Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Women on Wednesday - Enid Blyton

This weekly event is hosted by Susan at Rocks n' Reads West of Mars : 
She says: " Every Wednesday, write about a book you loved that’s written by a woman. Celebrate a woman author whose books you love. Talk about a book you’re dying to read. "

Memories of my childhood are incomplete without reminiscing about Enid Blyton. I used to snuggle in  my bed, book in hand, oblivious to everyone and everything around me. Instead, I was in the world of Toy Town, riding a car with Noddy. Or I was in Kirrin Island, trying to escape from a cave, to find treasure. Or I was dreading lessons with Mamzelle Rougier.  Or planning a grand trick on Mamzelle Dupont using invisible chalk. Or being friends with Elizabeth Allen, the naughtiest girl in school!

Good-old Timmy wagging his tail vigorously was my  favourite, though in reality,  I was and still am scared of most dogs. Sandwiches, neatly cut and packed for picnics, orangeade, lemonade and ginger beer to choose from, a large chocolate cake with plum glaze, roasted tomatoes, home-made biscuits, ice cream and slices of fresh pineapple - the mouth-watering descriptions in Blyton's books are unforgettable. 

At one point, all I ever wanted, was to go to Malory Towers or St. Clare's and be part of a midnight feast. The magical, wonderful, top-secret, climactic midnight feasts! The often hilariously-used French teachers, the fiery heroines, the timid best friends, the tomboyish cousins, the attractive and arrogant brats - these are template characters who find place in almost any Blyton novel, be it the Famous Five series, Secret Seven series, St. Clare's series, Malory Towers series or The Naughtiest Girl in School series.

 New information about Enid indicates that she might not have been quite a wonderful person in real life. And of course, there are several examples of racism, snobbery and sexism in her books. 

But that doesn't take away the fact that Enid Blyton was the first author I really adored. The author who made me run  to the library in a hurry, every time I finished one of her books, so that I could get another as soon as possible. The author who made me use words like 'Smashing!' in regular conversation. The author whose books were my greatest companions in childhood.  The author who helped me cultivate the 'reading habit' which has grown along with me and reached great levels of obsession! And for that, thank you, Enid. 

Featured on 'Women on Wednesday':


J said...

Enid Blyton's the way to go for kids. I made new friends discussing Blyton's books, friends who are with me to this day. =)

Kals said...

Aww..that is sweet! =)

Eni said...

It is my profound love of Enid Blyton and her books that I decided to publish a book on her, titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage ( Yes, those perceived stereotypes that Enid Blyton is accused of having pronounced in her books were not unique to Enid Blyton. Her contemporaries of the day such as John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Harper Lee (who received a Presidential medal of honor two years ago and whose book, To kill A MockingBird) contained the "n" word in several passages, not forgetting Mark Twain in which his unabridged "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" had 212 "n" word utterances, and not forgetting Herge's Tintin that had racist pictures such as those in "Tintin in the Congo" and the list goes on. Regardless of such few "negligible" failings on the part of Enid Blyton her pluses inspiring children to read based on their mortal experiences as opposed to those of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter magical world and more recently those based on Stephenie Meyer's vampire; both of which are pure fantasies, still reigns supreme to all such authors.

Stephen Isabirye

Kals said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog post! I agree with you. Even Agatha Christie, another author I love, had a book title with the 'n' word which was later renamed 'And Then There Were None'

I love Blyton regardless of the controversies that seem to be cropping up, because of the great impact that her books had on my love for reading. Thanks for posting about your book. I shall try and check it out! =)

Anonymous said...

Controversies or no she is one author whose books are still my comfort food. I still treasure my Secret Seven books and all other books by her and go to them whenever I am feeling low.

She started me out on the literary road trip :)

Kals said...

Same here. I have a couple of Secret Seven books, Famous Five books and also the Five Find-Outers books ( Fatty is my favourite ) =)

Sometimes all you need is a simple, happy Boarding school story, Blyton style. I still re-read Malory Towers, St.Clare's and any Blyton mystery I can find. There's something charming about these books =)

Alyce said...

I don't know how I managed to miss this author when I was growing up. I'll have to be on the lookout for her books.

Kals said...

Please do. She's definitely worth your time =)

Veens said...

SP true Kals, I used to rush to the library to get the latest Blyton book they bought. I love this author, her Noddy and so many other characters whom I have forgotten :)

Lovely post.

Kals said...

Thank you so much, Veens =)

vvb32 reads said...

i'm so glad you're doing this meme. so interesting to read your posts. i haven't heard of enid before. loved being introduced to the gnome-like character, noddy. must go out and read enid's stuff.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this lovely post on one of my fave childhood writers.

She was the person who instilled a love of reading in me. I read her books for almost 8-9 years.

I love that therer were so many books that cater to different ages within her collection itself.

Such nice and innocent books :)

Kals said...

Velvet - Do check her out! I'm sure you'll enjoy her books. I love this meme and I'm sad I missed it this week. But a bad fever does nobody any good :( Will post about someone really special for the next week =)

Nishika: Thank you! =) Exactly..her books are evergreen and are definitely on top of my list of books I will pass on to my kids =)

Anonymous said...

Enid Blyton does evoke some wonderful reading memories though I only read a few of the Famous Five novels. I'm just sorry I didn't read more.

Kals said...

The Famous Five are awesome =) Timmy the dog and the adventures the other four had with him were great tales for the young reader!

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

I was so thrilled to read this post. You are right. Enid Blyton made me run to the school library too because I couldn't get enough of reading her amazing books. Words like 'Smashing' and 'lemonade' were so much fun to read. I loved all her series especially Malory Towers, Naughty Amelia Jane, Secret Seven and Famous Five! I loved certain characters like Quentin the Scientist, Timmy the dog, and so many many others from her books! Blyton offers us the ultimate comfort books, even now!

Kals said...

You've put it so very well =) Her books are indeed the ultimate comfort books :) It's only Blyton who can make even 'old biscuits dipped in water' sound yum :D


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