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Sentimental Tommy

J. M. Barrie

Book Overview: 

J. M. Barrie is most noted for being the author of Peter Pan, the beloved book about a child who does not want to grow up. The two Tommy novels, as they are collectively referred to, are also about a child who does not want to grow up. Yet, unlike Peter Pan, he has to. Tommy grows up in the slums of London at the end of the 19th century in difficult conditions. This book explores his boyhood. How would his childhood fantasies collide with the hard conditions in which he lives and the reality of his growing up? The Tommy novels are considered semi-autobiographical.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Shovel having failed to hold him in his seat, had done what was perhaps the next best thing, got beneath it himself. The arm of the petrified clergyman was still extended, as if blessing his brother's remarks; the chairman seemed to be trying to fling his right hand at the culprit; but her ladyship, after the first stab, never moved a muscle. Thus for nearly half a minute, when the officials woke up, and squeezing past many knees, seized Tommy by the neck and ran him out of the building. All down the aisle he prayed hysterically, and for some time afterwards, to Shovel, who had been cast forth along with him.

At an hour of that night when their mother was asleep, and it is to be hoped they were the only two children awake in London, Tommy sat up softly in the wardrobe to discover whether Elspeth was still praying for him. He knew that she was on the floor in a night-gown some twelve sizes too large for her, but the room was as silent and black as the. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Very enjoyable read.

I think that the narrator said it best when he said “There were moments when one liked Tommy” because there certainly were those moments. The drawback was there were also many moments when one disliked Tommy. Barrie does a good job of making Tommy come alive with many faults and many treasures to hi

Barry did a masterful job of drawing you into the world of Tommy Sands. Told in a conversational style, one becomes immersed in the world in which the child grows up.

The book starts with a young Tommy living in the slums of London. Soon a baby sister appears, Elspeth. Living under such harsh conditi

This book is wonderful. It really made me stop and think about a lot of things along the way. It reminds me of Peter Pan in some aspects, and it's fun and sad and adventuresome all at once. I'll definitely be reading this again.

Tommy and his little sister Elspeth live in a poor apartment in London. When their mother dies of consumption, the children go to live in her old hometown in Scotland. Tommy is sent to a little school, where the teachers have high hopes of his academic skills, but he disappoints everyone by being mo

Coming of age story. The first of two volumes about Tommy.