Simon’s Family, by Marianne Fredriksson leaves us to ponder what defines 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. Extended families play an important role in Simon’s life.
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 story takes place during the pre-World War II period continuing through 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. T he 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 feelings the emotions of the book’s characters. The word-imagery is vivid. 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. The novel is a metaphor for the relationships between mothers and sons, and is exquisitely written, with beautiful depictions.
I would recommend Simon’s Family, by Marianne Fredriksson to everyone who is interested in societal structure and cultural boundaries, and those interested in the difference and sameness, within all of us. It is a Jewel of a book!