Times Literary Supplement
‘(Simpson) vividly and thoughtfully unpicks the circumstances in which she and her sisters were raised…With its silent men and thwarted women, Simpson’s family is a study in gender oppression.’
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Sunday Times
‘A superb memoir…Tricia’s hear-rending biography is interwoven with welcome portraits of Simpson’s bonkers ancestors, many of which are laugh-out-loud funny…’
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Richard Benson, The Observer
‘…tormented, riveting and bleakly funny…heart-rending…compassionate and beadily observed…honesty underwrites what should be an enduring addition to writing about both mental illness and rural England,’
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Jenny McCartney, Mail on Sunday
‘…unsentimental, witty at times, yet precisely moving…I found this book gripping and heart-wrenching. It sticks with me still.’

Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Times
‘A poignant memoir…a rich family history that seeks to find a way to address the unspoken. Simpson is a precise and skilled writer. This memoir…is a considerable achievement.'
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‘If you loved Tara Westover’s Educated, get yourself a copy of When I Had a Little Sister as soon as humanly possible…beautifully under-stated…a startling, elegiac portrait of farming life in modern Britain.’
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Caroline Sanderson, Editor’s Choice, Bookseller
‘Brave and elegiac…Ultimately it’s a story of what it is to love someone with mental illness.’

The List
‘Simpson reconstructs a complicated portrait of the past with tenderness and unsparing detail…’
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Portobello Book Blog
‘…insightful, compelling and very moving.’
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James Robertson, author of And the Land Lay Still
‘Catherine Simpson’s memoir of her sister Tricia’s suicide mixes the coolness of her journalistic training with the subjective pain of loss in dreadful circumstances. But something else is on these pages: frustration and anger – with Tricia, with herself and with other relatives – that if only the family tradition of silence and the suppression of feelings had been challenged earlier things might have been different. In analysing the inherited values and habits of a lifetime, Simpson breaks the silence and liberates herself’

Janice Galloway, author of The Trick is to Keep Breathing
‘When I Had a Little Sister, Catherine Simpson’s second book, carries a subtitle – “The Story of a Farming Family who Never Spoke.” Don’t be fooled. This book’s secret weapon – alongside the strength and power of its story – is the remarkable voice that fires from the page to the heart with no hesitation at all. Just Wonderful.

Graeme Macrae Burnet, author of His Bloody Project
‘Catherine Simpson’s memoir of her younger sister’s suicide is nothing less than an excavation of her family archaeology: a bold attempt to answer the question of how we become the people we are. Simpson is brilliant on the memories evoked by the accumulated junk left behind by the dead; she’s brilliant on the weird dynamics of family relationships; but most of all she brilliant at directing her clear-eyed gaze at the stuff we often prefer to turn away from. There are moments here of heart-stopping poignancy and unbearable sadness, but it is never maudlin or sentimental. Simpson is too good a writer for that, and it is her restraint and phlegmatic humour which lend the book its tremendous power. A deeply engaging, courageous and human work.’

Isabel Costello, Literary Sofa
‘I found this a very powerful and moving read…Many readers will experience their own moments of emotional connection, and many readers is precisely what this book deserves.’
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The Scotsman: Story of suicide that gives strength to those suffering from mental health stigma

Lancashire Evening Post:

The Scotsman: Living with the Aftermath of a Suicide

BBC: Why I Broke Silence Surrounding my Sister’s Suicide

ITV: What I learned from my Sister’s Hidden Diaries after her Suicide.

Daily Record: Sister of tragic suicide woman uses Diaries to unpick truth behind her long battle with depression.

Midlothian Advertiser: Author hopes sister tribute will help others

The List: On her unflinching and honest account of the life she shared with her sister



Dundee University Review of the Arts
‘captivating, poignant and vivid’
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Nudge Book
‘The story unrolls, dropping small detail after detail’
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Lothian Life
‘vivid and empathetic’
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Glasgow Herald
‘sharply observed…a terrific read’
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Poppy Peacock Pens
‘Funny, frank and faithful’
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On the Literary Sofa with Isabel Costello
I empathised with her (Alice) so much it was painful; and funny and moving and actually quite steamy in that polytunnel.’
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Portobello Book Blog
Quirky, insightful & thought-provoking…a moving, well-crafted, engaging debut’
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‘I giggled and welled up at different times during the book, so prepare yourself for the roller-coaster journey’
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Sunday Mirror:
'Catherine Simpson's debut novel is moving but never mawkish, and ultimately hopeful,providing a sympathetic portrait of a family struggling with autism in straitened times. Sam's on-line interactions with a motley group of friends are laugh-out-loud funny, providing some memorable insights.'

James Robertson:
'Vivid perceptive and acute.'

Val Hennessy:
'Readers are in for big treats with Simpson's terrific novel - it's funny, poignant, perceptive and flags up a wonderfully witty warning to parents who leave - unsupervised - their laptop-loving offspring. Set on a remote, ramshackle Lancashire farm, Alice and Duncan live with their seriously special needs son. This demanding, Geekish, 12-year old, Sam, may be a nightmare to have around but he's brighter than a laser-beam searchlight. Alice is at the end of her tether, slobbish Duncan's farming schemes are a disaster, the money is running out and Sam stays mostly in his bedroom chatting about life's big questions on-line. When Duncan brings home a hippie man-of-the-road type to help set up a polytunnel cannabis farm Alice is furious.She cold-shoulders the hippie until his gentle kindness towards Sam gradually wins her approval... As soon as she starts shaving her legs and swapping her dungarees for a short skirt can guess which way the wind is blowing. Apart from a somewhat unnecessarily grisly Gothic episode towards the end, the plot races exhilaratingly along with never a dull moment.Highlights of the book are Sam's chat-room conversations which had me laughing out loud. Highly recommended.'



Daily Record
My Daughter inspired my book about autistic kid
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Daily Mail: The girl who inspired a novel
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Edinburgh Evening News: Booking a Journey for Midlothian Authors - read here

Edinburgh Evening News: Author’s life with autistic child inspired novel
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Lancaster Guardian: Debut Novel shares tale of lonely farm life - read here

The Scotsman: The Write Stuff - read here

Daily Telegraph: The Joy of Waving my Autistic Daughter off to University - read here

Lancashire Life: The Sad Decline of Lancashire Dairy Farms and Rural Communities & the Farm that inspired a Novel.
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Garstang Courier: Midlife success for new novelist
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Midlothian Advertiser: Family Life inspires Penicuik Author
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Sunday Mail:
Autism Made Life Hard, Bullies Made it Hell: A Mum’s Struggle with attitudes to the Condition
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The Herald:
Real Life Colours Catherine Simpson’s Debut Novel about Autism
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Lothian Life:
Truestory, Catherine Simpson
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