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Thursday's Children by Rumer Godden

Thursday's Children (1984)

by Rumer Godden

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1765101,775 (4.29)43



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Showing 4 of 4
This was a beautifully written book with so realistic characters. Took me long time to read but was worth every effort. ( )
  Eloisef | Mar 26, 2014 |
A similarity in title and theme had led me to suppose, looking back after all these many years, that this book was written by Noel Streatfeild, an English writer best known in the United States as the author of the "Shoes" books. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when a recent online conversation helped me to realize that Rumer Godden, another English author whose work I admire, was the one responsible for this wonderful children's novel...

The story of Doone Penny, a young boy who longs to study ballet like his older sister, Thursday's Children is a moving portrait of a sensitive and artistic child, and his journey of self-discovery. Ridiculed for his desire to pursue such an "unmanly" occupation, discouraged by his jealous sister and mother, and abused by his father, Doone quickly discovers that pursuing a dream - particularly one that sets you apart - comes at a high cost.

It has been more than twenty years since I read Godden's novel, which is named for the famous nursery rhyme: "Monday's child is fair of face, Tuesday's child is full of grace, Wednesday's child is full of woe, Thursday's child has far to go." But despite the passage of time, I can still remember the poignant sense of loneliness that it conjured up, just as the feeling of terror, evoked by the scene in which Doone is beaten by his father, has stayed with me to this day. I think it may have been my first exposure to the tragedy of child abuse. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jul 3, 2013 |
This is one of my all-time favourite books.

To be honest, I also enjoy the cliches of the children's dancing school books. But this is far beyond them. The various emotions in the family, the sexual awakening of Crystal, the intensity of Doone are all aimed at the adult reader. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Apr 20, 2013 |
I watched "Billy Elliot" again recently and it made me want to reread the book I think of as the kinder, gentler, "Billy Elliot": Rumer Godden’s Thursday’s Children.

Originally published in 1984 as an adult novel, you most often see it suggested for the 10 – 14 cohort, which I think is probably appropriate, although I was older than that when I first read it. It’s the tale of Doone Penny, the youngest child in the family of a London greengrocer, unwanted by his mother and firmly in the shadow of his older sister, Crystal. Their mother wants Crystal to be a dancer; Doone tags along to her lessons. Doone quickly discovers he wants to dance, but will he be given the chance?

Thursday’s Children does a nice job of stressing how much hard work and dedication go into becoming professional ballet dancer and how children who follow that path give up any chance of a regular childhood – willingly.

I enjoy reading this book. If Doone is a little too perfect, well, I’m willing to forgive it; this is a warm, fuzzy read.
2 vote Dejah_Thoris | Jan 6, 2013 |
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Book description
Doone Penny is a child with a gift - he was born to dance. But though others recognise his talent, there is little encouragement from his family. His mother preens over his pretty sister, Crystal, also a dancer, but fiercely competitive and vain. Doone's father would never allow a son of his to have ballet lessons, and his brothers think he's a sissy.

But Doone has passion and ambition beyond his years, and knows he can succeed, if only he is given the chance. If he can make it into Queen's Chase, Her Majesty's Junior Ballet School, he'll show them all . . .
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As he tags along to his spoiled sister's ballet classes, Doone discovers and develops his own rare and special talents.

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