Last night, as dad phoned through this review transcript (just like in the old days!), I got thinking about the father-daughter bond. For those of us with good fathers, even the best of husbands or boyfriends can't compare.
Peter FitzSimons' new book is essentially a tribute to the childhood fostered by two very excellent parents. I was pleased to be able to send dad a copy, as he's such a fan of FitzSimons' Sydney Morning Herald 'The Fitz Files' column (dad is not yet a Facebook friend... still working on emails). Chuffed, he was.
Here my dad outlines his thoughts on A Simpler Time – A memoir of love, laughter, loss and billycarts (HarperCollins; $35) with added GWAS trivia bits.
Family values, six siblings, a changing society, honour and responsibility form the basics of FitzSimons' simple, almost idyllic, childhood, but there is much more to this memoir.
From his older brother arriving home from Sydney University with long hair and an earring during the Vietnam War (shock!), to the time his parents took in a petty criminal (who stole from them), despite his atheism, FitzSimons' early life is marked by anecdotes pointing to his parents' Christian beliefs and work ethic.
FitzSimons has basically given us his family history, from northern Ireland to Peats Ridge, the far northern suburb of Sydney where he grew up. There are the things most boys coming of age in the 50s, 60s and 70s could relate to – fire cracker night, camping in caves, activities behind school toilet blocks, visits to the beach (his aunt had a holiday house at Newport Beach).
Those looking for FitzSimons the rugby player, biographer, journalist, husband or father will be disappointed, as the memoir concentrates solely on his formative years. But if a childhood dictates future prosperity, there's sense in crediting his parents for laying solid foundations for his success.
FitzSimons' has an easy way with words and a familiar vernacular. I’ll give this one 7 out of 10, and happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there.
P.S. GWAS trivia – GWAS was presented with her year 12 prizes by none other than Peter FitzSimons.
WIN! Score your dad a copy of A Simpler Time - A memoir of love, laughter, loss and billycarts by emailing email@example.com with your mailing address and telling me about a simpler time in your life in 100 words or less (your answer may be published!). There are five copies up for grabs. Or else you can borrow it from my dad.
Girl With a Satchel & Dad