Not So Jolly

I’ve been re-reading Enid Blyton for book club. Now of course, Enid Blyton is full of happy jolly kids having lots of fun and adventures and completely ignoring the adults, whilst at the same time eating masses of food (she was writing during and just after rationing, so the idea of not only getting enough to eat but wonderfully rich food to eat is pure wish fulfilment)

But as I read it, I noticed just a thread of sorrow. Just a line here and there hinting this world isn’t all bright and sunny. I’ve noticed this in other of her books, usually the Barney Mysteries. There’s a hint of tragedy, a twist of darkness, an unexpected touch of pain. Of course, Enid Blyton was writing for children who, like herself, had just been through a devastating world war.

But it’s something I never noticed as a child. As an adult, when I read the books I read as a child, I find all sorts of things I never noticed before. Wind in the Willows and Enid Blyton and Alice in Wonderland are full of themes and messages and details that washed over me as a child – but as an adult it gives me a whole new understanding of the books.

Can I suggest you go back and read your childhood books? Not just to recapture your childhood but to see it with whole new eyes, see the story behind the bright happy tale, those little touches you never noticed before.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

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