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A Simpler Time

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  282 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Peter FitzSimons's account of growing up on the rural outskirts of Sydney in the 1960s is first and foremost a tribute to family. But it is also a salute to times and generations past. In this rollicking and often hilarious memoir, Peter describes a childhood of mischief, camaraderie, eccentric characters, drama. The childhood of a simpler time. ...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published 2010 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  282 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable book. I have now read it twice. I read it this time round to learn more about writing my memoirs. A Simpler Time made me laugh and it made me cry (loudly). I could really relate to Peter FitzSimons and his simple existence as one of seven. I am one of eight. He had not much (to use his phraseology) and we like wise. Now, as an adult perhaps you may not always agree with this public commentator. Not to worry. Put this to the side and go back in time and see life at Peats Ridg ...more
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
I bought this book, thinking it would be about growing up in the 1960's and 70's (the era of my childhood), but instead it was mainly about FitzSimons and his family. I dislike his newspaper articles and especially is huge ego - and this book is a good example of how big his ego really is. I acknowledge, however, that he has written some good books and books that need writing, eg telling the story of Nancy Wake as well as the iconic Australian battles of Kokoda and Tobruk - although they positiv ...more
Jenny Kirkby
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected! Peter FitzSimons grew up in the decade before I did but there were a lot of things that felt so familiar in his recount of his life - some directly, some through stories I've been told by my parents. I relate to his writing so easily that these could almost have been my memories and this was a lovely trip down that lane. ...more
Jan 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
I tried really hard to like this book, but I just couldn't. Yeah, okay so I get it, the writer had a nice childhood. However it felt less like he was discussing his childhood and more saying his childhood was better than mine.

Its just a romanticism of days gone by. You didn't have a TV? Congratulations. I think the idea of a simpler time is pretty much bull. It wasn't that the time he grew up in was necessarily simpler, it was that he was a child and being a child seems more simple.

It also didn'
Ned Charles
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
FitzSimons has written some excellent books, that is why I read this one. But it was a struggle. To be fair it does avoid the bias manner of so many memoirs and autobiography's, so much so his considerably better than average adult life is mostly avoided.
The reader quickly discovers there are no regrets or skeletons, just a loving family that sees the best in everything and loves life in a simple existence.
Many readers will be envious or doubtful of the life of FitzSimons, but it is the story o
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
It was good, lots of wonderful stories and certainly the attitudes towards parenting are of great value. Peter FitzSimons, no matter how much you insist this isn't really a memoir, it is. Only one criticism, and that would be, how can one family be so... 'nice' and wonderfully together and, despite life's upheavals, always do exactly the right thing? A bit too sugar coated at times but still delightful enough to enjoy. ...more
Cheryl Toohey
Memories of growing up, no iPad, iPhone or PC justSunday roast dinners, holidays at the beach and words of wisdom from dad Peter F nailed it!
Steve lovell
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
My dear mother took a shine to one of Peter FitzSimon’s books, his take on the wreck of the Batavia. She offered to lend it, but I demurred due to the pile of ‘must reads’ I already had waiting for me on my shelves. One of those was, in fact, his memoir ‘A Simple Time’. I’d pick it up cheap a few years ago, somewhere or other. Since that day it had slipped further and further down the order as other I considered more worthy tomes superseded it. ‘Flesh Wounds’ is a more recent purchase, but it to ...more
Peter Langston
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
I have read many of the author's researched factions but nothing better than this autobiography, not so much of his life but of his early years. Growing up on the family farm at Peats Ridge, Windhill, he tells the story in the first person, present, so the stories are told by a young boy trying to make sense of his world. So many of the characteristics of his life are strongly reminiscent of my own, for although he was raised to hard yakka and homespun philosophies in a rural setting, the experi ...more
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter FitzSimons writes of a time that I remember well despite being several years his senior.
Things that his parents said to him, I recall as words of my parents. It seems that there was a kind of collective wisdom common to parents after WWII and in the fifties for most of us and into the sixties for those who lived away from the "big smoke".
Life was certainly a simpler thing for us as children, perhaps less so, as Trish suggests, for our parents who struggled with limited means to feed and cl
Feb 04, 2021 rated it did not like it
What a shame that Peter, who bleats about the grasp he has on the Australian way of life has such bigoted views on what people think. He calls for punishment on anyone whose view is not his. He takes the first step onto the slippery slope that Nazi Germany took when they didn't agree with Jews. Does he really think that punishing Margaret Court and the like is "Australian " just because they don't have the same point of view that he has?. ...more
Mar 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, 2020
A great representation of young Australian lives, a lot of us grew up in different circumstances but there has to be at least one thing in this book that you can relate to. A good homely story, happy, sad, everything in between.
Sep 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't get past about 40 pages. I found the style hard to read and it felt like it didn't really tell a story. Just a bunch of side notes from his childhood. ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is a well written memoir of Peter's family life. I really enjoyed reading it. ...more
Allan Sparkes
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is not the first book I have read of Peter Fitzsimons. I have heard Peter speak at corporate events previously and always enjoyed hearing his 'yarns'. The prospect of reading a book about his life was one I looked forward to. I was not disappointed, although I was expecting to read a little more about the initiation and progression of his relationship, leading up to his marriage with his wife, Lisa Wilkinson. Peter and I are, like many other reviewers, of similar age. I also come from a cou ...more
Stella Kwamboka
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great nostalgic book, compellingly written.I liked some of the life lessons woven through the story.It does all seem impossibly wonderful though, the author could have given us a glimpse of certain challenges that they faced as a family, surely it wasn't just about the homestead being run on a shoestring budget.There was the bit about his father's depression which was quite sad but that came to light much later in their lives,if those 6 'Fitty' kids sailed through their earlier lives completely ...more
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great book, especially if you were born in Australia around the early 60s. There were so many times I laughed in recognition. I really liked the way Peter introduced aspects of his family life as he would have recognize them growing up. His parents sound like brave and wonderful people. It is refreshing and heart warming to read a memoir where the writers parents are not only valued but loved.
Nov 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Know the family and Peats Ridge home featured in Peter's memoirs- but more than that it brought back all those similar childhood memories from my own semi-rural upbringing in Bossley Park albeit a decade and a half before Peter's time. The honesty and charm of his writing is irresistable. ...more
Cathy Allington
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a delightful beautifully written joy. Peter Fitzsimmons shares his life growing up in a way which makes you envious of the family, the thrift, the hard work but most of all the love and innocence of a well, simpler time. Peter writes with humour and credibility. beautifully constructed. A pleasure to read
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter FitzSimons is a true character from a truly beautiful family full of strong personalities like himself. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it had me laughing out loud, smiling to myself and in tears. He feels for his family what we all hope our children will feel for our own, once they are grown men. X
A touching, if somewhat sentimental, tribute to family and a celebration of what looks like a fairly idyllic childhood.

