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Blood Brothers by Russell, Willy ( Author ) ON Apr-01-1986, Paperback

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  1,813 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
This is a fast-moving, perceptive and entertaining work, which is funny yet ultimately tragic. It tells the tale of twin brothers, born into a large working-class family and the consequences of one of them being adopted by a neighbouring middle-class family.
Paperback
Published April 1st 1986 by Nelson Thornes Ltd (first published 1985)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Andrew Greatbatch
Feb 22, 2015 Andrew Greatbatch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
I have no words for how this made me feel. It was beautiful, amazing, and heartbreaking.
Emma
Aug 22, 2011 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this! Studied it for GCSE and really enjoyed it! So many themes and well developed characters as well as great songs
Mariam Abood
This is one of my favourite plays of all time and far surpasses some "classic plays I have read.

This play is raw and intricate because it touches upon issues that are relevant in today's society, and may always be relevant in today's society, contrary to Marxist belief. This play explores whether there is inherently much difference between the classes, or if we have just been conditioned to think there is.

So the synopsis is a bit cheesy, two brothers who were separated at birth, to only meet ea
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Bavita Rani
Jan 12, 2015 Bavita Rani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This play. Lord, it was amazing! This is genuinely an amazing play to both read and watch, about a mother who has had to give up one of her twin son's because she cannot afford to keep him, only to find that the woman she sold him to, has banned her from seeing him. The years pass and both twins reconnect despite their mothers wishes and life for the boys become even more confusing when there is a girl involved.
Seriously, this play gives you all the feels and I am so immensely glad that I picke
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Ben Gailey
May 12, 2012 Ben Gailey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tragedy is a theme written from the very start of this Liverpudlian play. Russell's tragic work of fiction about two brother's torn apart from each other from birth both supplements the reader and audience with a heavy dose of sadness, comedy and superstition set in the slum environments of 60's-80's Liverpudlian England. What happens to the two Johnstone twins? I dearly recommend you to read this relatively short play and then watch the performance. I must add that the theater production was fa ...more
Kaitpie
May 26, 2016 Kaitpie is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I read this play for school and it is probably the first play/musical I have ever read and it was interesting. I think the book was a bit drained due to the fact that it was school and so we have to analyse it and re-analyse it until I no longer see it as the story it is but just a bit of text. Other than that it was an enjoyable read but I am not ecstatic about it. It is interesting to then see it performed as a the musical it is afterwards and to see how it differs to how you play it in your h ...more
Elizabeth Emily Browne
I really really enjoyed this book. The first time I read this it was during my GCSE's. I loved it as much then as I still do now.

I think it is really upsetting that as a mother she wasn't able to keep both her children because she simply couldn't afford too. I don't think that I would ever find myself strong enough to give one of my children up even if it was to go into a life of luxury.

I found this to be quite fast paced which I loved. I'm really glad that I chose to reread this book. It is su
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Leo Goldsmith
I was in a bit of a dilemma here - there are clear faults in the text as a piece of (musical) drama and I might be jaundiced by having now seen in performed three times...yet, yet...every time I teach this to a class they seem to be really engaged by it. So I salute you, Blood Brothers as a GCSE text! Thank you to W.R!
Jackie Harrison
I have read this as it is a GCSE text. Very easy and quick to read but as it is a play I would now like to see it performed as I think I'd benefit from it more.
Lula Chinery
Oct 25, 2016 Lula Chinery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book!
Enchantress  ☮Debbicat ஐ
Fantabulous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One of my all time favorite plays and theatre performances. We did it in 2008. Sad day when the show ended. Such good music.
Amélie
Feb 01, 2017 Amélie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(3.5/5)

A bit bleak to my taste, but really interesting in the way it's written. Will have to see the musical for myself!
CJ
May 21, 2017 CJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Willy Russel commented himself on the episodic structure of Act 2 compared to Act 1 which, for me, combined with the choice of language in the final scene made for a less powerful ending.

In the student edition of Blood Brothers the editor includes the final scene from the initial in-school version that Russel wrote. The key difference between the final scene in the text and in its intial form is that Mikey elaborates on his discontent and on his helplessness to change his circumstances. Overall
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Borders (Re)Imagined
I remember watching this in the West End while still at school. So powerful an experience it stayed with me ever since, but to actually read/study the text after all these years brings back/highlights just how skilful a playwright Russell is - and what a play "Blood Brothers" itself is for audiences and actors alike.
Jocelin Willshaw
The tale of two brothers separated at birth, their fates intrinsically linked. Brotherhood, social hierarchy and the volatile affect of raw emotions come into play in this harrowing story.

Tragically beautiful and beautifully tragic, a must read (Or watch) for anyone who enjoys a story that cuts through to your very core and stays with you.
Sarah
Mar 22, 2017 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My students are loving this play, and so am I. I've found so many of the GCSE works to be depressing, and while there's no happy ending to be found, the way the story unravels is fun and funny, while still giving my kids plenty to dig into.
Petra
Even though they are (somewhat problematically) listed under the same "Blood Brothers" umbrella here, there are actually two versions of the text: the original straight play version, and the musical that was developed from it. While they *are* quite similar - indeed, a good portion of the text is identical between the two - but there are still enough differences (particularly when it comes to the events of the musical's second act) that they merit them being viewed separately.

