This book is very intense but a good read. It is about evacuees from the London area because WWII was beginning. This particular town is painted different than most during this era. The people are nice and giving. If anyone does misuse the children they are put out for it! The major characters meet each other and both are not too sure of the other. It tells the story of a lost soul bringing healing to another lost soul. There are some intense and disgusting scenes but when you come out on the other side it is worth it! I don't recommend this book for anyone under the age of 12 or 13.
This book is a fantastic read. The characters are so real that your heart goes out to Willie as he is placed in a bachelors home for awhile because of the bombing in London, England. Mr. Tom is a treasure and we're glad that that Willie and Mr. Tom's lives intersect. It changes both their lives forever. I treasure this book; we read it together as a family.
This is such a fantastic book. I read this book in middle school. Others have said this book is "intense" and that is the only good word for it. Willie has a very abusive mother, and there are some scenes that can be only described as intense. This book is so wonderfully written that my heart breaks again when I even think of picking it up for another read. Mr. Tom is a gruff old man who wants to be left alone, but he opens up and becomes the best kind of caretaker for Willie. I can't recommend this book enough, but it might not be the best book for anyone under 13 or so, because it has really intense and heart wrenching scenes, but it is so worth the read at the end.
Wonderful story. I loved it.
What a lovely book - very poignant and the voices are well written and believable.
I actually saw the movie several years before I read the book. This is one of those classics, a book one acquires extra copies of to share as meaningful gifts. Within the first few pages the author had a firm grip on my heartstrings and kept tugging throughout the story until my heart absolutely broke.
In pre-WW2 England, hundreds of children were evacuated from London and re-distributed throughout the English countryside in an effort to keep them safe from German bombing. Willie Beech, an abused 9-year-old boy, finds himself in the charge of Tom Oakley in Little Weirwold. Tom, a gruff old widower, has been grieving the death of his young wife and infant son for 40 years. He is doing his national duty,' though, by accepting Willie into his house, which is near a church. The proximity of the church is a particular stipulation of his mother, who is a religious fanatic as well as being mentally unstable. When Willie arrives in Little Weirwold he is weak and timorous, sporting bodily evidence of ferocious beatings with the brown leather strap which is included in his knapsack. His mother regularly beats Willie because he is an inherently "bad boy." The strap, viewed with repugnance by Tom, is, to Willie's amazement, swiftly disposed of and never seen again. Tom cares for Willie as he recovers his health, teaching the boy what it means to be a happy healthy child. This experience serves the double purpose of healing Mr. Tom's emotional wounds as well. The two form a bond that runs very deep.
Six months later, Willie's mom sends for him to return to London and the separation from not only Tom but the entire village of Little Weirwold is heart-rending. Time passes and Tom receives no response to letters he has sent Willie in London to keep in touch. Instinctively, Tom knows that all is not well, and indeed something is dreadfully wrong. With his amazing dog Sammy, Tom makes the long journey to London arriving in the midst of much confusion and bombing by German planes. Tom and Sammy do find Willie, and in the nick of time it would seem.
His mother has disappeared, having completely lost her mind, leaving Willie chained inside a tiny closet in the squalid apartment. He has been there for days with no food or water, clutching the body of his baby sister who died of starvation while Willie held her. Willie is covered with bruises and sores, emotionally shocked beyond reason. Tom gently brings him out of the closet and stays by his side as medical help arrives. As Tom is not a relative and therefore without rights as far as Willie's care is concerned, he must resort to kidnapping to rescue the boy from admittance to an institutional Children's Home. Tom whisks Willie home to Little Weirwold and slowly, so slowly, brings him back from the horror-filled depths to which he has sunk.
Although a classic children's story, Good Night, Mr. Tom has much to offer readers of any age: lessons in life, love, loss, death and above all the horrors of child abuse. It is a worthwhile glimpse into pre-WW2 England, country and city, and what the miracle of love can achieve.
I have been a reader for most of my life and this book has moved me greatly. The changes that occur in an old grouchy man and a young abused child when love is shared is so genuine.
So touching that I nearly missed a Doctor appointment while sitting in the waiting room...and I will never list this book in the book club as it will be too touching to release.
I hope you will read it and experience what I have felt while reading this book.
Good Reading to you!
WWII, London, the children are being evacuated to the countryside for their safety, though many are to become no more than unpaid servants, some abused. But this story is about Willie Beech, an abused child of a crazy, religious fanatic mother. He is taken in by a farmer, Mr Tom, a reluctant caretaker who comes to turn young Willie's life around, give him hope and love that he never had. He comes to know friendships, the compassion of neighbors, a kind school teacher who helps him catch up to his peers. Then unexpectedly, Willie is sent back to his mother for what is supposed to be just a short visit. His torture is worse than before he left, his mother deeper into her twisted mind. Of course, Mr. Tom, and others, know something is wrong and go after Willie, rescuing him in a truly heartwrenching scene, of which there are many in this treasure of a book.
This was a true pleasure to read. I think it highlights the value of friendship and love.
This book was on my son's Book Bee List at school.