Friday 28 February 2014

Book Review - Goodnight Mister Tom

Title: Goodnight Mister Tom
Author: Michelle Magorian
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date:12 Sep 2003
ISBN-13: 978-0140315417

The gruff and surly Mr Thomas Oakley is less than pleased when he is landed with a scrawny little city boy as a guest, but because it is compulsory that each villager takes in an evacuee he reluctantly agrees. It soon becomes obvious to Mister Tom that young Willie Beech is hiding something, and as the pair begin to form an unlikely bond and Willie grows in stature and in confidence he begins to forget the past. But when he has to return to war-torn London to face his mother again he retreats into his shy and awkward ways once more.

My Review
This book was recommended to me by my boyfriend who said I would enjoy it. I never really went for books with war stories in them as I found them quite depressing but over the last few years my tastes have changed a bit, and as he assured me it was a good story I decided to give it a go and I am glad I did. I found myself really enjoying this book and that I couldn't put it down. I wanted to know more about young Willie Beech and the mysterious Mister Tom. 
Willie is sent to the country as an evacuee, all the residents have to take in a child and he is placed with Mr Tom Oakley, a bit of a recluse. No one seems to know much about him as he mostly keeps to himself. But Willie helps to draw Mr Tom out of his shell and Mr Tom works wonders with Willie too. Willie has been badly treated by his mum and is a very shy, quiet and frightened little boy when he arrives at Tom's house, but he soon breaks out of his shell and under his care the pair grow and develop. 
I really liked the growing relationship between Will and Tom, the understanding and care between them, and the way they both start to see value in themselves through each other. Will's new friends are great too and really bring the story to life, Zach is a laugh, Carrie had me routing for her all the way through. 
The book does deal with some very difficult issues - obviously war which then brings the view of death, grief and danger, then there is also the child abuse Willie suffers from his mum, this book can be quite dark in places and would maybe not be suitable for children under thirteen (despite the fact the main character is 9, but it actually works quite well), as certain parts may upset a younger/more fragile reader.
The setting is very well portrayed and I could completely visualise Little Wierwold and it's surrounding area. The characters really come to life and the storyline will have you hooked. 
I am glad I read it and am looking to watch the film too which I have heard fabulous things about. Overall it is a very sweet and heart-warming story.

My Rating

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