This Wednesday marks the fiftieth anniversary of Enid Blyton’s death. She died on November 28th, 1968 at the age of 71.
As a child I just assumed she was still around, still writing, as I received new books for birthdays and Christmases. Being young and not yet having a great concept of how old my mum was or indeed how old the books she passed to me were (I didn’t read any boring parts like the publisher or published date!) it didn’t strike me as unlikely that an author would have written a Famous Five book in 1942 and more in the mid 1990s. Although some of the language was old fashioned the stories themselves were pretty timeless and to me, felt like they could have been freshly penned.
When I found out the truth I felt equal parts silly and upset. My favourite author was gone, she had died long before I was even born. That expanse of time between us was the worst bit – we had felt so close before. I got over it, though, mostly by throwing myself into reading all the books of hers that I possessed. She wrote so many that there are still a huge number I don’t have, more than I could hope for from any living author today.
So here’s to Enid Blyton, gone but never forgotten.
Inscriptions in books: It’s not hers, it’s mine!
November round up
The Family at Red Roofs is a heart-warming tale of a family rallying together during hard times. The Jackson family have two disasters in a short space of time – Mother is taken very ill and Father is lost when his ship sinks in the Atlantic. Mollie, Peter, Michael and Shirley, along with their housekeeper Jenny Wren somehow keep everything ticking over and paid for while Mrs Jackson recuperates and Mr Jackson is searched for.
Pat – and Isabel as you can’t have one without the other – O’Sullivan are the twins from which The Twins at St Clare’s gets its name. They are, to start with, snobbish and full of the idea that they are important somebodies. Attending St Clare’s rather quickly teaches them that they are actually rather nobodies. They don’t reach the rebellious heights of the bold, bad girl Elizabeth Allen but they don’t ingratiate themselves at first with the other St Clare’s girls. Pat in particular refuses to cow to the orders of the older girl.
Like Elizabeth they do both come around in the end and settle into life at St Clare’s, making lots of friends along the way.