope, as a tug-of-war progresses and continues. It is a metaphor for the relationships between mothers and sons, and is exquisitely written, with beautiful descriptions.

I would recommend Simon’s Family: A Novel of Mothers and Sons, by Marianne Fredriksson to everyone who is interested in societal structure and cultural boundaries, and those who are interested in the difference and sameness, within all of us.

It is a Jewel of a book!

I personally own, and have read this book, recently for a second time.

November 29, 2012 – 15 Kislev, 5773

All writings, photographs, etc., are my own copyright (unless stated otherwise), and may not be used without my permission.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Holocaust/Genocide, Judaism, Novels