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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 22 June 2001
This moving and fascinating story gives a vivid image of Britain in the 1940s. A story of one boy's fight to reach his dream along with all the sacrifices and humiliations he must experience to get there. He suffers the humiliation of failure and the joys of success. A roller-coaster of emotions, this story takes the reader inside the head of the characters and as the story progresses the reader can familiarise more and more with the characters.
The title of the book makes the point of how much Ralph, the main character, stands out from the rest of his family. During the war he was evacuated to Cornwall where he stayed with an old vicar in a rectory. There he went to grammar school and earned himself a School Certificate. However when he arrives back home he finds that he is set apart from his family, he finds that he has lost his local accent and now speaks with what his father calls a "hoity-toity" accent. When his father returns from the army after the war is over, Ralph finds that he is still fighting a war against him. His father is prejudiced against Ralph because of his accent and his interest in the theatre, but no matter what his father or anyone else says he is determined to fulfil his dream and become an actor.
An exciting and emotional read which I especially recommend for young adults.
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on 9 February 2002
A Cuckoo in the Nest is a story based just after the second World War. It is about a sixteen year-old boy with a passion for the theatre. At first behind his sceptical father's back, and later with the full support of his family he does what it takes to acheive his dream of becoming an actor.
I enjoyed this book thouroughly, and would recommend it particularly for girls or boys aged between eleven and fifteen, and especially those who have an interest in theatre themselves, or who have enjoyed other books written by Michelle Magorian.
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on 21 April 2005
I really enjoyed this book. It is set in a post-war era and is based upon Ralph, a 17 year old highly ambitious boy who is determined to prove his father wrong. This is a book that I could read over and over again. The second book in the series is A Spoonful of Jam. It is based upon Ralph's sister and is equally as good. I would recommend both books, and, indeed all of Michelle Magorian's books to anyone and everyone, no matter what age or what interests they possess!
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on 20 March 2016
Michelle Magorian is a recent 'find' of mine and the images of war, rationing, make do and mend brings back a childhood which too many people have forgotten and the warm-hearted feeling her books give me are a real treasure. so I shall keep on discovering her books as long as they are available. A real 'feel-good' story.
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on 12 April 2000
This book is a must for all young at heart drama fanatical lover of Michelle's books. She really is a wonderful author who keeps you hanging on the the end. Also make sure if you enjoy this book to buy A Spoonful of Sugar, as this carries the story on!
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VINE VOICEon 9 July 2003
Michelle Magorian has written some good books in her time, 'Goodnight Mister Tom', 'Spoonful of Jam' and 'Back Home' some of the better...but none have and i doubt will ever top this supurb masterpiece of a novel
The book is, like most of MM's novels, based during the war and shows a beautiful story with lots of different issues. Ralph, the main character, has so many roads in his life which all conflict together in this book. Full of theatre, ambition, excitement, love and trouble, the book had adreniline rushing through my body. MM's description of being on stage and tangled love emotions and feeling so cold and lonley touch my heart in a deepness no one has done before. I love MM so much for writing this novel, my copy is so dear to me and I tresure what she has written. I've had my copy for 5 months and I've read it 27 times in that space of time, it is that gripping and brillient.
No one writes better than her, and she's written no better than this! Well Done MM!
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on 26 February 2006
I had read other books by Michelle Magorian including "Goodnight Mister Tom" and "Back Home" and loved them but I wasn't so keen to read A Cuckoo in the Nest because I thought it would just be about a teenage boy who disobeys is father. However, a boy in my class at school did a talk on it and said how much he loved it so I thought I would give it a try.
The moment I started reading it I was hooked. Ralph comes across as a nice boy who struggles with life as his dad bullies him and prevents him acting in the theatre. I was 14 when I read this and I have no desire to act but I loved this book. If you have read other books by Magorian you will definately enjoy this and if you haven't read any of her books you will also love this!!
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on 9 April 1999
This story is about a boy who has returned home after being evacuated. His experience of evacuation has distanced him from his working-class family, and particularly from his father, who sees him as looking down on his own family. Ralph, the main character, is desperate to become an actor, much against his father's wishes, and the story follows him as he gradually becomes drawn into the local repertory company. This is set against the class-ridden background of the immediate post-war period, which is richly evoked. There are vivid descriptions of the bitter winter of 1947, and the hardship of the lives of ordinary people in that period. Although some of the characterisation is a little heavy-handed and stereotyped, the story is told with warmth and drew me in so that I could not put the book down. An excellent and absorbing read.
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on 20 February 2004
Michelle who? Yes, it's hardly a well known name in the literary world. Yet Michelle Magorian's 'A Cuckoo in the Nest' is an absolutely delightfu novel. It tells, in beautiful detail, the desperate struggle of a working class lad to overcome his restrictive background, over-protective father and opressive post-war lifestyle to achieve his all time ambition... to become an actor. This book had me laughing out loud one moment at the foppish Felix, then weeping the next, as Ralph (the hero pronouncing it 'rayfe' you understand, darling?!) refuses to give up, despite adversity and scorn from every angle. An absolute GEM of a book. A pick-me-up, beautifully written classic. You MUST read it!
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on 1 March 2016
This book shows the realities of life after the war. Ralph is determined to be an actor, but he soon finds out that it is easier said than done.In this magnificent piece of art, we can see the joy in times of victory, but also depression and anger when things o bad for Ralph. I really enjoyed this book !
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