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Back Home

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  960 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Rusty Dickinson was sent to the United States from England at the age of seven in 1940 to survive the war. When she returns in 1945, she finds a country and a family she neither understands nor likes, and vice versa.
Paperback, 375 pages
Published May 1st 1992 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 1984)
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17th out of 78 books — 60 voters
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CLM
Apr 25, 2009 CLM rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Lisa, Abigail, Wendy
When Rusty returns to England after having been evacuated to America during WWII, both her family and the country seem unfamiliar and alien. Adjusting to her old life is not made easier by the fact that she now has an American accent and a free and easy way of challenging authority that does not make her popular with her teachers or peers. Worst of all, Rusty feels as if her mother is a stranger, and not very supportive at that. And boarding school, often the refuge for those unhappy at home, be...more
Alex Baugh
Michelle Magorian is probably best known for her excellent book Goodnight, Mr. Tom, but she also wrote several other World War II novels for adolescent readers. One of those other books is Back Home.

It begins in the summer of 1945. The war is over and 12 year old Virginia Dickinson is returning to England. Virginia had been a scared, timid 7 year old when she was evacuated to an American family in Connecticut. Five years have passed and she is confident 12 year old who now goes by the name Rust...more
Anna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea
This was one of my all time favourite books when I was a child.

I remember the copy I had - it had a different cover back then - but it was the most tattered, dog eared book I have perhaps ever owned. I have a sneaking suspicion that I might have actually stolen it from school. Either that or my mum picked it up for me from a second hand book stall at a school fete or something, but either way I'm digressing.

I probably read it nearly twenty times. I used to love stories about this kind of time pe...more
Elizabeth K.
This is an older kidlit title -- I've had this thing for the past year or two where I'm focused on novels and non-fiction accounts of the children who were evacuated from Britain to the US during WWII, based on a conversation that was going on with the Betsy-Tacy group. Kidlit fans may recall that Magorian is probably best known for the five-Kleenex Goodnight, Mr. Tom. In this book, Rusty, our heroine, has returned to England after living in Connecticut for most of the war years, and has a varie...more
Paula
Like 'Goodnight Mr Tom' also by Michelle Magorian which I read earlier this month, I first read 'Back Home' when I was a teenager and like 'Goodnight Mr Tom', I also enjoyed the book the second time as much as I did the first time. 'Back Home' is a story of family and the changes they can and do go through, Rusty returns from a place of safety to a place that has changed drastically because of the war, and her family has changed to, after years of separation, Rusty and her parents barely know ea...more
LH Johnson
I have a lot of love for Michelle Magorian, one of the great dames of British children's literature. I've spoken about Back Home before, briefly, in a list of books featuring Dartington Hall, the place where I went to University. It was, however, a too brief mention and so I returned to Back Home in order to review it properly.

And, to be honest, I returned because I've spent too long without reading a Michelle Magorian. She's one of those writers who simply is and always will be there in my life...more
Kate
Feb 22, 2010 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: history, j, ya
I have been forgetting to read this for something more than 20 years, and I'm glad I finally got around to it. Magorian wrote Goodnight Mr. Tom, which I still think is a great kids book about abuse and about the WWII evacuation of children to the countryside, good enough to reread every so often when I need a nice sense of faith in humanity and a good hanky-drenching.

This story wasn't quite as good. Rusty was evacuated all the way to the US (I didn't realize they did that!) and when she returns...more
stephanie
Dec 09, 2013 stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to stephanie by: classroom stacey
i loved this book. if i had read this when i was younger, this clearly would have been a favorite.

yes, it's a bit simple in the plot. rusty was 7 when she was sent to live with american relatives to be safe during the war. she returns at age 13 to a mother she doesn't know, and a country she has no memories of.

however, the undercurrent of the women's movement was really spot-on, authentic, and didn't feel forced. peggy, rusty's mom, has had to adjust to life without a husband. rusty's grandmot...more
Stephanie
Sep 12, 2008 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: anyone desperate for a positive portrayal of the U.S.
Recommended to Stephanie by: Jill Linden
Shelves: mycuppa
Many years ago, a friend of my mine recommended this book. I bought it and tossed it aside, thinking it boring. After re-reading the same author's masterpiece, Goodnight, Mr. Tom, I decided to give Back Home another try. Boy, am I glad I did. The story so clearly illustrates the sharp difference between postwar England and postwar America. It brought to mind Jessica Mitford's first impressions of the U.S. during the same period: the central heating, the endless optimism, the glorious food. As an...more
Louise Nichols Cook
I have read this book about three times now and i still love it :) The girl (Rusty(or Virginia)) is so like me :) yay :) she even looks like me :p
Its a really sad story and one that admittidly did make me cry when i first read it becuase it genuinely was really sad. The way the author describes everything with enough detail for you to be able to picture what you need to see, but doesn't over do it, really brings home the harshness of the war. Becuase she is right, the war was not fun, it brought...more
Harrietthespy
*Spoilers ahead*

I first read Back Home when I was about 12 years-old. The dog-eared copy once belonged to my older sister and she loved it. I subsequently dog-eared it even more, returning to it time and time again throughout my early to mid-teens.