This book certainly isn't earth-shattering but it's an enjoyable read. A happy childhood is a wonderful thing and the author does well to capture this wonder.

3.5 stars.

Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't think I was expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. I've never read a Peter FitzSimons' book before and, to be honest, a lot of his journalism has annoyed me in the past. However, this was a very touching read - most of it read in a house in the Barrington Tops, making it seem even more real. I loved it. ...more
I loved this book - Peter and I of a similar age, and even though i grew up in the 'big smoke', much of what he writes about I related to - especially around the schoolyard. Sentimental without being cloying and a beautiful homage to great parents, loving siblings and growing up with adventures. A great Christmas read. ...more
Aug 23, 2012 rated it liked it
It was an easy book to read. I was able to put it down and come back to it easily and because I am not a fast reader this was a plus for me.
There were many stories of Peter's growing up which reminded me of my own childhood :)
Dave Guia
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
What's not to like about this look back at the 60's on the Central Coast of NSW.

Thanks for sharing and thanks for such kind and meaningful words about your mother and father...two exceptional people!
Judith Symonds
Feb 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Nice book about country life especially related to living off the land. The most fascinating thing that I took from this book was that TV stands for time vaporizer.
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found this book really interesting, especially as I know some of the author's extended family and recognise the era the book covers. ...more
Robin Humphries
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved it as it was the time I was growing up in the country and it rang some memory bells.
Richard Warlow
Apr 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Pretty good book, I found the first third to be hard going, just about gave up a few times, but the book improved and I was glad I finished it.
Jenny Johnson
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book. So many things similar to my childhood. Though it did seem a bit too good to be true in parts.
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Peter FitzSimons is one of Australia’s most prominent and successful media and publishing identities. His busy professional life involves co-hosting the breakfast program on Sydney's Radio 2UE, writing weekly columns for the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun Herald newspapers, appearing on Foxtel's Back Page television show and, when time permits, authoring best-selling books. A correspondent for Lond ...more

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