The Changeling


This is an interesting book with very strong characters for whom you develop strong feelings. It is the story of a school child Tom Curdie, living in the grim slums of Glasgow in the 1950’s, and his teacher Charlie Forbes who genuinely wants to help Tom and improve his life, but,,,,,,, is ignorant of the best way to go about this. Charlie decides to invite Tom on his annual family holiday, much to the disappointment of his wife and children, and to the doubt of Tom and his family,

Forbes, thinks by offering Tom this holiday, he is providing him with strength to see him through his difficult life when he returns to the slums. Tragically, he does not anticipate the difficulties Tom would face when it is time to return to the slums after experiencing a different life with the Forbes. Tom is then, tragically, caught between the two lives, fitting into neither. Forbes is naïve in wanting to help but he doesn’t consider the possible harm that his help may cause.

All of the characters are very rich and deep, providing the reader with much to consider. The character of Tom is a very memorable one. One feels great sympathy for him, with his awful life in the slums in Glasgow, the neglect he suffers, and his apparent hopeless chances of forwarding himself or improving his situation. It is interesting though that the author creates a character that we, as the reader don’t fully   understand- in many regards you may expect Tom to be another Oliver Twist, who would instantly gain our sympathies and we would be wishing well, but…. Tom creates a little uncertainty and slight suspicions in us regarding his motives and actions. One can admire this as it is probably more true to life. Many poverty stricken   and desperate   people would have no hope of any help or sympathy so would be suspicious, as Tom is, when some is offered.
Part of Tom is keen to accept, the help   but the majority of him is determined to disappoint and hurt ‘the good...