I instantly connected with Rusty’s character and could deeply empathise with her alienation and injustices, both at her draconian boarding school (which makes Mallory Towers seem like a holiday club in comparison) and her new home with the ‘Victorian’...more
Laura Scarffe
Probably my favourite book of all time! A fish out of water story, funny but at times very sad too. Beautifully written.
Sarah
Oh, I loved this book when I was younger! You really learn to love Rusty. The copy I have is falling apart, from when I used to read it practically every few weeks.

It's an amazing book for 10-12 year olds. I wouldn't recommend the film though.
Laura
I was given this book a while ago and after reading the back of it hadn't, I didn't feel compelled to read it. But after started it, I surprisingly really got into the story. 12 year old Rusty had been evacuated to America five years previously and now she is coming back to England. You are with her as she feels distant with England and her family, while she hopes to go home to America. I found some of the other characters in the novel hard to read about as they made my blood boil and I felt Rus...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1291181.html[return][return]A slightly grim tale of 12-year-old Virginia, known as Rusty, who returns to her family in England in 1945 after five years in America, and finds huge difficulty in settling in (to her mother's distress, she refers to America as "back home"n hence the title) and then faces further trauma of a repressive boarding school and her parents' disintegrating marriage. Oddly paced in places, but has the courage of its convictions.
Nick Turner
I listened to a BBC radio dramatisation (unabridged I believe) with a dozen voice actors.
When Rusty Dickinson returns to England from the United States where she was evacuated for safekeeping while the United Kingdom was being bombed by the Luftwaffe in World War II, she is dismayed by the stiff reserved and proper expectations which jar with her casual extrovert American lifestyle.

I loved the fish-out-of-water comedy (or tragedy) of manners which ensues when a bright extrovert child confronts s...more
Eaf
this is one of my favorite books ever! it's so well written by Michelle Magorian and a plot which is really good, I say READ THIS BOOK
Korynn
Amazingly even darker than "Good Night Mr. Tom." This novel is about culture shock and the slow change from wartime to peace in England. Our protagonist is young "Rusty," a young lady freshly returned from her evacuation to the United States after five years. Unfortunately England is extremely unlike anything Rusty remembers and she has a hard time fitting in, a sad state of affairs that is repeated throughout the story a number of times. A depressing book despite an upbeat ending.
Shoko Uchida
During the World War 2 there were children of U.K. who evacuated to the U.S.
This is a story about a girl, one of them. After being evacuated five years, Rusty came back home to Britain. She suffered as finding nowhere feeling her place in her family.
As same as her, her mother bewildered because her daughter grown up a stranger. With suffering both of them become understanding each other little by little.
It was so thought-provoking book....more
Hannah
This was one of my favourite books as a child and i decided to re-read it after picking up a copy in a charity shop. It's still as good a read now and a great book for girls as it deals with all the struggles of growing up, family relationships, friendships etc but in an interesting and original setting. Some aspects of the book seem a bit unsubtle when you're reading it as an adult but i'm really glad i revisited it.
Mrs Dahms
If you enjoy this, I recommend Goodnight Mr Tom or The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe for more information on the evacuations.
Tjala
Apr 24, 2012 Tjala rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: 'Goodnight Mr Tom' lovers
Recommended to Tjala by: Michelle
So, it was quite slow moving but I liked all the characters and the storyline and although the ending was predictable, I still enjoyed it. It is definitely not as good as Good Night, Mr. Tom but was still enjoyable and I think that Michelle Magorian writes really effectively in the past.
Andrea
Read this because the book club is reading the author's first novel, Good Night, MR. Tom. I didn't enjoy this novel. It dragged and I just wanted to smack the characters and tell them to communicate a little. I guess part of that is the way it was in post WWII England. Still just communication problem after communication problem until it's all resolved in the last 20 pages. Too much for me!
Nettle
This was probably one of the first books ever to reduce me to tears. Worked like a charm every time. Just as good as Goodnight Mr Tom, if not better.
Aaditee
I really enjoyed this book- I really like the characters! they're very relatable and like most of Magorian's books, it is set after WW2. Rusty, a former evacuee, has come back from 5 years in America to England. she now has to adjust life in England, with a family she doesn't remember very well. Captivating read!
Kathleen Meyer
The story of a girl sent to America during World War II and her return to England. Moving between families and between continents in the post WWII era is not as easy at it seems.
Liz
One of my absolute favourite childhood novels. Must have read it at least a dozen times. For me it is Magorian's best work (better than the typically more highly acclaimed 'Goodnight Mister Tom'). Sad and touching story with a satisfying conclusion. Very well developed characters and a compelling story line.
jinki
This is the first book that 'wet my appetite' for reading.
This story deals with children of world war 2, as most of of Magorian books do.It made me laugh, cry, smile and i re-read it several times afterwards. i remember thinking 'books are like t.v. but so much better!' lol.
Heaven is a bookstore
I AM SO EXCITED!! I just bought this copy online. This was my VERY FAVORITE book as a kid. It hit me in such a way that over 20 years later, I still remember this book with incredibly fondness! Couldn't be more excited to read this book again.
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British children's author Michelle Magorian - author of the celebrated Goodnight, Mr. Tom (1981), which won The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize - was born in Southsea, Portsmouth, in 1947. She trained to be an actress, studying at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, and at Marcel Marceau's L'école Internationale de Mime in Paris. While pursuing an acting career, Magorian became interes...more
More about Michelle Magorian...
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