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Goodnight Mister Tom (1981)

by Michelle Magorian

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,054585,441 (4.3)100
A battered child learns to embrace life when he is adopted by an old man in the English countryside during the Second World War.
  1. 20
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (kiwiflowa)
    kiwiflowa: Another pre-teen book set in the same era.
  2. 10
    Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans (RoxieF)
    RoxieF: They both involve evacuees during WWII and in both books it brings out subtle changes in both evacuee and guardian.
  3. 00
    The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (2wonderY)
    2wonderY: very similar premise, also well done.
  4. 00
    The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren (Anonymous user)
  5. 11
    Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (bookel)
  6. 00
    Judgement Day by Penelope Lively (KayCliff)
  7. 00
    Kindertransport by Olga Levy Drucker (labfs39)
    labfs39: In both books, a child is sent to the English countryside for safety during WWII, and both deal with the relationships between child and caregiver. In Good night, Mr. Tom, the child is escaping the Blitz bombing in London; whereas in Kindertransport, the child is escaping Nazi Germany.… (more)
  8. 01
    A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (ramblingivy)
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» See also 100 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
Well written. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
The moving story of Tom Oakley, an old man who has been bitter and withdrawn since losing his wife and son in childbirth, and William Beech, an evacuee who has been abused by his mentally ill mother. Tom teaches Will how to read and write, and how to laugh and run, and Will draws Tom out of his shell. The tale is very dark and grim in places, but the overall story is heartwarming with a happy ending.

I had completely forgotten the last section of the book where Zach dies. So it was a real gut punch to read it this time round, especially as I thought the sad bits were over! ( )
  atreic | Feb 23, 2020 |
William Beech is the only child of an abusive mother in London. When World War II breaks out, he is shipped out, as so many children were, to small towns in the countryside, where it was deemed safer. Tom Oakley is an elderly widower, virtually a hermit, who is assigned to house and care for William. As any reader would guess, Mr. Tom, as William calls him, is good for the boy, and caring for the boy is good for Mr. Tom.
William slowly loses his fears, instilled by his mother, and Mr. Oakley starts becoming part of the community again.
There are a couple of almost shocking chapters when William is sent back to London to be with his mother for a spell, and the reader will be glad when those chapters are past. (It turns out his mother is even worse than we imagined at the beginning of the book.)
The story is well told, and filled with appealing characters in the town of Little Weirwold. The only real drawback, is Magorian didn't seem to know how to wrap up the story. The final couple of chapters seem a little apart from the rest of the rest of the story, meandering off in a different direction, now that we know where William and Mr. Oakley end up. The last sentence seems like it's supposed to be a definitive moment defining the theme of the book, but doesn't really seem to represent much of anything the book was about.
All in all, excellent book; I recommend it. But the conclusion does fall a little flat. ( )
1 vote fingerpost | Oct 1, 2019 |
This award-winning children's novel published in 1981 has been read and enjoyed by generations of children since. It tells the heart-warming story of a small boy, William Beech, who is evacuated to the country village of Little Weirwold just before the outbreak of the Second World War. He is billetted with a withdrawn elderly widower Tom Oakley. Despite their differences, Tom comes to care for his young charge, who, it emerges, has been beaten and abused by his fanatically religious widowed mother. At one point, the mother uses a ruse to lure the boy back to London, but all comes good in the end for young Will and Tom. The book deals with serious themes, child abuse and war, yet carries a lightness of touch with many happy scenes in the village and surrounding countryside. If I had one criticism, the book is perhaps slightly too long for its content, but that, I acknowledge, is being rather picky and I am reading it as an adult, not its main target audience. A great read. ( )
  john257hopper | Jun 4, 2019 |


I just re-read this title with a small group of 8th graders, and while I still enjoyed the loving descriptions of country life and its salutary effects, I was a little disappointed in its reliance on Will's near superhuman ability to surmount the horrors of child abuse & wartime loss. That said, the kids really enjoyed it &, to them the relatively easy resolutions did not seem tired or unrealistic. We all agreed that it made good auxiliary reading to their study of WWII in Europe, as it takes place at the periphery. ( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
To My Father
First words
"Yes," said Tom bluntly, on opening the door. "What d'you want?"
Quotations
(in hospital, Willie is sedated) "Why?" "To stop him from screaming." "Mebbe he needs to."
(nightmare scream) It sounded like a baby crying in despair, an old forgotten scream that must have been swallowed down years before.
Zach swayed gently saying the few Hebrew prayers that he remembered. It comforted him to sing the strange gutteral sounds. It was like uttering a magical language that would make everything alright.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the book; do not combine with the film/movie.
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Average: (4.3)
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1 4
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3.5 8
4 120
4.5 27
5 192

Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140372334, 0141804041, 014132970X, 0141332255

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