Goodbye, Mr. Chips – James Hilton

I saw the film some time ago, and as it turns out it was an excellent adaptation – very faithful to this sweet, sad, warm little book. I don’t want it to sound like a criticism when I say I have little to say about it beyond that (sweet, sad, warm); it isn’t. I enjoyed it very much, though about halfway through the nostalgia became melancholy despite Chips’s perennial good humor, and I needed a break from even so short a book. If nothing else what I’m going to remember strongly about Goodbye, Mr. Chips is the picture of the old man (not ill, mind, just tired) sitting by his fire with sudden and unexpected tears pouring down his face.

The characters are remarkably alive; the setting is vivid; the period – especially the Great War – is made real. Mr. Chips – rather belatedly – joins the ranks of teachers I wish I’d had, teachers who actually care about what they’re doing and about their pupils: teachers completely unlike any I had after third grade (Mrs. Schattan was wonderful). This is a fine new edition of a lovely, bittersweet, poignant brief story of a life well-lived, of a full and rich life which had an impact – a positive impact – and which left a beautiful legacy. You can’t ask for much more than that.

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One Response to Goodbye, Mr. Chips – James Hilton

  1. Pingback: Good-bye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton (Pocket 93 – 1941) | Vintage (and not so vintage) Paperbacks

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