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Friday, 11 May 2018

Tom Brown's School Days ~ Thomas Hughes

narrated by Jamie Parker  (book & audio) (5) (Children’s Classic)

I switched between the book and the audiobook, and Jamie Parker made this an absolute joy to listen to!
If you purchase the free ebook first then hop over to audible, this audio version is much cheaper.
It pays to note that in the early part of the book Hughes does tend to veer away from his story occasionally to pontificate on class segregation in his time; very Charles Dickens-ish .  The underlying story and the growth of character in Tom and his closest chums make those early diversions worthwhile.

I can see why the book is no longer ‘popular’ reading today:  the author uses racial slurs common in that era - one which included Irish woman  - boarding school bullying is right up there (!!), capital punishment is meted out; and, there are pockets of Christianity/bible focused discourse: Hughes includes a discussion about accepting Christ as the saviour so one of the boys can take the sacrament, not sure of the church this could allude to, perhaps Anglican?

For those that appreciate vintage books similar to those republished by Lamplighter Books, you would probably enjoy this book. However, anyone that finds it hard to navigate through stories with a Victorian era, and Christian-based, worldview you may want to skip this one.  I appreciated the Christian thoughts the writer interjects into the story with excerpts like the following, where Tom is grieving at the church altar over the death of his beloved School Master, Dr Thomas Arnold who died of a heart attack at age 46:

   And let us not be hard on him, if at that moment his soul is fuller of the tomb and him who lies there, than of the altar and Him of whom it speaks.  Such stages have to be gone through, I believe, by all young and brave souls, who must win their way through hero-worship, to the worship of Him who is the King and Lord of heroes.   For it is only through our mysterious human relationships, through the love and tenderness and purity of mothers, and sisters, and wives, through the strength and courage and wisdom of fathers, and brothers, and teachers, that we can come to the knowledge of Him, in whom alone the love, and the tenderness, and  the purity, and the strength, and the courage, and the wisdom of all these dwell forever and ever in perfect fullness.

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The number beside each book is my personal rating for the book, or audiobook, at the time of reading with the range being:

(1) = would not recommend,

(2) = some interesting aspects but not one of my recommended reads,

(3) = would recommend.

(4) = Really good, enjoyable, (or worthy) read, would definitely recommend

(5) = Excellent book, highly recommend