11th August 2015 marked Enid Blyton’s birthday. We meant to put up a post in honor of the greatest children’s storyteller, but the person in charge of that got a little lazy and fell behind schedule. Well, *ahem*.
Before Harry Potter released and held the world captive until the young boy wizard finally defeated Lord Voldemort once and for all – my imagination was completely dominated by all the stories by Enid Blyton. I had been kept away from reading other teenage series like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I had been convinced by my sister that children who read Enid Blyton grew up to read and classics such as Pride and Prejudice and Little Women. But the ones who read Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries would grow up and read Sidney Sheldon. (Of course, I have nothing against Sidney Sheldon – and I grew up to both read and appreciate his novels. In fact, I remember staying up all night to finish Tell Me Your Dreams since I just had to get to the bottom of the mystery.)
Unlike my friends, I had skipped the series dedicated to preschool goers gone straight to reading Famous Five, Secret Seven, Five Find-Outers and Dog, and The Adventure Series. And I loved reading the boarding school series of Malory Towers, St. Claire’s and The Naughtiest Girl in the School series (which had four books written by Blyton, and was later continued by Anne Digby.)
What I loved most about these series was the realistic depiction of children’s lives with just a smidge of the unusual. I loved that Blyton wrote about children who loved holiday time more than school time and vice versa. She never tried to put her characters in boxes. Of course, her characters always stayed children. In an interview, J.K. Rowling had pointed out that none of the children ever grew up in the Blyton series. The only time the ‘grownup’ future was mentioned in the Famous Five series was when Anne was told that she would make someone a good housewife someday in the distant future when she cooked a nice meal for the five.
I guess the whole point of making sure that the children in her books remained children was to give the real children something to relate to. Some of the problems that children face have been discussed in her books. Like, what actually causes sibling rivalries, for children to become selfish and play mean tricks on paper. It certainly helped me when I was a struggling pre-teen.
Of course, by the time I turned twelve the Harry Potter series had caused a world phenomenon. I was lucky enough to have grown up with Harry Potter – relating his changing world to mine.
But Enid Blyton books continue to be my source of comfort after a particularly long, hard day when all I want is to go back to being a kid and the only thing I would worry about was finishing homework on time and the problems I had were solved in Math class!
BY: ANIESHA BRAHMA
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