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Cuckoo in the Nest

(Hollis Family #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  505 ratings  ·  23 reviews
A wonderfully nostalgic story about one boy’s determination to follow his dreams

Amid the rubble of post-war Britain, Ralph is entranced by the theater. He loves seeing the performances, talking to the actors, the buzz of the audience, and the corridors and dressing rooms backstage. But how can a working-class boy achieve his dream when there is no opportunity for theater
Paperback, 464 pages
Published October 1st 2015 by Egmont UK (first published 1994)
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4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  505 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Trish at Between My Lines
This review was originally posted on [Between My Lines]A Cuckoo in the Nest by Michelle Magorian tells the story of a family in post war 1940s England. Ralph's family is full of tension, of family members who no longer know or understand each other and the generation gap has never seemed greater.


First line of A Cuckoo's Nest by Michelle Magorian:
'No suicides this week,' Aunt Win announced, laying the newspaper flat on the kitchen table.


My Thoughts on A Cuckoo's Nest by Michelle Magorian:
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adored this book when I was little and re-read it over and over. I'd love to have another look at it now in adulthood to see whether the charm really endures but unfortunately I misplaced my copy years ago and never found it.

As a child, stories of overcoming adversity through long and arduous struggles really appealed to me, especially if the protagonist was generally rejected by his or her peers (I really loved Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small series for the same reason). I always found
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this tale. Found it far more satisfying and more well rounded than Goodnight Mister Tom....for which the author is famous.
It’s certainly apparent that Michelle Magorian has first hand knowledge of the theatrical world. I learnt so much about repertory companies.....including the attitudes different “classes” had to them in this era (set in England, 1946-1947).
Magorian’s excellent descriptions of the bleak weather, lack of heating and electricity made me very glad to be living
Huw Collingbourne
Moderately interesting and entertaining but the rather thin plot felt stretched by the addition of too many very minor, thinly-drawn characters and excessive detail about theatrical stage management.
Strangely familiar ... all the way while I was reading this I felt I'd read it before. So strange.
John Howes
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining novel with themes of second world war and the world of the theatre.
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another coming of age out of the ordinary story
Daniel Tutatchikov
I don't know. On the one hand - this topic has been done to death. On the other hand, this book is charming enough to get away with it.

You follow this caricature of a person that longs to be in the theater, performing but keeps stumbling onto road blocks past which he has to find a way. Living in a poor family with an abusive father and a gullible mother, this books still manages to feel convoluted and contains aspects that are just ... meaningless. That don't add anything of value, but you stil
Nov 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I read this at fourteen I couldn't put it down; I was completely enthralled. Re-reading the book over a decade later and it's not the riveting read I remember, but there's certainly enough there to keep it interesting. Whilst the main plot of the novel is centered upon Ralph's aspirations for the theatre, there are a myriad of sub plots exploring family relationships, politics within the workplace, and the constraints associated with class.

Far from being a novel revolving around one lead p
Mrs Mac McKenzie
I loved this book and was fortunate to be able to finish it in two sittings. It reminded me a little of Billy Elliot, but the passion was acting not dancing. It was interesting how the characters changed through the story, I enjoyed Goodnight Mr Tom by Magorian, and she didn't let me down in this book either.
Cripes. I'd forgotten how grim the post war years were.
I remember my mum saying that her abiding child hood memory of the war and years after was the constant hunger. The book rang true according to her.
My dad was called a pansy once while on a bus because he was wearing a yellow scarf !
The 'good old days' - har de har
Mar 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as "Goodnight, Mr. Tom", but still enjoyable. The author must have been really interested in the theatre because 3 of her books so far have had the theatre playing a big part in the main character's make-up. The research, though and the time of her books' settings really make the books, and her characters are believeable, and you want to know them.
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite enjoyed this book, and it was especially germane to me as I just finished performing in a play (the first I've been involved in since a small production in grade 8). Magorian is very apt at creating likeable, multi-dimensional characters.
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy reading this book, it's a story about adjusting to life after the war and family dynamics for an older son when his father is back. It's also about fighting for what you love, even if it's not what your family thinks is right for you.
A story not just about the theatre and class division - but about, as a powerful sub-theme, the struggles of a man who has lived through the second world war and come home to find that life has changed in ways that he finds difficult to cope with.
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ria by: Sister, Peta.
A really brilliant book telling of life just after the war and of the dedication of the character to follow his calling in life by pursuing a career in theatre in spite of opposition by family and society.
Well worth reading.
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I enjoyed reading this book. It started off a bit slow, but then you really get into the story!
Michelle Magorian's style is also very likable and she writes in a way that appeals to younger readers.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those books that just makes you happy. Lovely and interesting.
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Joni by: my mum! haha
Just wow. I've never read a book more honest, about theatre and how much hard work it is - not only being there, but getting there, and what people will think of you if you do. Just fab.
Abigail Williams
I FINISHED IT! I have to admit it was better than I thought - yet I still don't understand the reason for the title completely. Oh well.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-read 11/19/14; re-read again 2/17/15; re-read again 2/7/16
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Victoria Brown
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Amanda Forsman
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Stephanie Moran
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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

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