Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Thursday's Child” as Want to Read:
Thursday's Child
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Thursday's Child

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,214 ratings  ·  128 reviews
Harper Flute believes that her younger brother Tin, with his uncanny ability to dig, was born to burrow. While their family struggles to survive in a bleak landscape during the Great Depression, the silent and elusive little Tin - "born on a Thursday and so fated to his wanderings" - begins to escape underground, tunneling beneath their tiny shanty. As time passes, Tin bec ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 11th 2003 by Candlewick Press (first published 2000)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakTomorrow, When the War Began by John MarsdenLooking for Alibrandi by Melina MarchettaOn the Jellicoe Road by Melina MarchettaLife in Outer Space by Melissa Keil
396 books — 203 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeWater for Elephants by Sara GruenOf Mice and Men by John SteinbeckThursday's Child by Sonya HartnettThe Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale
New Historical Fiction
30 books — 107 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,214 ratings  ·  128 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Thursday's Child
Katy Noyes
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A different sort of plot - almost 'At the Edge of the Orchard' for children

4.5 stars

A family lives in near poverty after World War I in a forest clearing with poor soil, many children, and few prospects. On the day a new baby arrives, there is an accident and 4-year-old Tin is buried in the earth, feared dead. When he miraculously finds his way back to the surface, it starts his obsessions with tunnelling, and narrator Harper tells us about the subsequent years of hardship - little food, hunger,
Nina Pace
Jun 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is another book that leaves a lasting impression. Hartnett's style and simplicity of writing directs all focus to the troubled Tin and his family, who live in a state of poverty and struggle. Despite its setting in outback Australia, Hartnett's book feels timeless. It is a dark and dreamy tale of a secreted and almost mythological family life. Its a beautiful but slightly chilling tale that leaves you feeling edgy and moved.
The Hofs
Jul 30, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: chez-mama
this book is W.E.I.R.D. The idea of a ferral child is just down right sad to me. Im 50 pages into the book as a preview for goose and Im thinking that I won't continue. Im wondering why others on goodreads rated it so high? I thought it would be an interesting read about a family in the depression but instead,they let one of their many children live UNDER THE DARN HOUSE (!) and never come out to see the light of day because he likes it there. The author said that she got the idea for the book af ...more
Corinne Edwards
It takes Harper and her family a while to realize that Tin is not meant from this above-ground world. It's Harper that finally figures it out, since Tin's her younger brother and all, and since she's charged with watching him. Living during the Great Depression, their barren farm and shack of a house are little comfort to Harper as she and Tin grow older and further apart.

Thursday's Child is a growing up story. A Depression story. A broken-family story. A story of a boy who's happier underground
Philip Goddard
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by my Creative Writing Tutor, I was completely enchanted with the story of this family making their way through difficult and troubling times. It is beautifully observed, The forgiveness and understanding of how things are in a family where faults are always most apparent to the other members is masterful.

The strangeness of one of the members of the family within the story is wonderfully interwoven with the day to day living; so effectively that you accept it as part of the family.
It's a strange book, very creative with a mixture of real and surreal storylines.

Narrated by Hannah from the age of 7 to 21. She lives in a post-WWI soldier settlement with a father who is not a farmer, a mother of great patience and her four siblings. They are poor, they struggle, they live off the rabbits the father traps, the father turns to drink, the eldest son runs away to find work and the eldest daughter is forced to work for a local sleaze-bag farmer as his housekeeper. The Great Depre
Ester Elbert
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Pleasant read with a bittersweet insight of life during the great depression.
I wish this book was more popular.
E.H. Alger
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A spur of the moment read. I was rearranging my bookshelves and picked this one up - it’s languished unread on my shelves for years. I’ve read several other novels by Australian author, Sonya Hartnett, and loved them - she’s been called ‘the finest Australian writer of her generation’. This one won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, but I can’t imagine many children enjoying it! It describes the Depression years seen through the eyes of a child, but it’s grim and gritty and weirdly surreal. ...more
Natalie Baker
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
When I first began reading this book, I found it to be incredibly strange. It does not seem plausible that a family would allow their child to dig tunnels under their house, let alone live in those tunnels. As I kept reading though I realized that Sonya Hartnett is not merely telling a story of a family during the Great Depression in Australia. Instead, she has done an incredibly amazing job of telling the story of Harper and exploring Harper's psyche through her portrayal of Tin. Sonya Hartnett ...more
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Young adult and children's authors seem to convey emotion and situations so much better than adult fiction

Don't ask me how, but it's believable that the family got so caught up in other things that they let Tin go wild and dig all over the place.

That's the premise that made me pick up the book. The story, as seen through Harper's eyes, isn't happy, but it's not horribly sad either. It's just how people survive bad times and bad choices.

It's worth reading for the writing if that makes sense. I
Harry Davies
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is beautifully written. Dark, lyrical, confusing, compelling story about poverty, and finding your strength. I read it before. I've read all Sonya Hartnett's books. I've lived some and hated some but have always been impressed with her story weaving. Surrender is the darkest and the best, but Thursday's Child is the one I recommend the most.
Linnea Broman
beautiful but a little bit too slow
Nancy Groves
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a dark book, in many ways. Told through the eyes of Harper Flute, a girl growing up during in Australia during the depression, it's in some ways a coming of age and family story. The family is struggling to make a living on a plot of land given to the father for his service and injury in World War I, but they know nothing about farming and instead eke out a living by selling rabbit skins. There's clearly tension between the mother and father, she more concerned with food on the table and ...more
Apr 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Winner of a Guardian Children's Book Award, I picked this up on a bargain book stand. The story is about a family in Australia (it is never stated as Australia I think, but references to red back spiders and the general geography and later the geology made me think it must be so). The narrator is a girl, Harper - but the story is really about Tin, her younger brother, who is always digging and makes a decision to live underground.

