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Goodnight Mister Tom (1981)

by Michelle Magorian

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,341635,480 (4.29)126
Young Willie Beech is evacuated to the country as Britain stands on the brink of the Second World War. A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of old Tom Oakley, but his new found happiness is shattered by a summons from his mother back in London.
  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 126 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
When I read a book like this one, I try to imagine what my eight or ten year-old self would have thought of it. I’m pretty sure she would have loved this and read it more than once. It is beautifully written, very sweet and uplifting, and inspires kindness and a view of the world as a place that will rescue you.

William Beech is an evacuee from London during WWII, and Tom Oakley is the reclusive elderly man who has the boy foisted upon him. Will is a child who has been abused and bullied and his fear is evident almost immediately to Mr. Tom, who is a very kind man at heart. The reader witnesses the growing relationship that saves these two people, who don’t always fit with the rest of the world, as they face both everyday life and some traumatic experiences together.

I believe this would make an excellent book to read with a young person. They would learn a lot about life during WWII, you could talk about what it takes to make a family, how to overcome the difficulties life throws at you, and both of you could enjoy a good story and a fun read.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
As an ardent anglophile, I loved this wartime novel -- the setting in a small town during WWII and the slow unfurling of the characters was just delightful. I read it, initially, because someone I know is annoyed at The War That Saved My Life, and feels that it was a bad knockoff of this book. I have to say that I liked them both, for different reasons, and while they share the major plotline of an abused child benefiting from the London evacuations, I think they are very different books. This one is for a more mature audience, and confronts worse things, I think, or at least, more extreme ones. Nonetheless, a lovely idyll about love and fresh air and kindness. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
Will is an evacuee from London, living in the country away from the impending war. Will is a slight boy, severely abused by his mother, frightened of everything and unsure of his own place and self. He is assigned to live with Tom, a gruff 60-ish man who has spent the last 40 years grieving the death of his young wife and their baby. Under Mr. Tom's care and the support of the villagers, Will grows hale, hearty and confident, while Tom himself opens up from his loner ways. I was concerned at first that this would be overly sentimental but readers who enjoyed "The War That Saved My Life" may enjoy the parallel coming-of-age themes. Contemporary kids may be confused by the war references and terminology (putting up the blacks, carrying gas masks, etc.) unless they already know some background info about wartime living. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Jul 14, 2021 |
Just as great as the first time I read it. ( )
  nagshead2112 | Apr 27, 2021 |
Just as great as the first time I read it. ( )
  nagshead2112 | Apr 27, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
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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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Wikipedia in English (1)

Young Willie Beech is evacuated to the country as Britain stands on the brink of the Second World War. A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of old Tom Oakley, but his new found happiness is shattered by a summons from his mother back in London.

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140372334, 0141804041, 014132970X, 0141332255

 

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