Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo
I love our kids. They’re always so insightful and eloquent…Whilst trying to write this blog about the next book Amy and I read at bedtime, I asked Amy:
“Why did you enjoy Private Peaceful?”
And her response was:
“It’s just a good book”
I was obviously searching for something more academic and insightful, empathic and soul searching even, but on reflection I think Amy nailed it. Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Private Peaceful’ is just a good book.
This simple and potentially flippant sentence isn’t meant to belittle this wonderful story, but it does get to the essence of what Morpurgo’s novel is: just a good book! Night after night Amy chose and asked to read Private Peaceful with me. She ignored and gave up other options in favour or reading this book at bedtime with her mam. She even ignored Tik Tok and Instagram, which these days is a minor miracle.
Private Peaceful is a story of love and friendship and honesty. It’s a story of innocence and simple pleasures and how all of these virtues are both strengthened and destroyed in war. The protagonists are Tommo and Charlie, brothers who support and adore each other at home in their small village and also in the trenches of world war 1. Morpurgo’s novel allowed Amy to become entrenched in the world of Tommo and Charlie, their best friend Molly and disabled brother Big Joe. We learned about their school and their playtimes and their love of their mother but hatred for their Aunt. We witnessed many of their firsts and explored the world of the early 20th century through their eyes and then we were faced with the reality of world war 1. Morpurgo didn’t shock or frighten Amy about the truth of World War 1, but he allowed her to learn about this vital part of our history through the eyes of brothers she had come to love and genuinely care for.
There isn’t a lot more to say without starting to delve into the narrative of the novel and fill this blog with spoilers, but it’s safe to say that whist we had Private Peaceful on the go as our bed-time story, there wasn’t one mention of the TV; not one mention of Tickerty Tok, just lots of cuddles and cosy times sharing the experiences of Tommo and Charlie and we loved every second.