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Coram Boy [Paperback]

Jamila Gavin
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 May 2004

A vivd, compelling and harrowing tale from Whitbread award winning Jamila Gavin.

The Coram man takes babies and money from desperate mothers, promising to deliver them safely to a Foundling Hospital in London. Instead, he murders them and buries them by the roadside, to the helpless horror of his mentally ill son, Mish.

Mish saves one, Aaron, who grows up happily unaware of his history, proving himself a promising musician.  As Aaron's new life takes him closer to his real family, the watchful Mish makes a terrible mistake, delivering Aaron and his best friend Toby back into the hands of the Coram man.



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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Egmont; New edition edition (6 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405212829
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405212823
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 13.9 x 16.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Eighteenth-century England is the setting for Jamilla Gavin's sweeping saga of growing-up, struggle, tradition and corruption. From an acorn of an idea about a real-life good Samaritan of yesteryear, the author has crafted a satisfying, if occasionally painful, novel that spans the lives of several fortunate and unfortunate young people of the day.

The author has researched her backdrop very well, and the atmospheric sights and sounds of the time are both vivid and captivating. Readers will smell the dirty streets and close-living of urban London, revel in the summer splendour of the finest country houses and then flinch when the harshness of life for the poorest souls is revealed in uncomfortable detail.

For in the late 1700s your circumstance of birth meant everything. Toby and Aaron may both find themselves living at Captain Thomas Coram's Hospital for parentless children, but their histories are as far apart as they could possibly be. Toby has been rescued from a life of slave labour in a faraway country; Aaron is the illegitimate son of the heir to a large country estate. They are watched over by Mish--a simple soul who has been with them since their arrival. His devotion to them is absolute, but his motives are not altogether straightforward. Could this curious man really be Meshak, the son of a wicked child-killer who was hanged at the gallows for his crimes?

Coram Boy is a glorious web of changing fortunes and subtle intrigues. There is tragedy and corruption, hope and evil. Sometimes brutal and sometimes unceasingly bleak, the genre of historical fiction has rarely been this good. It's undoubtedly the kind of book that wins awards. (Age 12 and over) --John McLay --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jamila Gavin was born in India to teacher parents and by the age of eleven she had lived in an Indian palace in the Punjab, a flat in a bombed out street in Shepherd's Bush, a bungalow in Poona, near Mumbai and a terraced house in Ealing.

Coram Boy won the 2000 Whitbread Children's Book of the Year, was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and has been adapted into a highly acclaimed stage play.  Her other novels include The Surya Trilogy, Danger By Moonlight and The Robber Baron's Daughter. 