This particular edi
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Lucy Burke
Aug 10, 2015 Lucy Burke rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This play is OKAY...It isn't exactly original and the songs are pretty bad. Nevertheless it is a fun quick read. (I read this for GCSE English)

I am disappointed that this play was not as contextual as I would have liked it to be, it is set in the 1980's and does show a glimpse of the hardships that the working class faced..but not enough. There is no real reference to politics or the controversies surrounding 1980's England. The play had a clear message and did leave me thinking about how class
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Jasmine
I think that it's hard to judge a musical just by reading it, but as this is the first musical I have read, I was still able to enjoy it. I would suggest to anyone going to read it in the future though, to know all the songs before reading it, otherwise you're just reading lyrics without being able to enjoy the songs for what they really are.
I loved the way Russell shows us the difference between the two classes, and how two different two people can grow up to be just by having different living
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Karina
Feb 12, 2015 Karina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, I know this is a musical I am reviewing here. However, I did have to read the book for my English coursework and it did include too much analysis and quote picking.

The book is rather fast paced as one would expect and includes some very catchy songs. That is really great because I don’t want to be sitting in class (while trying not to pee myself) and listen to random details no one cares about. I also want to remember the many songs and the many quotes of this book. It really did serve th
...more
Alisha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lucia
Apr 17, 2012 Lucia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I don't read plays and I don't go to theatre. But every rule has its exception. In this case, it is this wonderful play Blood Brothers.

I came across this book during my studies for GCSE and I was absolutely enthraled by it. The story is about two brothers who were separated after being born, because their mother could not afford to keep them both. While being brought up in completely different conditions, destiny always brings them together. They feel connected in some way even though they do no
...more
Rael
Dec 17, 2016 Rael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprised how easy this was to read as I usually find play reading difficult. A great moving story with a clear social commentary.
Rems
Apr 26, 2009 Rems rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Studied and watched this play for my GCSE - in depth study of a lot of the scenes in it, since I had to write an entire essay on it. What's actually more surprising is, when I was younger, I hated this play. Back before I was fifteen I really couldn't stand to think about it, much less read about it. It just wasn't my thing, so when the prospect came up of having to watch it again (I watched an ammature performance when I was about ten) really bothered me.

But actually I was surprised. A proper t
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Jennie Spraggs
During my time at secondary school, I came across this play as part of my English course. It follows the lives of two twin brothers that were separated at birth. One grows up in a high middle-class family whilst the other is raised by his real mother in a council estate. I really enjoyed studying this.

The best part of this play was the story line. Most authors use the well known, literary technique of flashback to hint at things that happened in the past. Interestingly, Russell does the opposite
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Mike Steven
I've been aware of Blood Brothers for some time, although I've never actually sat down and read it. I had previously seen scenes and songs from the play and I knew basically what it was about, however, its introduction into the new specification for GCSE English Literature gave me an excuse to pick up a copy.

For me it was a successful reading on two counts. Firstly, I enjoyed it as a story - I felt that there was a reasonable amount of realism in what is, after all, an utterly contrived notion.
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Jess W
Nov 22, 2014 Jess W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started reading Blood Brothers for GCSE English. When you think of a book studied in class, it's usually a boring book that you can't wait to finish and never read again. Blood Brothers was the complete opposite of this. I ended up buying the book so I could read it after I'd finished studying. Russell is very clever feeding the reader with information and foreshadowing events. Russell creates each character with care, giving them all life-like qualities. The songs used also help to tell the n ...more
Rhiannon
Feb 04, 2012 Rhiannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am studying this play as part of my English Literature coursework at GCSE, and it is such a funny, but hard hitting play. The way Willy Russell uses the common format of Greek tragedy, the opening lines telling us more than what the character's know, the optism we see at end of Act 1 and the tragic ending we sadly knew was coming, is such a perfect way to show what class can do to the British society.
With Liverpool right near to my home town and it being my nearest City it is interesting to se
...more
Kayla
Dec 24, 2016 Kayla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Louise Jones
Apr 21, 2014 Louise Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: easy-read
with being from merseyside it is a play i have seen countless times but must admit i enjoyed taking it at a slower pace reading it in reading group their is quite a few things to consider no matter how difficult life is would u give a baby away and how would choose if twins you would always be wondering . It was slightly far fetched in a greek tragedy sort of way and with superstition do bad things happen because you expect them to and in life is it really a nice house and the in toys which cre ...more
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William Russell is a British dramatist, lyricist, and composer. His best-known works are Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine, and Blood Brothers.

Willy Russell was born in Whiston, on the outskirts of Liverpool, where he grew up. His parents worked in a book publisher's and often encouraged him to read. After leaving school with one O-level in English, he first became a ladies' hairdresser and ran hi
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