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July 28, 2008

Good Night, Mr. Tom

Michelle Magorian – ISBN 9780064401746

This is not my usual fare. I stumbled on to it in random reading, and present it only because it is a wonderful book for adolescents, and interesting for adults. Published in 1982 by a “one book” author, it won a children’s book award in England. It is a classic of sorts, and still in print. Also a movie available from NetFlix.

The plot line is that of early WW II in England, and children were being evacuated to the countryside for their safety. Mr. Tom, a widower of many years, condescends to take in a young refugee—Willie—from the slums of London. Willie is a shy, abused, mousy little creature afraid of everything and convinced that he is worthless, friendless and irredeemable. Mr. Tom changes all of that, with a wonderful assist from the villagers of remote L’il Weirwold.

Willie becomes Will, has friends and a future, though he experiences a number of calamities along the way, including a brief return to his abusive mother.

The horrors of Will’s life are overwhelmed by the loving care of Mr. Tom and the Weirwoldians. Along the way Will learns many things about the world outside of the slums, and teaches many life lessons applicable to all young readers, as it reminds us old codgers of their continued importance.

This would be a wonderful gift for adolescent grandkids. Cheap, too.

Posted by respeto at July 28, 2008 11:42 AM