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Tom Bedlam by George Hagen

Tom Bedlam

by George Hagen

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Showing 5 of 5
Good beginning but begins to get implausible when he moves to South Africa and the coincidences start to build up. Bit of a weak ending but nice story overall. ( )
  travel.bug | Mar 20, 2014 |
I found this a frustrating book - there are serious flaws, but also some good writing and storytelling. The first part of the book, set in Victorian England, is a struggle. The author just doesn't seem to create a Victorian world - it seems more like modern characters placed on a period set.
As an example, one character describes her delinquent son as "angry" with the world. While the boy, born in prison and taken from his mother to Australia at age 8 might have good grounds to be angry with the world, such a description is anachronistic for an era where criminality was thought to be inherited and could be identified from bumps in the head!
Later in the book, much of the narrative concerns Tom as a parent of four growing children. But some of the stories of behaviour of the children seem to be anecdotes from the personal experiences of the author. Again, while development of children may be universal and timeless, how this development is expressed in behaviour is more closely linked to the environment of the times.
But, after the faltering start, and if you can ignore the jarring notes, there is a something special hidden here. The characters grow, and the reader becomes interested in them and wants to know their outcomes. By the end, I found myself dealing with a real page turner.
This may not be a great book, but I can't help feeling that Hagen has a good book inside him.
Read January 2014. ( )
  mbmackay | Jan 11, 2014 |
Though it may not really change your life, this is an enjoyable and incredibly satisfying book that I looked forward to reading every day since I cracked open the cover. Many reviews emphasize the Dickens-like quality of it which is true, particularly for the beginning half. However, I think it's also just one of those books where you enjoy the spirit of the main protagonist throughout his entire life including both his adventures and his hardships. At the end, you feel like you know him personally, even if he never existed at all. ( )
  kirstiecat | Mar 31, 2013 |
I loved this book! At the end, I didn't want to let the characters go. Funny,sad, it had it all.
  wdw96 | Oct 14, 2007 |
After greatly enjoying Mr. Hagen's 'The Laments'I looked forward to an enjoyable read. Alas, it was not to be. The book starts as a combination of Oliver Twist, and various Horatio Alger works. Ground that has been well covered, and this book brings nothing new to the genre. The book gets worse as it goes along, with insipid writing and leaden dialog. A real bummer...

Denton ( )
  denton | Sep 17, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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My son - and what's a son? A thing begot within a pair of minutes, thereabouts. A lump bred up in darkness. - Thomas Kyd
For my three muses,
Sophie, Brooklyn, and Lola
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It is quite possible that Emily Bedlam was simply a very good woman, but to her son, Tom, she appeared insane.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In this nod to great 19th-century classics, Tom Bedlam rises above his tenement beginnings, becomes a doctor and father, and eventually must face the irresponsible father who abandoned him as a boy.

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