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A Spoonful of Jam (Mammoth read) Paperback – 1 Oct 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Mammoth; New edition edition (1 Oct. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749736283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749736286
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 167,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michelle was born in 1947 in Portsmouth, Hampshire of a Welsh mother and Irish father with an Armenian Surname! Michelle Spent her toddler years in Singapore and two-and-a-half years (aged 7-9) in Australia. In between times, up to the age of eighteen, she lived in Portsmouth.

She was educated at Kilbreda college, Mentone (Victoria, Australia) and the Covent of the Cross, Waterlooville, Hampshire.

Michelle trained for the theatre at The Rose Bruford College of speech and drama in Kent from 1968to 1969. It was while there that she started writing regulary.

From 1969-1970 she was a mime student at Marcel Marceau's L'Ecole International de Mime in Paris. Since then Michelle has worked in theatre, television and films and has an established reputation as a comedienne, performing in plays and musicals. Michelle also toured with her one woman mime show in Italy and England.

Michelle's first novel Goodnight Mister Tom grew out of two short stories. She wrote the book in between acting jobs and on Sunday when she was working in the theatre. Goodnight Mister Tom was first published in the UK in 1981 it has won numerous awards including the Guardian Children's Fiction Award (for full list of awards please see Bibliography). The book has sold in excess of 1.2 MILLION copies in the UK alone and has been published in Denmark, USA, Japan, Holland, Sweden, Finland, France and Germany. The 1998 BAFTA award-winning TV film of the book starring John Thaw attracted 14 MILLION viewers.

Just Henry is Michelle's first novel in over 10 years. In this gripping mystery-thriller, the story of a boy struggling to understand his identity, is beautifully woven with a vivid picture of the social prejudices, culture and atmosphere of late 1940s Britain.
Since publishing in May 2008 it has won the Children's Book category for the Costa Book Award, shortlisted for the Lancashire Children's book award, shortlisted for the Essex Children's Book award and nominated for the Carnegie Medal.

Product Description

Amazon Review

By the author of Goodnight Mr Tom, this is a heart-warming story of a young girl growing up in the immediate post-war era. For Elsie, though, the fighting isn't over. Not only does she have to cope with the indifference of her father, himself adjusting to family life after the war, she also has to run the gauntlet of a vicious bully and cope with being a scholarship girl at the local grammar school. Through her work with the local repertory theatre, Elsie's confidence slowly grows and she finds herself able to confront all her demons.

This is the rich and dramatic story of a young girl who manages to overcome many obstacles in her attempts to lead a normal life. Michelle Magorian's great strength is her ability to understand both the vulnerabilities and the strengths of her characters, and to imbue even the most distressing events with elements of humour and warmth. --Philippa Reece --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"'The author has a wonderful gift for hanging a richly woven tapestry around an essentially simple frame.' Times Education Supplement."

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Pimlico1983 on 19 July 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is thoughtful and well-written. I read it on holiday, having picked it up as a last-minute impulse for an 'easy read' on the beach. It's a rites-of-passage book up to a point, but the depth within is conjured up in the author's description (running throughout the book) of just how shattering war, in this case, the Second World War, can be. Men returned as strangers to their young families; children and fathers having to get to know each other afresh, (not to mention their wives). In many cases not often understanding (or even liking) each other much. Rationing continued for approx. 7 years after this book was set and is dealt with as a skilful aside. Bullying does play an introductory part of the story, but its overall tone is one of hope, friendship and independence, in times that are hard to imagine now. If you want a gentle read, where there are really no unpleasant characters(even that pesky bully of a girl), that is well written for both children and adults to enjoy, then give this a go - it is a rare author who can satisfy most ages within one book. (I also have to disagree with a previous reviewer who stated that this book should be for readers 15+ years old+ - what nonsense - any intelligent young reader could cope with this book, if mature enough, from 10/11 years old upwards). And I shall be passing my copy on to my goddaughters - (aged 10 and 12).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
I loved this book because it showed how a girl not much older then me, was able to fend off bullies, discover more about her family and find a successful refuge in the theatre. This is a gripping story, which shows how poor people cope with poverty.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By abi on 31 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book tells the story of Elsie, a young girl who has to put up with the neglect of her father, living in poverty and terrible bullying from school. These themes seem modern enough, but the fact that the story is set in post- war Britain makes it even more poignant. Even at a time when girls were inferior to boys, Elsie rises above all the pressures and Magorian displays a huge amount of charisma in the young girl.
For those who aren't interested in theatre- don't worry, neither was I until I'd finished it! It will leave you with a feel-good factor and wanting more- and probably with tears running down your cheeks at the happy ending!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 April 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was great I enjoyed every minute of it from begining to end.If your my age (13) you'll probably think that it's a load of rubbish if I told you in was set shortly after the war but that's simply not true this was the best book I ever read I felt I knew the chracters and imagined I was there and if you enjoyed this book you'll enjoy 'CUCKOO IN THE NEST' which is about her brother, Ralph and his ampition to be an actor. I'm just hoping now that Michelle will bring out some more incredible books!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ceri Butcher on 11 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
A Spoonful of Jam is a great book. Michelle Magorian is an excellent writer. I liked this book because I feel that I am a bit like Elsie. One of my favourite characters is Ralph because he decides to be different and become an actor. I feel that I am there listening to the conversations between Annie Duncan and Elsie or Elsie's mother and father. I could hardly put this book down, its one of the best books that I have read. My mum enjoyed it too!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Nov. 1999
Format: Paperback
A Spoonful of Jam is the moving story of Elsie. It takes place two years after The War has ended, 1947, and families are still suffering badly from its effects. This dramatic book concentrates on family life and how it changes Elsie. She is fighting against the coldness and disregard of her father, a spiteful bully at school and being the scholarship girl at the Girls' Grammar School. But during this hard time in her life Elsie develops a passion for acting, a passion that leads her away from her unhappiness. This book is a fantastic read providing an unpredictable storyline and an understanding of the characters that no one but Michelle Magorian could produce.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is deliteful to read, I assure you I have read it well over 5 times! I came across this book after reading Michelle Magorians book 'Goodnight Mr.Tom' which I also recomend as a great read. Elsie fights a war aginst bullies her father ignoring her and discrimination but in the end comes out on top this book has inspired me to read more work by Michelle and I am sure I will enjoy them as much as 'A Spoonful Of Jam'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. H. on 12 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read the book over 3 days and I know it is one that I will read again. Not sure what age it is aimed at but i'm in my 40's and thoroughly enjoyed it. Will be passing on to my neices who are more than half my age, and know they will enjoy it as much as i did
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