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Simon and the Oaks
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1001 book reviews > Simon and the Oaks by Marianne Fredriksson

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Diane | 1974 comments AKA "Simon" and "Simon's Family: A Novel of Mothers and Sons"

Rating: 4 stars

A coming of age story about a Swedish boy of half-Jewish descent who grows up during WWII. Simon is given up my his natural mother and raised by his aunt, and doesn't learn about his heritage until later, when he questions his non-Nordic appearance.

Overall, I enjoyed this book with its well-rounded characters, descriptive prose, dysfunctional family dynamics, and hints of magical realism.

Diane Zwang | 1203 comments Mod
4 stars

I always appreciate a book that tugs at my heart strings, plays with my emotions and makes me think. This book did all that. I enjoyed my time in Sweden with the Larsson and Lentov families. It is a coming of age story of Simon Larsson and Isak Lentov, two boys growing up during and after WWII. Simon is described as “the boy who was lonely amid his happy family” and Isak was traumatized by the Hitler Youth when he was 4 years old, which haunted his youth and adulthood. Family is at the heart of this story. What it means to be a family, growing up and growing old. “But the familiar, the family, children, home – all that I have identified most closely with – will be left behind.” I thoroughly enjoyed this Swedish author and I look forward to reading more of her work some day.

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