I’ve been re-reading a couple of my old childhood favourites, and have been fascinated by how much life has changed since Enid Blyton’s times.
Take the “Adventurous Four”. I picked up a copy of the edition I owned as a child, from an antique shop (yeah, let’s not go there …) and devoured it within a day. But at the same time, I picked up on many things I didn’t notice all those years ago.
For example, I never realised this book was set during the Second World War. When I claim that I have always hated “war stories” or movies, I’m actually lying. Because this was indeed a war story, and I loved it. The children stumble on a secret island base of “the enemy” – a euphemism for the Nazis. Both submarines and seaplanes would stop and refuel at this island, close to the British coast. Easy to shrug our shoulders now … but back then that was pretty much the height of technology! How exciting to see both submarines and seaplanes!
Signs We’re Not In Enid Blyton Land Anymore …
But what really got me was the freedom the young characters had.
- Would any parent nowadays let a two boys of 14 and 12, and two 10 year old girls, go away by themselves for a weekend of camping? Let alone sail away to a deserted island? I Must Confess: I always thought Andy had a bit of “thing” for Jill (or was it Mary?)! Which, as a parent now myself, would have been a dead set worry!
- Quite apart from that – would the kids even want to go? After all, there’s no wifi on deserted islands!
It was a very different world back then! In Enid Blyton land:
- it never even crossed our mind that characters like Mr Pinkwhistle, Noddy and Big Ears might be gay (not that it matters);
- we didn’t care if Golliwogs were black;
- helpful adult characters – such as Tammylan – were just that, instead of immediately being suspected of being possible pedophiles;
- most problems were solved with a nice hot comforting cup of cocoa;
- when the circus came to town, it was celebrated, instead of targetted by animal rights protesters;
- and nobody raised an eyebrow at names like Dick and Fanny.
What do you miss most about the days when you first read Enid Blyton?\
Linking up with My Home Truths.