Reading is Religion to me , I was given picture books for my birthday from my parents and Uncle and Aunts , and from the age of six I started on Enid Byton , my dad bought me my first book written by Enid Blyton, Noddy.
Then for all birthdays there was always a steady flow of her books . Enid Blyton was a delight to hundreds of children across the world , who used to solve mystery’s with the Five Findouters and a Dog , say Gah !! like Mr Goon the local policeman in Peterswood where Fatty, Larry , Pip, Daisy and Bets lived and the half crazy Ern Goon , where Fatty used to have all the talent to solve with the feisty others. Where bruises where made to look as fun turning yellow, brown and vivid colours and the famous disguises which used to take the policeman Goon in totally , we lived in the shed of Fatty at the bottom of his garden.
Famous Five was the ever popular series of twenty one books, which also turned into TV series too. These books had cousins, Julian,Dick,Anne as sibblings and Georgine (George) as their cousin with Timothy the lovable dog who had equal role in solving the mysteries. The Kirrin island and the description, till date I want to visit this place which I heard is there, where Enid with her daughters use to spend her holidays.
The amazing food they used to have hot scones , black currant cakes, tongues, turren of fresh milk , lemonade and ginger beer , bacon and boiled eggs and pork sandwiches jam tarts and pies the list can go on. The lovely places they were allowed to go by themselves, the lighthouse in one and going off in the caravans and sleeping out with heather.as beds.
No two stories or series used to have anything repetitive which was Enid Blytons skill, a mastermind, then there were numerous others the Malory Tower staying at a hostel and having midnight feast and Mamzelle the French teacher one used to be round and short and the other thin and dour looking and the other teachers , how I wished my parents would have kept me in hostel like Malory Towers or St.Clares .
We have writers from the 19th and 20th Century and we should appreciate their works as they wrote as per the environment and upbringing during their times . We cannot call Brother Grimms and Hans Anderson fairy tales as redundant, by saying “how can we have a “damsel in distress” , “why does every girl need a Prince Charming ?” Maybe we have progressed with superior technologies and got our women’s rights and woman excel in each field , or have we ? But when these fairy tales were written the times were different and I don’t see any subjugation too , weren’t there Queens who ruled and step mothers who were powerful ? think about Cinderella Hansel and Gretal and Snowwhite so many . Enid Blyton was also criticised for her gender discrimination, Anne in Famous Five doing the housework and Golliwog was called racism,colour difference.What a shame, if you can acknowledge the amount of books and unique ideas with thrill and mystery she came up with is really commendable, imagine at the same time she was writing the Five Finder outers and a Dog and also Famous Five you see know each story line is the same. She was doing a Malory Tower and St Clares at the same time , and not to forget The Faraway tree series , with Enchanted Woods and Folks of Faraway Tree,
In fact her two daughters also had a different opinion about their Mother, Gillian Baverstock has fond memories of reading the stories off her typewriter, and her sister Imogen Mary Smallwood has a different memory that her Mother was only for the globe and did not pay much attention to her, Her elder sister Gillian mentioned that after Imogen was born their mother was extremely busy and was writing books in two weeks’ time .
Whatever the perspective and written thoughts about the enigma ,the very talented Enid Blyton made my childhood dream of the Faraway tree and picnics on Kirrin Island, having midnight feast and being naughty and showing off your bruises as medals . It was very unfortunate the lady who wove such hundreds of stories had to end with Alzhmier, the world lost her in 1968, but she lives with us who grew up reading and reliving her books till today.