The story opens with George, a 12 year old orphan boy. He lives at The Home, and every summer, he is sent to a foster family for several weeks. George has learned to dread the routine. Each time it was the same: the staring, the questions fired his way, and the way they tiptoed around him like he was a fascinating attraction. George would have just preferred to stay at The Home rather than spend his summer with some strangers who made him feel uncomfortable.
However, as he is shipped off to live with a new family for the summer George soon realizes that the Dyers (that was their name) they were different somehow. He meets Mr and Mrs. Dyer, wins the affections of talkative Storme, and even befriends the once indifferent Tom. Working with them over the several days, rescuing cows from the flood, shoveling hay, and even learning how to swim, George begins to feel more at home with the Dyers. He even began to think of them as family.
Then, one day, as he was hiking up the moor with Storme, Storme slips and sprains her ankle. With the injury and the sudden fog that had enveloped them, they soon found themselves lost. After spending half the night trying to keep warm, the rest of the family finally found them, but Storme was so badly hurt that Mrs. Dyer had to carry her down. Unfortunately, carrying Storme causes Mrs. Dyer to injure her back to badly that she had to be hospitalized.
Without anyone to care for the children at home and the farm work piling up very quickly, Mr. Dyer is forced to send George back to the orphanage for the time being. However, Tom and Storme wanted him back, and George also wanted to stay, so the children had devised a plan so that he could be adopted for good. However, back at the home, George found himself anxious and unable to get back into the routine. He no longer belonged there; his heart was with the Dyers. George found himself counting the days until Tom would write with the good news.
When no letter came, George made up his mind. He was running away, this time to the Dyers and not away from them. Finally, his journey took him home. He was home at last.
WHAT I THINK OF THE STORY (5 stars for theme, 5 stars for plot)
This story was a very realistic and touching portrayal of a long journeyhome. Many of us have travelled this same road before, whether literally, or metaphorically. That is why, I think, that this story is so relevant and so strongly resonant within my heart. George had lived at "The Home" for pretty much all his life, and had been to so many other foster families, but none of that had given him the love, honesty and openness that the Dyers so freely gave. The way that he so quickly warmed up to the members of the Dyer family really reached the inner depths of my heart. I couldn't help but wipe away a tear at the last part when George was finally home to stay. I would recommend this book for any reader, young or old, because the story is something we could all relate to at some point or another. The feelings of being accepted, being a part of something, and finally feeling like you are "home", is something that has no age boundary. All that said, check out a copy of Long Way home by Michael Morpurgo at your library, and I guarantee you you will not be disappointed!