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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, if a bit coincidental. 20 Oct 2001
By A Customer
I was amazed top see that someone had posted a review claiming this book wasn't suitable for children. I am 12, I loved this book, and I have a nine year old sister who, although some of it went over her head, also thought it was brilliant! The parts that included dying babies were dealt with with sympathy, compassion and great care, although, yes, they were moving. The first half is about Meshak Gardiner, a 'simpleton' and son of a baby trader and peddlar; Alexander Ashbrook, a musical genius who leaves home because his father won't comtinue to allow him to train as a musician; Thomas Ledbury, Alexander's companion at Gloucester cathedral; and Melissa Milcote, who Alexander falls in love with.
The second part is about Meshak, now a man known as Mish, Alexander's son Aaron, and Toby, Aaron's friend at the Coram hospital. When Mr Gaddarn (who has another name- that person presumed dead) puts Toby to work in his house as 'a little black puppy' for the nobles to play with, Toby finds out he is shipping Coram children away as slaves and hareem girls. Aaron was apprenticed out to Mr Burney, a musician, because he shares his father's amazing musical talent, and he and Toby try to stop this. I was choked at the end... The only thing about this book I wasn't sure of was the coincidences, and the way everyone connected up. It was a very small world indeed! But Jamila Gavin made them make sense, at least. Read it, whatever your other tastes are- and if you are a parent, don't worry because any sensible, intelligent child of nine or above, or even eight, will be moved but certainly not disturbed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book that you'll love 26 May 2004
I thought this book was great. It started slowly and took a while to get into the main story but once it got going I couldn’t put it down. It won the Whitbread Children’s Book Award and I am not surprised, it definitely deserved it.
The tale is expertly told to keep the readers interest and to make ‘The Coram Boy’ a real page turner. I would say that readers of all ages would enjoy this moving and eventful book. It is a unique story set in the 1700’s, beautifully crafted by Jamila Gavin to maintain your interest and create a vivid image of life in those times.
I would recommend this book to anyone, for an entertaining and amazingly well written novel. I loved the way the book takes two strands that tie up as you go through the book. ‘The Coram Boy’ takes you on a journey through the struggles of young people in the 1700’s and really sucks you into their world. It makes for a great read, I know you’ll enjoy it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coram Boy Review 30 Jun 2004
By A Customer
We read this novel as part of a group-reading task at school. Coram Boy combines many connecting storylines. The story may be, in the beginning, difficult to get into and, at times, may not hold your interest but the story soon picks up pace and comes alive. This book has many interesting characters that come from very different backgrounds. Meshak is a disturbed child who suffers nightmares after being forced to bury rich women's illegitimate children alive in ditches by his cruel father, Otis. The future Lord Ashbrook, Alexander, is a passionate, musical genius whose talent is not appreciated by his father. Aaron is the illegitimate son of Alexander and his childhood sweetheart, Melissa. The characters' complicated lives meet up through different points of the story. This book is worth reading as it helps you understand how life was for children from different backgrounds in the 1700s.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Coram' read it! 30 Jun 2004
By A Customer
Coram boy is an intricate tapestry of intertwined lives, set in the gothic time period. It appeals to a huge variety of people, due to its superb range of characters and situations. From the misunderstood Meshak, to star-crossed lovers Alex and Melissa. It evokes a cacophony of emotions, from pity and anger to extreme joy. You find yourself swept along with the characters and instantly absorbed into the story.
Coram Boy begins with the disturbing tale of Meshak and his cruel father, Otis. The troubled Meshak is burying crying bundles in ditches under the command of his overbearing father. This is swiftly contrasted by the switch to Alexander's lavish life style as he holidays with his choral friend Thomas. Here we are introduced to the book's main female characters; sister Isobel and the angelic Melissa. As the plot continues, we begin to discover links between the two stories which are pulled closer together as time goes by.
Although confusing at times, Coram Boy is an intriguing and compelling novel. One which we would recommend everybody to read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I read Coram Boy as part of a review of modern children's literature, with the prospect of devising a unit of work for S1 and S2. The novel is a fascinating story with colourful characters both admirable and darkly menacing.
Jamila Gavin has used historical fact as the basis for her tale of abandoned children, slavery, love and greed. The novel is recommended for children of 12 years and above and I felt that it would be a challenging read for 11-13 year olds. The story itself is fairly complex and draws many elements and thematic threads together at the end. The language the author uses is rich and she makes use of a wide range of figurative language adding to the complexity of character, setting and tone.
This novel is fast paced and continually pulls the reader in and forces one to read on. The main characters are children themselves, adding to the appeal. The characters are very individual and sit well against each other. The most alluring aspect of the novel is, of course, its emotional strengths. The author deals with themes such as slavery, murder and deceit which while fascinating and enticing to read, also gives pause for thought and provides a good basis for group discussion.
The only criticism I would have about this novel is the ending, which I felt was slightly too tight and explicit. However, I found it an interesting and compelling read for an audience of all ages!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it
Good condition
Published 3 days ago by collette
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Took a bit of getting into but lovely storyline.
Published 13 days ago by Julesta
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
Good books & well worth the read
Published 1 month ago by Mr. N. Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars Brii
Amazing book. A must read for 13 plus. Adults really will find so much in it. 18 th century Britain and how foundling children were treated and how the rich and poor lived; their... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kathryn Dymoke
4.0 out of 5 stars Junior Dickens
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found it very moving - although I hated the Hollywood ending.... It was just like Dickens, with strong well drawn characters, lots of emotion and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ian Ballantyne
5.0 out of 5 stars Coram Boy is amazing!
5/5 what an incredible book! The whole story will blow you away with the characters and the plots, so good to learn about the 17th century history as well! Read more
Published 7 months ago by Megan
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
A brilliant book with a great story line, it's a must read for children aged ten to fifteen. I loved it
Published 7 months ago by Katie Shepherd
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad story but a must read
Couldn't put it down , I hope I can find another read as gripping as this . Three more words required
Published 14 months ago by jessica
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
I got this book as it is on the reading list for my university Childhood Literature course. As soon as I started reading it, I was hooked. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Exhausted
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I recommended this to my mother. I love the way it is a gripping story set in a very historically plausible setting.
Published 16 months ago by L. Best-Shaw
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Good book like Coram boy (Jamila Gavin) , but for a 7 yr old 0 31 Jan 2011
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