… Enid Blyton
I seem to be going back to my childhood with my ABC Wednesday posts, but I make no apologies for writing about Enid Blyton, whose books gave me so much pleasure as a child going right back to her Noddy and the Magic Faraway Tree books. I also had a few of the little magazines she wrote called Sunny Stories. I could never decide which of her books I liked the most:
- The Naughtiest Girl series
- The Famous Five
- The Secret Seven
- Malory Towers
- The St Clares books
- The Five Find-Outers
- The Adventure series
I thought they were all marvellous.
Later when I worked in a library I discovered that not everyone thought like me and that some libraries banned her books – not the one I worked in though! The Wikipedia article on Enid Blyton also relates how her work was also banned by the BBC, criticising her work as being ‘stilted and longwinded’. I have to say at the time I was reading them I certainly didn’t find them so. Other criticisms are that the books are formulaic, xenophobic and ‘reflected negative stereotypes regarding gender, race, and class.’ Her books are very much of their time – she was born in 1897, died in 1968, her books dating from the 1920s, most of the series dating from the 1940s, when lives and attitudes were very different from those of today. I never noticed any class, racial or sexist prejudices when I read her books. I haven’t read her books for many years but I dare say I could very well do so now.
She wrote about children whose lives were very different from mine and that was one reason I liked them. I loved the fact that her books took me to magical places, places of adventure where children could solve mysteries, thwart criminals, be independent of adults and have great fun, a world of mysterious castles and islands, exploring secret passages and hidden chambers and finding buried treasure.
There are a number of websites with information about Enid Blyton – the Enid Blyton Society and Enid Blyton.net to name but two. By all accounts her life was not always a happy one – as the 2009 TV film about her portrayed. Enid with Helena Bonham Carter as Enid, shows her as a mother who ignored her own daughters, an arrogant, selfish and insecure woman. Sometimes it’s not a good thing to know too much about an author’s personal life. I’d rather just enjoy her books.
I don’t have a photo of the real Green Hedges in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire the house where Enid Blyton lived for many years, but the Bekonscot Model Village in Beaconsfield includes a model of the house complete with Noddy in his little car parked at the front.