A book review: Goodnight Mister Tom

TITLE: Goodnight Mister Tom

AUTHOR: Michelle Magorian



Set against the backdrop of the Second World War, Goodnight Mister Tom tells the tale of William Beech, a young boy evacuated from his home in London to a small village in the country. William is a quiet and withdrawn young boy who is afraid of everything, including the old man (Tom Oakley), whom he is placed with. However, as time goes on Willie discovers Tom to be both kind and gentle and he thrives in his care. In return he gives Tom a new lease of life. Their newfound happiness is not to last however when a summons arrives from Willie’s mother demanding his immediate return to London. The weeks pass by and Tom hears nothing from Willie, so he sets out on a dangerous journey to track him down. Will he find him before it’s too late?

Related post – A book review: The Bunker Diary


I can’t remember what age I was when I first read this book but I do know I was pretty young! I loved it then and I still love it now. It’s a favourite of mine! I hate to sound cliched but it really is one of those books that has it all. There is pain, despair, grief, danger, hope, and love…I could go on but I think you get the idea.

Both Willie and Tom are loveable characters, and I found myself rooting for them from the very first read of this book. This hasn’t changed with each subsequent read, in fact I adore them both more and more each time I pick this one up. To balance this there is William’s mother. As much as her struggles are laid bare, her abuse of poor Willie is unforgivable…she is definitely the villain of the piece! In fact every character is so well formed and thought out that they all elicit an emotional response, whether good or bad, and this is a real strength which drives the plot forward.

Goodnight Mister Tom is an emotional read, one of those stories that will have you crying with both sadness and joy and I can’t recommend it enough! But then you probably guessed that by now from how much I have been gushing over it already!

Related post – A book review: Matilda

A quick side note…definitely check out the TV adaptation if you haven’t already. In my opinion it really does the book justice and the performances of both John Thaw (Tom) and Nick Robinson (Willie) will tug at your heart, they’re fantastic!


Perfect for older children and adults alike, there isn’t anything negative that I can say about this one. As you can see from the picture, my copy is pretty worn out now, but it’s well loved and well read. Maybe I should treat myself to a new one but I have quite an attachment to my current one, even if it has seen better days. If you ever need a reminder that for all the bad in this world there is plenty of good to be found then this book will provide it for you! If you haven’t read it then I advise picking up a copy straightaway, I’m confident that it will live up to all the hype of this review.


Related post – Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry: a book that had a lasting impact on me

Have you read Goodnight Mister Tom? What did you think about it? If you haven’t read it do you think that you will? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!

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Until the next time…Jess x


6 thoughts on “A book review: Goodnight Mister Tom

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