Monday, August 10, 2009

Tom's Midnight Garden

Pearce, Philippa. 1958. Tom's Midnight Garden.

If, standing alone on the back doorstep, Tom allowed himself to weep tears, they were tears of anger.

I wasn't quite sure what to think of Tom's Midnight Garden when I started. It was a bit old-fashioned. I suppose that's only to be expected. What is it about? Tom is visiting his aunt and uncle. His brother, Peter, has the measles. And Tom could have them as well. Which is why he's kept close to the flat, you know, just in case. He's got little to do with himself. And if it wasn't for the nighttime, it would be a dull read. But Tom has a secret. A big secret. Each night the old grandfather clock downstairs chimes thirteen times. And when it does, Tom slips out of bed, out of the house, and begins playing in a garden that only appears in the night. The garden is magical--as he discovers--it can be any season, any weather--though mostly the days are wonderfully fine. Sometimes Tom sees people in the garden. But most of the time--at least at the start--these people don't seem to see him. But one person, a girl named Hatty, becomes his friend. And Tom loves having a friend. He'd happily join Hatty in her world if he could. But he can't. And these good times aren't destined to last. After all, Tom's only visiting because his brother, Peter, is sick. When Peter's better, Tom's parents will want him back, expect him to come home. So Tom must make the most of his time.

I did like this one. (I didn't love it though.) The ending redeemed it because I found it a satisfying conclusion.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous,  11:09 PM  

I was wondering what you would think of the ending - I'm glad you liked it. Satisfying, I agree - it is just so right. L.

Debi 9:31 AM  

I've been wanting to read this ever since Nymeth's review, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it more, Becky, but also glad you didn't feel it was a waste of your time. BTW, you've left me quite intrigued about the ending.

Zibilee 9:52 AM  

I read this when I was much younger, and I totally loved it. I am not sure if it would hold up to a second reading now, but I have fond memories of it back then.

Kailana 11:54 PM  

Yeah, it was a bit old-fashioned, but I enjoyed it well enough. I am trying to remember if I have reviewed it... So not good when I can't remember what I have and haven't reviewed anymore!

Anonymous,  4:20 PM  

Somehow I missed this book growing up (surrounded as I was with Enid Blyton and Trixie Beldon) but stumbled on it while reading about books on time travel. I enjoyed it a great deal, and felt, as I always do, a stab of pain at the idea of time passing, people changing, growing up, growing away. I don't know about the ending. It seemed too neat. It does not match Tom's earlier agony at the thought of losing the garden. It seems odd that just seeing Hatty again healed the wound and loss.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
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  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
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  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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