Tuesday, July 30, 2013

BritLit Goodnight, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian

     Another British favorite is the story about a young boy temporarily housed with Mr. Tom Oakley during the WWII. British children were often moved out of the cities and into the countryside to avoid the bombings. Mr. Tom quickly discovers that Willie, a wisp of a boy, has endured so much abuse at home that he can barely function as a boy. He can't even run! 
     Mr. Tom's kindness helps Willie recover, but his mother claims she is sick and calls for him. Mr. Tom goes after him and finds he is back in the cycle of abuse, only to an extreme this time. Both Willie and Tom go through major changes in this story - from acceptance of a "blah" life to taking action "like a British boss". I think this book caught me by surprise- the cover looks so innocent, but the raw, gritty, in-your-face topics are handled without shame. I think an Americanized version of this book would have had so much anguish and embarrassment, but not the British-they just deal and go on and make a screenplay about it.
Blitz Museum

Bomb shelter
Burned out cathedral

 Something really interesting was the way war changed their daily lives. They got together as a community to build bomb shelters underground for each home and with gas masks hanging around their necks.
          It Makes you wonder how our daily lives would change if we had a war on our soil. Have you ever avoided a crowded event because of terrorist threats? How about our TSA routines. I think we are all patient with the check in procedures because we want that extra level of protection. 
     We visited the fire-bombed Coventry Cathedral and The Blitz Museum attached. The fire-bombs were meant for a nearby factory making war vehicles but burned this church to the ground. It's been left as it is as a reminder of the war and a message of forgiveness.

 You may have even heard of the burned timbers that landed in the shape of a cross. The wall emblem reads, "Father Forgive" 
Not to worry, in the lot next door they built an elaborate cathedral!

Now for serious, sulfurous, awesomeness, grab your togas we are heading to Bath!!
Where the Romans went on Vacation!


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