23 Sep 2017



BACK COVER BLURB: The naughtiest girl in the school is back! And this term she's trying to be good.

But someone wants to spoil things for her. And they're not going to let her forget how she got her nickname.

FIRST SENTENCE {1. BACK AT WHYTELEAFE}: Elizabeth was excited.

MEMORABLE RANDOM MOMENT* {PAGE 77}: Kathleen took out the book and opened it at the place where the work had been done. She dipped a pen in the ink - and then she made three large blots on the page by shaking hard.

SOURCE: Ex-library stock.

READ FOR: The 16th of 24 books read for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2017.

MY THOUGHTS: Given that my childhood had been spent reading, amongst many, many other books, The Faraway Tree series (in the days when Fanny was not yet Frannie, Dame Slap not yet Dame Snap) and, to a lesser extent, the Famous Five and Secret Seven books, I was rather surprised when I came across this book, the second of what I believe to be a series of four, that had obviously passed me by ... until now.

Arguably reading a book 'meant' for children as an adult is different to reading that book as a child and, yes, we may not feel the same magic we might once have felt but then many so-called children's books are loved no matter what the age of the reader. 

OK, so a story about friendship, of doing the right thing but ...

With concerns of the author's works being sexist, xenophobic, racist ... the list goes on ... going back to before I was reading the books in the early/mid-seventies. Set in a boarding school, it has nothing to do with the fact that this isn't Harry Potter and everything to do with the fact that, whilst I can't say I particularly picked up on any of these criticisms, I found the writing sloppy and unimaginative, the story terribly outdated (arguably not surprising given its original publication date of 1942), the characters unbearably pretentious. 

* Having tired of the post-it-notes marking my Memorable Moment (MM), I decided to go hi-tech (at least hi-tech for me) and make a note of my MM using the Notebook on my mobile phone. Alas too clever, I somehow or other managed to delete it hence, for the moment, my Random Moment. TT


Kelly said...

Enid Blyton is one of those authors that must not have made it to this side of the world... at least not that I ever came across in my childhood.

So many books (and authors) we loved as children no longer pass the "political correctness" test, which can be both a good and a bad thing.

(I still say get a small notebook or notepad to keep along side what you're currently reading in order to make note of those MMs.)

Tracy Terry said...

Hi Kelly, I can thoroughly understand why Enid Blyton was never really big in America as she is very English in a way that other English authors perhaps others ... If that makes any kind of sense.

With regard to my use of a notebook: I had tried that in the past but it never seemed to be where I needed it, (unlike my phone where I tended to record my Memorable Moment electronically) and carrying it around was difficult because of my need for crutches. Anyway, long story cut short, you'll be pleased to know my MM will resume soon.

Brian Joseph said...

This sounds like a great thing for children to read.

There are indeed sexist, xenophobic, racist books out there. There are also a lot of false accusations that books are sexist, xenophobic and racist.

Anonymous said...

Here in The Netherlands, some of the series
by Enid Blyton were translated in Dutch, like
for instance the "Adventure Series". In the
early seventies I read "The Castle of Adventure".
The characters did not appeal to me but I appreciated
the mysterious castle. But Enid Blyton is not one
of my favourite authors.

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Tracy, I smiled when I read what you said about The Faraway Tree Series – I just love those books! I was and still am an Enid Blyton fan, and yet I’ve never read any of The Naughtiest girl books either. I sold lots of them when I was trading, but I never felt the desire to read them, whereas I could not resist The Famous Five or The Adventure Series.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I have to admit the fact that the author is likely a xenophobe and a racist makes me want to give it a hard pass. I just won't support it but it also sounds like it didn't work as a children's book anyway. I think classics cross time. Brilly review.

Suko said...

Tracy I always appreciate and count on your honesty. I think I will pass on this one.