Peter FitzSimons has titled his memoir A Simpler Time. Was it really a ′simpler time′ or is Peter celebrating the nostalgia and affinity that we all feel towards our childhoods?
Peter′s father suffered from many traumatic events in his life, including the events of World War II. Do you think his repressed emotions and need for activity were typical responses of returned soldiers? Was there a genetic component?
Peter′s mother turned down a life of wealth and luxury to live on a farm with her new husband. To her children she obviously seemed happy in this decision. Does this in itself constitute a successful life?
The importance of family is a major theme of the book. Do you identify with Peter in his response to the young woman he meets at Manly who has no family or with the woman and her circumstances?
Children today are much more sheltered and protected than the FitzSimons′ children. Is this for better or worse, and can the times be compared?
Removing himself from the thrall of Bobby McTere was a major thing in the life of young Peter. Have there been similar difficult associations and breaks in your own life? How have you dealt with them?
A wonderful cast of eccentric characters came and went at Windhill. What does it say about Peter′s personality and writing that he is able to describe these people - who may really have been quite difficult to live with - so affectionately?
Young Peter thrives on the love and security that surround him. But there are many tragedies that beset his family and community. Hovering over his account is the death of his brother Martin. Does Peter successfully convey the hole Martin must have left in the family and if so how?
Would it be true to say that the sense of community experienced by residents of Peats Ridge and surrounds helped in consoling those affected by tragedy?
Many of Peter′s memories revolve around the land and nature of rural Australia. Would the memoir be as effective in another setting?
All memoirs are necessarily selective. How honest do you think Peter has been in his?
How does reading his memoir make you feel about your own family?
About Peter FitzSimons