Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Thursday, 9 August 2012

My Brother Simple - Marie-Aude Murail

Kleber Maluri is 17 and lives in Paris. His brother Barnaby, known to everyone as Simple, is 22, but has a mental age of about 3, and is inseparable from his soft-toy companion, Mister Babbit. Simple was in a institution called Malicroix, but Kleber knows how unhappy Simple is there, and decides he will look after his brother himself, as their mother has passed away and their father has a new life and is not interested in taking an active role caring for Simple himself.

Kleber has his own hopes and dreams, of completing his second year of sixth form, going to University, meeting a girl and falling in love, but above all he cares deeply for his brother and how he is treated, despite the awkward situations that Simple invariably gets himself, or them both, into, as a result of his learning difficulties. Kleber finds a flatshare in the city where they can both live, and the other flatmates all react differently to Simple, but slowly he will come to influence and change all of their lives.

This is a heart-warming, kind-hearted and moving tale, with a great young cast of characters. It is deftly written, a quick read on the surface, but with clever humour, sadness, and through the portrayal of Simple’s character and the way he interacts with and observes others, the author shrewdly reveals the truth about these people, and the novel is actually a telling exploration of the quick judgments we can make about people and the truth that lies beneath our assumptions. It is an immensely enjoyable and rewarding novel and I would recommend it to young adult readers and older readers too.

My Brother Simple was a bestseller in France, and won the Prix SNCF du Livre de Jeunesse, and in Germany it won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis.

Published by Bloomsbury 2nd August 2012

Reviewed for We Love This Book  
Thanks to them and the publisher for supplying a proof copy for review.


  1. I don't know if I could read this Lindsay, from your review it sounds like exactly the kind of book that would make me cry buckets! (in a good way)


  2. Love the sound of My Simple Brother Lins. It is hard to be non-judgemental - even though we may 'work' on it, there's still those feelings from the first impression to explore!

    Thanks for sharing your fab review. x

  3. This sounds lovely (reminds me of a younger rainman?), thanks for the lovely review, will keep an eye out for it.


  4. I agree, the story sounds a bit like Rainman. It must be an awesomely strong book.
    Loved your reviews and your blog. Following you now!
    Please do visit my book blog at and if you like it, do follow!

    1. Thanks for commenting and for rinding and following my blog, off to visit yours!


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