07 December 2010

Parole - Malory Towers wrap up

Well, these six books seemed to take a great deal longer to review than I expected them to. I have, however, been paroled from Malory Towers Correctional Facility and am now free to explore other areas of Blytonia.

I just wanted to write briefly a word of warning to the unwary who wish to seek out the treasures that are MT. It seems as though the publishers are not content with leaving well enough alone. They’ve committed a travesty against the work of Blyton - by writing sequels.

Yes, children, Hodder got Pamela Cox (a serial Blyton sequel offender) to write a set of books following June and Felicity through their MT careers. The stories follow similar themes as Blyton's, which is disturbing as they were written in 2009. you know the type of thing: girl is ashamed of her working class relatives/circus performer grandmother/trained chimp brother. Enid could (just) get away with that rubbish; Pamela Cox – no.

On a more disturbing note, the German translation has twelve sequels, which follow Darrell into her adult life. She comes back to the school as a teacher, marries her old German teacher (alarm bells should be going off right about now) becomes the matron then later the Headmistress (when La Grayling gets hit by a car – Hooray!). I’ve only read the Wikipedia summaries and I feel a shudder going through me at the very thought of these books. It’s like reading the sequels to Heidi (I don’t suggest you do that unless you have a sugar deficiency). GAH!

Anyway, after that Public Service announcement, I shall move on to other counties in Enid’s Blytonia. The ever-wonderful Amelia Jane is the next series that I will tackle, amongst my packing and moving (who moves over Christmas? If I had my way, not ME), but first I shall take a break from Enid and we will have a quick romp through the wonderful/irritating Anne of Green Gables …

7 comments:

  1. Those sequels sound utterly horrible.

    Huzzah for new things! I'm really looking forward to reading the pieces you have planned for the future. :)

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  2. Me too - I love Anne of Green Gables and Amelia Jane is one of my favourite non-human Blyton characters.

    "Shan't!" said Amelia Jane, rudely.

    Gold.

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  3. Wait - wasn't her former German teacher the guy who sat in the invisible chalk and walked around all day with a ring on his butt? So much wrong here . . . .

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  4. No, that was the singing master. I get the feeling that the German version took liberties with the genders of the characters ... it sounds like Miss Potts or something like that is this German teacher ... so so wrong.

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  6. I came across your blog completely by accident and subsequently spend a good hour or so weeping with laughter over my keyboard.

    You've articulated everything I'd ever idly thought about Malory Towers (the glaring plot devices, the rampant casual bigotry, the heavy handed life lessons) and everythng I never thought but now feel slightly stupid for not having noticed (the manipulative cultishness, the importance of loyalty to 'the Regime', the frankly appalling treatment of poor Gwen!).

    I must admit I don't feel totally deprogrammed yet.. There were definitely points in my reading where I'd laugh at something (like my sudden realisation that actually yes, Darrell is THE single most boring protagonist in the history of English literature) and then feel terribly guilty. It's a bit like finding out that a doddery, aging relative has been lying to you for decades. You want to be annoyed, but they look so helpless and they were always so nice to you as a child, so you keep pretending to believe their claims to have arm-wrestled Winston Churchil or supped tea with the Queen mother.

    Also, I found those 90s covers fascinating and bizarre. I had editions from the early 80s, which had pretty accurate depictions of MT (http://tiny.cc/uws1a). Including, of course, the fetching brown and orange uniform. The idea that anyone would revamp the covers for the 90s and try to make these books seem cool (or in any way relevant to people not living in the 50s) is pretty hilarious..

    Anyway, I realise this is an exceptionally long and rambling comment but the basic gist is I'm hopelessly inculcated but very much enjoyed your hilarious deprogramming efforts. Roll on Amelia Jane!

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  7. The German teacher (no, he's not a transgendered Miss Potts!) doesn't show up until the sequels, the first of which take place in some sort of junior college that is affiliated with MT. That's where Klaus (or whatever his name is) teaches.

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