Top critical review
24 of 30 people found this helpful
Shocking in parts
on 7 May 2011
I have been reading snippets of Goodnight Mr Tom to my two children aged 8 and 9, as my partner and I take it in turns to read the bedtime story each evening. Although I think that the book is very good, and well-written, I have to mention that I was deeply shocked by the graphic portrayal of Will's abuse by his mother. The description of his condition at the beginning of the book bothered me quite a lot, and I felt so sorry for the poor little boy that my 9 year-old daughter had to put my mind at rest! I was then unfortunate enough to read the part where Will's mother lures him home under false pretences, beats him and then and then locks him in a cupboard more or less to die. He is found sometime later by Tom with a dead baby in his arms. I found this part of the book deeply shocking, and could hardly bear to continue reading it to my children as I felt that it exposed them to issues which they would not be able to comprehend at their age. I felt that the level of abuse and violence suffered by Will was gratuitous, and that the same point could have been made without him having to suffer so much. Also, the mother's sick mind was only indicated, and not fully explained, which I also found disturbing. I think that if I had read this part of the story at the age of 9 or 10, it would have worried me for a long time afterwards, and I think that the author could have shown more sensitivity to the minds of young readers. I just wondered if anybody felt the same way as me about this book.