Talk About Blyton!

Unlisted - Enid Blyton in general – Hormones and Blyton's Books

September 4, 2009 – EnidFan says: I found this in Wikipedia: "The seemingly perpetual youth of the Famous Five who experience a world of seemingly endless summers while not ageing significantly has been highlighted by a number of contemporary children's fiction authors as an influence upon their own work. J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series of books has been quoted as saying of the titular character: "in book four the hormones are going to kick in - I don't want him stuck in a state of permanent pre-pubescence like poor Julian in the Famous Five!" My question is: did you care that EB didn't show her characters falling in love or would you have preferred it if she did?
September 4, 2009 – rogoz says: Three thoughts : Blyton only set out to write 6 Famous Five books so the formula wasn't changed later on [ although Anne grows up more than most ] and, it's doubtful Blyton was capable of writing for teens above age 12 or, possibly, saw the market as too tough. After Blyton, readers could switch to Mills and Boon [ est. 1908 ] for teen romance.
September 4, 2009 – Anonymous says: I would've preferred them falling in love and starting puberty, because without it they just don't seem human. Even in the other series, no-one's ever mentioned a crush or maybe a period or something like that - it's actually a little annoying. But I supppose such things are missed because her books are aimed at children below 12 years who probably believe such things aren't important.
September 5, 2009 – EnidFan says: When I was less than 10 reading these books I would probably have gone eeewww at thought of anyone falling in love, but as I grew up, I would have preferred the characters growing with me. Also, I don't think M and B type romances are for everyone. I personally find them cloying and boring. I like the way Rowling dealt with it - with large doses of humour. What do other people think?
September 6, 2009 – rogoz says: The difference between teen and pre-teen writing is pretty vast and had Blyton gone on to the teen romance market, she would have followed her pattern of simply creating new characters and storylines for a different age group. The fickle nature of reader taste means she would have been crazy to change a successful series like the Famous Five. Authors don't know in advance which books will be winners and I suppose we all know J. K. R was rejected by 12 publishers - so they don't know much either.
September 7, 2009 – Alicia says: Mills and Boons is quite annoying and a poor replacement for Enid Blyton books. I find the romance in it - as EnidFan put it - cloying.
September 7, 2009 – Nigel Rowe says: Heaven be praised that Enid never went down this road. Just imagine soppy romantic drivel being churned out at the rate of knots. Lets stick with adventures, mysteries, villains and massive high-teas!
Fatty says... Fatty says: There's a lot of talk about food here at the moment - I'm feeling ravenous. Bets, I'm off to the Dairy!
September 8, 2009 – Alicia says: Nigel, I don't see exactly how Anne saying "Oh, isn't that boy simply dashing!" be considered "soppy romantic drivel being churned out at the rate of knots". It couldn't hurt.
Fatty says... Fatty says: Oh, I don't know, I think I'm with Nigel on this one. If you want romance, you can always read Barbara Cartland! ;-)
September 8, 2009 – EnidFan says: Well, Barbara Cartland *is* drivel! :-) and that is not what many/most people want. I think the point Alicia is making is similar to "anonymous" - that some evidence of hormonal changes would be "normal" and makes them appear more human. Would you consider Harry Potter in the same league as Barbara Cartland? I don't. And yet Rowling writes about hormonal changes in the adolescents in her books.
September 9, 2009 – Alicia says: EnidFan, I think that would be because Anonymous and I am the SAME person [Yes, I'm stupid enough to not fill in my name=]. But Barbara Cartland? I have to agree with Enidfan on this one.
September 9, 2009 – rogoz says: Blyton doesn't use terms like ' hormonal changes ' in the 1940s but she makes clear Julian and Dick have become much bigger / stronger and that Anne can be quite a feisty handful - a Captain of Games no less. If that's too subtle for you, then it's off to Mills and Boo-oo-on!
September 9, 2009 – Alicia says: What about George then rogoz? And it's not just the FF, what about the Mystery series? Apparently Fatty's the only one with hormonal changes - subtle ones at that too. Or Malory Towers and St. clare's?
September 9, 2009 – rogoz says: In the last book, Georgina must have had her share of Weeties as she pushed two villains off a cliff in a badly worked plot. I only ever looked at the Famous Five and won't comment on her other stuff except to say it's spurious to criticize Blyton for what she didn't write. Wanna-be authors lost no time carrying on where she left off, as the blogs here will tell you.
September 11, 2009 – Enidfan says: Rogoz, two things: Most well known authors come under critical scrutiny for what they wrote as well as what they omitted (look at any foreward/intro to a classic and you will see what I mean). It is not meant to be insulting. In fact it shows the calibre of the writer that the readers are able to engage with and think about what has been written. Two, your example of blogs and sequels is ill-chosen. So many people in these forums seem to want to speculate on who each character in the different series ended up with - there is a whole thread devoted to the sexual orientation of George Kirrin for heaven's sake. I think Blyton over-estimated the na´vete and innocence of her readers.
September 12, 2009 – rogoz says: Critics mostly condemned Blyton because she fell outside their rulebook of narrative fiction. That's their first mistake - they think they wrote the rules! Oh dear! Meanwhile, Blyton made an astute commercial case for presenting simple stories without the realistic complications and I'm sure she wouldn't give a hoot that it's still not called Literature [ in literary circles ] Secondly, I applaud the bloggers for extending the Famous Five in Fanciful Frolics - I await Georgina getting a motorcycle on her 18th birthday, and sidecar for the dog, but no one's thought of it yet. Are they not slow? This site of course only covers a tiny subset of post-Blyton; there are films, musicals, satires, games, whole novels by Claude Voilier - Golly! I only scratched the surface!
September 12, 2009 – Felicity says: I cannot think that the non-aging children are worth more than a passing amused comment. Most healthy people don't feel as though we age much, we are always about 18 on the inside. The same time-line problems applies to TV series, especially those where the actors age, but the supposedly immortal characters don't! It has often seemed to me that new "partners" alter friendships adversely, perhaps the FF and the FFandD, etc, are the luckiest of us all. And if I want realism, I'll watch the news! I want secret passages, and waterfalls and comfy caves - and good morals and honour and all that "old-fashioned" stuff!
February 22, 2015 – Evie M says: Let's just put it like this: would you rather read about children solving mysteries and having adventures, or adults? I think I'd choose to read about children. And as for romance, EB books are good enough with that soppy rubbish.
February 6, 2018 – Paul says: Blyton's teenagers are often criticized by the media for seemingly never reaching puberty - JK Rowling also remarked about this with regard to Julian Kirrin - but I doubt Enid's target audience wanted to be reminded of that first bra or (if male) facial hair.
Daisy says... Daisy says: It's all about reading a good book such matters don't come into it as far as I'm concerned. I just want to read a good story!!
February 9, 2018 – Nigel says: I don't know about bras or beards, but I enjoy the developing friendship and romance between David and Petronella (Peter) in Malcolm Saville's 'Lone Pine Club' adventures. Unlike the Kirrins, they weren't all related, so such developments were possible. The time line was absurd really, as they all aged but more or less in the same time era. Not that that mattered to the reader.

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