Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Simpel

Simpel is 22 years old, he loves to play with Playmobil and he takes his stuffed toy Monsieur HaseHase (Bunnybunny) everywhere. His 17 year old brother Colbert is taking care of him and while looking for a place to live in Paris, they come across a couple of students looking for people to share their flat. The students quickly find out that living with Simpel can be challenging...

I've been meaning to read this book for a while now, ever since it was the choice of the teen jury for the German Youth Literature Award. Usually, those books are excellent (not something to be said about the choices of the adult jury) and I wasn't disappointed.

Many of us are uncomfortable around persons with intellectual disabilities and the people Simpel encounters are no different. At times, his brother tries to make Simpel act "normal", with disastrous results. Things are usually easier when Colbert tells the truth about Simpel up front - although Simpel has a gift for stating uncomfortable truths people may not want to hear (but maybe should hear).

There are some hilarious passages in the book that made me laugh out loud and I particularly enjoyed Monsieur Hasehase, who has a mind of his own and a knack for getting Simpel in trouble. The ending is a bit too good to be true, everything falls into place and I really doubt that things will be so easy - but a story has to end somewhere. And if it's at that perfect moment, why not. The book doesn't pretend that things will stay that perfect forever, after all.

Simpel by Marie-Aude Murail is my 34th book for the Library Challenge

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