Good Night, Mr Tom

Michelle Magorian

I read this book because one of my best ever friends told me it was her fav book of all time. she may have been exaggerating as anyone who reads as much as she does is unlikely to have an absolute best book. It would be like having a favourite child – easy when you have one, not so easy when you have hundreds.

And I have to thank her – cos I probably would never have found this book on my own.

This book I would put alongside The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – don’t let the ease of reading or gentle story-telling technique lure you into believing it is a simple, gentle story.

Good Night, Mr Tom is, I think, a very sad story even though it has a happy ending, all things considered. It may be fiction but it is probably the almost true story of many of the children evacuated from London to the country during WWII.

The characters are pretty thin really, but it doesn’t matter. because they do not need to be deep and rounded to tell the story. The story is not about them but about emotions and love and hope. and sadness – lots of sadness all over the place.

Abused little Willie arrives in the countryside in winter with canvas plimsols, a thin jersey and sewn into his underwear – if that does not get you wanting to wrap your arms around the mite then you are not really human. Grumpy Mr Tom gets him dropped at his front door and so begins a beautiful love story which rescues both of these souls from a really crap future. But of course nothing is as simple as it could be and twists and turns do flesh the story out somewhat.

I did like this little book – and Zach haunts me a little.