Kleber Maluri is 17 and lives in Paris. His brother Barnaby, known to everyone as Simple, is 22, but has a mental age of about 3, and is inseparable from his soft-toy companion, Mister Babbit.
Simple was in a institution called Malicroix, but Kleber knows how unhappy Simple is there, and decides he will look after his brother himself, as their mother has passed away and their father has a new life and is not interested in taking an active role caring for his sons. Kleber has his own hopes and dreams - of completing his second year of sixth form, going to university, meeting a girl and falling in love - but above all he cares deeply for his brother and how he is treated, despite the awkward situations that Simple invariably gets himself, or them both, into, as a result of his learning difficulties. Kleber finds a flat share in the city where they can both live, and the other flatmates all react differently to Simple, but slowly he will come to influence and change all of their lives.
This is a heart-warming, kind-hearted and moving tale, with a great young cast of characters. It is deftly written - a quick read on the surface - but with clever humour, sadness, and through the portrayal of Simple’s character and the way he interacts with and observes others the author shrewdly reveals the truth about these people. My Brother Simple is actually a telling exploration of the quick judgments we can make about people and the truth that lies beneath our assumptions. It is an immensely enjoyable and rewarding novel and I would recommend it to young adult readers and older readers too.