Cover Detail of Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

Good morning from (and I whisper this) a sunny North Yorkshire. I'm a bit later today as we have just had a check up at the Dentists before getting ready for the Bank Holiday which will involve family, a visit down South and lots of Hattie cuddles in the meantime. Hattie had an interesting week. A poorly tummy and shivering meant an urgent trip to the vets. The next day we discovered the cause of said poorly tummy - 3 large elastic bands. As our vet said Hattie is a terrier, so will pick everything up from the floor that she can. And she has ninja like speed. Needless to say we are watching her like a hawk.

Read my Review of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis

I love a week off. It's a chance to think and reflect on things, where you are going and what you have done. If I'm honest I have been thinking of this dear blog and what to do with it. I am one of those people guilty of putting quite a bit of pressure on myself. I love sharing wonderful reads, but have felt I must review 2 books a week and I can't sustain this at the moment. Plus it's nice to not feel I have to review on a Tuesday or a Friday.

The blog was a means of sharing a bit of life stuff, enjoying a bit of writing and letting you know about books I have loved. And I only want those books on here that I would happily buy for a friend and say 'read this, it is amazing'. So I'm going to use this week to have a think, a play and ultimately a rest. But today I do have one of those books that I would happily give to a friend with that 'it's amazing' gift tag.

Read my Review of The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

On another quick note, I am 3 episodes into the Dark is Rising serialisation on BBC sounds and it is amazing. I have even gone as far as downloading the music on Spotify. Please do check it out. It's well worth a listen!

The Plot

As Britain stands on the brink of the Second World War, young Willie Beech is evacuated from London to the safety of a country village, Little Weirwold. A frightened and neglected boy, he is billeted at the cottage where Tom Oakley, a grumpy recluse has lived on his own for forty years.
Gradually under Tom's gruff care, Will begins to flourish and make friends, with the children in the village. But his new found happiness is shattered by an unexpected summons from his mother to return home to war-torn London, and Will is left to face the prospect of never seeing Mister Tom again.

My Thoughts

There was a moment during the reading of this when I turned to my husband and said that I was enjoying this book so much because it reminded me of my childhood. Whilst I did not grow up in the war, instead I am a late 1970's, early 1980's child, I did grow up in the country. There were so many parts that reminded me of this, time spent with my friends, playing at each other's houses, bicycle adventures and taking picnics to eat in fields made up of salad cream sandwiches and orange squash. This is a wonderful ode to the countryside and childhood, but set against a backdrop of war.

The juxtaposition of war and happy memories make the sad parts even more poignant. Subjects such as the Blitz remind us of the incredible spirit in the country as a whole. In this book Tom takes in a child evacuee just as many other homes opened their doors to children sent to live in the safer country.

The novel also tackles some difficult issues. Will's mother is exceptionally troubled, and is a fanatic about sin and wickedness, leading Will to be horribly neglected when he returns to London to see his mother. It is Tom who saves him, unhappy with the lack of contact and concerned that something is terribly wrong.

Indeed this novel is about 2 individuals who save each other. Tom, a recluse, mourning the death of his wife learns to join in again and become part of the village community. Will learns how to be a child and ultimately that happiness is not a sin.

Please do not think that this book is depressing, it'a actually wonderful and uplifting especially watching Tom and Will heal. I felt I was watching a genuine child's life, instead of a child through the viewpoint of an adult. It's well-written, moving and delightful. It fully deserves it's place at 49 on the BBC Big Read List.

Read all about the BBC Big-Read Re-Read

As I say I would be happy to gift this to a friend and be safe in the knowledge that they would love it. A full 5 stars from me.