A massive welcome today to Zoe from Bookhi! I absolutely adore Zoe - she's super sweet and is great fun to chat with. And if you don't follow her blog, you really should.
I'm really in awe of teenage book bloggers like Zoe, I really am. She's reading teen books actually aimed at her age demographic and writes intelligent reviews and also interviews authors. I really admire her for her dedication to book blogging and wish I'd started at her age as well. So, seriously, go check out Zoe's blog, Bookhi.
A big thank you to Clover for letting me guest post for British Month! I am Zoe from the blog, Bookhi (www.bookhi.blogspot.com) and I am going to talk to all today about the one and only, Enid Blyton.
I suppose on a YA blog, Enid Blyton isn’t exactly the equivalent of L.A Weatherly, or Stephanie Meyer, or Lauren Oliver. But I am sure a lot of readers out there might have picked up an Enid Blyton book or at least heard of her.
For those of you unaware of this author, (where have you been?!) she is a talented author from the 1950s. Her books are still read today even after her death in 1968. Overall, she has written approximately 7500 books –yes, you heard me right! Of course, it depends what you mean by ‘books’. Blyton wrote many short stories, poems and non-fiction textbooks too:
235 character books
884 short story series books
267 education books
179 recreation books
164 continuation books
284 Enid Blyton contributions
I am going to talk (type) to you today about her works, life and how she influenced me. Despite her having a hard life growing up, she managed to entertain and inspire readers from all around the globe.
Enid spent her childhood in Kent, with her parents and two brothers. She seemed to get along
better with her father, as they shared the same interests. Together they enjoyed nature rambles, gardening, the theatre, art, music and literature.
Her mother was not as creative and artistic and encouraged Enid to help with the housework. Her mother gave the boys a lot more freedom, which Enid resented. Her mother did not understand her passion for reading and writing, and did not approve of Enid and her father’s activities. From the age she was able to hold a pen, she was always writing stories. In senior school, her and her friends created their own magazine, Dab, and she wrote short stories for it.
Due to her parents having little in common, they began to get on each others nerves and argue more often. They had frequent violent rows and Enid and her siblings began to get more and more distressed. When Enid turned thirteen, her parents separated. As time carried on, Enid’s self esteem was affected as she believed her father’s departure had been a rejection on her personally. When she got married, she had difficulty conceiving a baby and was found to have an under-developed uterus; equivalent of girls of aged thirteen. It is suggested that the trauma of her parents divorce may have had a long-term effect on her physical as well as her emotional development.
Deprived of her father’s inspiration and support, Enid is now firmly under her mother’s control. She locked herself in her bedroom and wrote stories endlessly. She sent her poems and stories off to magazines and newspapers in hope to have them published. However, she still received hundreds of rejection slips. Her mother insisted that her works were a “waste of time and money”. If she believed that, just think – none of her writing would have existed today...
Before becoming a full-time author, Enid was a teacher. She was known as an energetic and inventive teacher that didn’t put children down to achieve their dreams.
HOW SHE INFLUENCED ME
Enid Blyton influenced me in a simple (but brilliant) way – she introduced me to reading. Well, not so much introduced, but more encouraged. I loved her books, ever since I began my first – a second-hand Secret Seven copy that my Mum read when she was a little girl. I loved the adventures the children had; the magic, fun and creativity Blyton had poured into the stories.
I felt like I connected to the characters in some way that books hadn’t really done to me before. Yes, I liked reading, but I didn’t really think of it as a proper hobby. I adored the adventures her characters experienced and the little secrets they held.
I can’t really pick my favourite – but me and my sister love, love, love The Faraway Tree Collection. I even wrote a short story of it continued, to pick up where the characters left off! The Secret Seven books are fantastic, but then so are Famous Five, and The Adventure Of ... series. Malory Towers are probably my favourites out of them all though.
What are your favourite books by her when you were a child?
HER BOOKS TODAY
Lots of things are different of course since the 1950s – fashion, ways of life, technology. Publishers had to make the stories appeal to children of this generation. When I was little, I found it hard to get used to this ‘old fashioned talk’! The covers have modernised and certain things in the books have changed. For example, in today’s world in would be unacceptable for the boys to have adventures and the girls to do the chores – a lot of the past-sexist things have now been changed in her books.
Maybe this post has interested you, maybe it hasn’t. When Clover e-mailed me about British Month, I immediately began to think of British authors. J.K Rowling is of course a big one, but I then thought about various different children authors that have developed for years and still popular. I think most writers hope to be remembered for as long as Enid Blyton, and even though she had a tough childhood she managed to succeed this.
What do you think?
The Enid Blyton Website: http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/