Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian
Published in 1981
Genre: Children’s historical novel
Setting: Little Weirworld, England during World War 2
- William Beech – an evacuee from Deptford London, abused by his mother
- Tom Oakley – widow and very private man
- Zach Wrench – an evacuee, Will’s best friend and an entertainer
- Carrie – Will’s friend, one of the twins, very kind and very smart girl, she wanted a change for her life
- Ginnie -Will’s friend, one of the twins, very kind and very nature loving, she prefers to become a successful wife
- George – one of Will’s friend, very sarcastic young lad
- Sammy – Tom’s dog and companion
England is engaging herself to war and children were sent to countryside for safety. One of which is William Beech. He was sent to Mr. Tom Oakley in Little Weirworld where he was taken care of. Will was abused by his mother in London and was really terrified. Tom was a widow and quite unhappy until he accepted Will in his home. Will learned how to read and to write, to paint and to draw, to trust and to make friends. Will grew out of his shell and saw the world in a very different perspective.
He made good friends in the countryside and was able to experience to become a boy. He shared his memories with Zach, George, Carrie and Ginnie.
Zach was his best friend and means a lot to him. Zach grew up with his parents who are actors and learned to entertain himself. He seems to be different from the rest for he read a lot of books.
‘I’m going to entertain the world,’ he announced grandly, and then he blushed at his own arrogance.” (Spooky Cott)
He died when he went back to London to see his parents during the bombing leaving Will grieving for his death.
“Better to accept, than pretend that he never existed,’ he said quietly.” (Grieving)
“He felt again Zach’s presence next to him, felt him staring up at the starry night and coming out with some strange fragment of poetry.” (Grieving)
Carrie and Ginnie are the same in a lot of ways but Carrie wanted more. She wanted to see a change for herself. She dreamed of studying in high school was able to achieve it herself.
“I’d rather be happy and odd than miserable and ordinary,’ she said, sticking her chin in the air.” (New Beginnings)
An abusive mother, Mrs. Beech, requested Will to come home for she was ill. Weeks gone by and no news about the child, Mr. Tom went to London to seek for him. They found him almost dead.
“The small alcove stank of stale urine and vomit. A thin emaciated boy with matted hair and skin like parchment was tied to a length of copper piping. He held a small bundle in his arms. His scrawny limbs were covered with sores and bruises and he sat in his own excrement. He shrank at the light from the torch and made husky gagging noises.” (Rescue)
Mr. Tom kidnapped him for the authorities won’t let him take Will. He brought him home in Little Weirworld where they started a new life. Eventually, Tom adopted him and become a father to Will.
- “Do you think,’ said Will, gazing over the wall at the oak tree, ‘do you think you can die of happiness?’
Carrie looked at him puzzled.
‘It’s jest that I feel as if I’m going to burst and that, if I did, there’d be bits of me all over this field.” (Postscript)
- “Takes yer time, everythin’ ’as its own time.” (Grieving)
- “How romantic to be stuck in bed with a fever. Rather like Keats, or Elizabeth Barrett Browning or the Brontë sisters.’ (Recovery)
You may download an ePub copy of this book here. Enjoy! x