By the end of this memoir, you’ll be hard pressed not to wonder what came next for Simon Smalley – such is the riveting nature of his early life.
At times – particularly for those of a younger audience – the depiction of life in the 1960/1970s feels much further away than the 50-60 years that it actually is. All too familiar however, is the bullying and emotional and physical assaults dished out throughout Simon’s early life for daring to remain true to himself – a recognisable experience for far too many individuals both past and present.
Whilst the retelling of Simon’s start in life covers many trials and tribulations, one of the most moving and heart warming aspects is found in the form of Simon’s dad. It’s hard not to feel a deep respect for a man who not only continued to raise his family the best way he knew how, after the death of his wife, but who also managed to do it with grace, understanding and unconditional love, at a time when this would have been virtually unheard of.
The complete acceptance of Simon for who he was, without a shred of judgement, speaks to the caliber of Simon’s dad and serves as a reminder that the right support, encouragement and love, goes a long way to establishing courage and hope in the face of adversity.
Despite the traumatic events told within this book, from the childhood loss of a parent to personal battles with body image and self esteem, the humorous style of this author’s writing comes to the fore. In essence this provides the reader with a unique account of a journey that whilst heavily emotive, is nicely balanced by the humour, glitz and glamour of Simon’s adolescent years.
This is an inspirational memoir with a powerful message that transcends any generation or time period.
I received an ARC of this book for review from Butterworth Books, in exchange for an honest review.
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