‘Goodnight Mr Tom’ tells the story of 8 year old Willie Beech, a evacuee from London, who has been sent for his safety to Little Weirwold, its September 1939 and Great Britain is on the brink of the Second War World. Willie is housed somewhat reluctantly by Tom Oakley, a widower following the untimely death of his wife and son from scarlet fever 40 years before. Tom is known in the village as being rude and not being part of the community, so his life is changed when Willie arrives, a small, terrified, undernourished boy, who thanks to his abusive mother has a very low opinion of himself and believes the lies his mother has told him about people in general.
Willie and Tom (or ‘Mister Tom’ as Willie calls him) connect and learn from each other, Willie learns that there are people that care for him as he develops friendships within the village and finds acceptance at school and his talent for drawing is nurtured and encouraged, Tom learns to open his heart again as he accepts Willie (or ‘William’ or ‘Will’ as he is now called) into his life, and becomes part of the community and somewhat cautiously begins to ask for help in his care of Willie.
What I thought of ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’ ~
I first read ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’ when I was teenager and I decided to read it again when I recently watched the tv adaptation of ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’ with John Thaw as Mr Tom, which I enjoyed. I also enjoyed the book the second time as much as I did the first time, this time around, I am older (and hopefully wiser) and the book meant more to me, especially the development of Willie from a frightened young boy to a happy, healthy and contented boy who has found the love he deserves and sees himself for what he is worth. Tom Oakley is a brilliant character, as with Willie, you see a change, Tom finds himself when Willie enters his life, he has not been responsible for anyone apart from his himself and then his beloved dog, Sam for 40 years but with Willie he becomes the father he never had the chance to be to his own son (who was also named William). A incredibly powerful read about family, friendships, loss and love, a book that shows that strength can be shown in different ways.
A joy to read, highly recommended.
Rating ~ 10/10
Reviewed by Weave (Paula Mc)