4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great classic, valid beyond time,
This review is from: Tom Brown's Schooldays (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)
Reading this book, one rapidly understands why it became so popular. Firstly, there's the beauty of the story in itself, and the vivid way in which the most important characters of the book are depicted. You can easily identify with Tom Brown whatever your age, and in every Flashman and East you will see people you have known in younger years, and relive those days.
In addition, there's the beautiful ethical message and the solid Christian faith; you don't find them often in modern fiction, so you enjoy them even more. Thirdly there is, from our perspective, the beautiful contrast with a world not asphyxiated by health and safety concerns and in many ways rougher than ours, but probably more authentic.
One clearly understands the message that becoming a man is a process which requires trials, defeats, and perseverance and truly wonders whether the present day society is not overprotective.
Thomas Hughes is unashamedly Christian, almost shockingly so by today's standards. And this is good, very good. His approach to life is, in my Penguin book, called "muscular Christianity". I find this remark very appropriate, and the approach certainly every bit as good today as it was in Hughes' times.
The fame of this book seems to have faded a bit since the Victorian heydays. Still, it remains a glorious book, its message valid beyond time.