Frankly I found it all a little unrealistic. It was not a funny bo
Amber Scaife
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This one follows the story of a young girl and her family in Australia during the Depression, living in a rough shack and barely getting by. The writing is good, but there issues for me with the plot: one of her brothers lives almost exclusively in the system of tunnels that he digs (starting when is only something like 5 years old) under their house and spreading for what seems like must be miles. I can't quite put my finger on what didn't work for me; the story seems a little directionless and ...more
Monica Cichosz
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a great read; 4.5 stars.

I thought the writing style excellent and I loved the accuracy of Harper’s child POV. It gave the book an interesting angle. So many strange elements with the digging, wild brother and the extreme poverty.

I loved that Tin’s family fully supported him being him, even though he didn’t fit into any concept of humanity that the rest of the world can/could recognize. What a concept. If only we could all do that for our kids. I know I try but I don’t know if I could h
Cassie Ballew
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don't know what I expected out of this. I definitely did not expect for this book to feel so much like reality and so much the exact opposite. It gave me something to chew on. But I don't know if it is easily digestible: in one of the better ways.

I think leaving the review this vague and open ended will hopefully encourage you to read this book, without having formed any preconceived notions.

That's what I hope.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars!
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those hard hitting books. I have never felt so deeply connected with a book before. The book is simply enticing and honorable, definitely five stars.
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
8 this book was a very unusual book. But it was also a very profound book it took a while to get into it but it was excellent overall
Jo Floyd
Set in the depression. Young boy tunnels underground. From point of view of girl aged 6-13. Passed on to me by mum.
Feb 28, 2017 added it
Harper Flute believes that her younger brother Tin, with his uncanny ability to dig, was born to burrow. While their family struggles to survive in a bleak landscape during the Great Depression, the silent and elusive little Tin - "born on a Thursday and so fated to his wanderings" - begins to escape underground, tunneling beneath their tiny shanty. As time passes, Tin becomes a wild thing, leaving his family further and further behind.
Steven Brandt
First of all, where on Earth does this novel take place? Thursday’s Child is set during the Great Depression and so, being an egocentric American, I naturally assumed it was in the American Great Depression. But then I was confused because the characters all had Irish or Scottish accents. I read what someone else wrote about Thursday’s Child and they said that it takes place in Australia based on some subtle clues in the text like local flora and place-names. That makes sense since Sonya ...more
Kate Johnson
Apr 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thursday's Child Mini Review

The genre of the fictional novel Thursday's Child is Classical first person narrative told in the eyes of a young girl called Harper in the depression period in the Australian Outback.

It basically covers a family's struggle through poverty, trouble and difficult relationships and inter workings between different people having both good and bad times and both suffering and prosperity.

The book was a good read (heh heh) as it brings insight into what the mood of that pe
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Because I liked this author's book "The Ghost's Child", I went right out & got this book from the library, to try another of hers.
They were actually very different kind of books. But I thought both were very well written. I enjoyed this book quite a bit.
With "The Ghost's Child", I felt it was an eloquently written 'fairy tale', as well as an autobiography of the main character. I compared the story most to things I've read of Neil Gaiman's.
With "Thursday's Child", in the beginning I felt the bo
Nov 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Stacey
Recommended to Beth by: Danica
This book has a weird, weird storyline due to some weird, weird characters (with weird names: Harper, Tin, Vandery, Caffy, etc.). It was certainly not the cheeriest read (I mean, really -- it's a coming-of-age story during the Depression; what should one expect?). The ending is satisfying but not exactly happy.

And yet, I really liked this book. The writing was absolutely phenomenal. Rich without being verbose, the author created the whole feel of the novel just through those well-crafted sentenc
Kylie Purdie
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-read
Sonya Hartnett does not write cheery, happy books. No, instead she complex, dark, thoughtful stories that leaves her reader shocked and bleeding - I love it! Her real strength is in her characters, so simply drawn but with such depth you feel you would know them the moment you saw them.
She frequently uses the Australian landscape to punctuate the desolation felt in her stories - the stark, dry landscape, the tough, suspicious people it breeds. If I close my eyes, I can see the Flute family stand
Hannah Aziz
Aug 19, 2014 rated it liked it
I didn't really realise it throughout the minimal number of pages, but after finishing the read, I had realised that I'd watched the characters- especially the children- grow. By the end, young bodies hosting old souls, and the aged: mere ghosts.

It was life in a book.

I felt, though, that the book was very surreal. Metaphorical? I wouldn't be certain as I didn't really bother to analyse, but definitely unlikely. Despite the peculiarity -that I don't think is purposeless- the feelings and actions
« previous 1 3 4 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Can You See Me?
  • Goodbye Stranger
  • Ford County
  • Lenny's Book of Everything
  • The Other Bennet Sister
  • The Silent Boy
  • Liar & Spy
  • Bruny
  • The Things She's Seen
  • Hush
  • Betty
  • Burn
  • Do You Know Me?
  • The Sea-Wreck Stranger
  • Scary Stories for Young Foxes
  • Tui Street Heroes
  • Seed
  • The Weight of Water
See similar books…
Sonya Hartnett (also works under the pseudonym Cameron S. Redfern) is, or was, something of an Australian child prodigy author. She wrote her first novel at the age of thirteen, and had it published at fifteen. Her books have also been published in Europe and North America. Her novels have been published traditionally as young adult fiction, but her writing often crosses the divide and is also en ...more

Related Articles

As this strange summer of staying put winds down, one thing remains truer than ever: Books offer us endless adventure and new horizons to...
53 likes · 30 comments
“God loves old dogs.” 1 likes
“I'm a bit like a stone - content to stay wherever it is put.” 0 likes
More quotes…