In this tender story of lives lived and others barely begun, we see how much the young can learn from the elderly, and vice-versa. It addresses themes of growing up, growing old, and all that’s in between presented in Bill Condon’s unique, natural and pure style.
Stephen and his parents go to visit their elderly Aunty Lola in the country. Apart from two cards a year containing ten dollars, Stephen has little knowledge about this relative he’s never met.
Aunty Lola and Stephen don’t hit it off at first. She scowls, constantly corrects his English, and doesn’t know what diplomacy means. But as he gets to know her, he finds that she’s not so bad, she simply expresses herself in a different way.
Aunty Lola opens up her box of life to Stephen whom she quickly grows to love. She reveals secrets about painful experiences, and they both learn that life is full of simple things to share while creating memories to treasure a lifetime.
The young, innocent narrative voice of Stephen is as smooth as flowing chocolate and equally as tasteful. Bill Condon’s extraordinary ability to create convincing characters and capture their thoughts and speech perfectly is at work again within this well-crafted storyline.
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
Title: The Simple Things
Author: Bill Condon
Illustrator: Beth Norling
Publisher: Allen & Unwin PB RRP $12.99
Publication Date: Feb 2014
Type: Children’s Fiction