03 November 2011

The greatest disappointment

I went shopping today.

I was going clothes shopping, but as invariably happens I got sidetracked by all the pretty books in the bookshop. And then I remembered that there is a new Jasper Fforde book out this month and the clothes were forgotten ...

Anyway, I came across the most wonderful sight whilst I was browsing: A large picture-book hardback version of the Magic Faraway Tree.

I was instantly besotted. It took me right back to a similar version I had growing up (I think that they just changed the cover and re-released the version I had as a child). I grabbed the book, all ready to buy it and put it aside for the grandchildren (perhaps not my own grandchildren, just some poor benighted souls who may not be exposed to the glorious wrongness of Enid) when I had the foresight to open it.

I was instantly confused. The story was about Joe, Beth, Frannie, and their cousin Rick. For a moment I thought that this was a new story or one about characters I had not come across before - I mean, Enid DID write well over 800 books, I may well have forgotten one or two. But then I realised what the abomination really was: it was a re-worked version.

Joe, Beth, Frannie, and their cousin Rick were the updated versions of Jo, Bessie, Fanny and Dick. Dame Slap became Dame Snap and no longer hits people (thus losing all of her menace).

It was terrible. My beautiful picture book had been vilely defaced. I'd heard about such a travesty occurring, but to see it was worse than heart-breaking. I departed that place, the burning gall of disappointment threatening to choke me as I went ...

Let me know if you have had similar disappointments with the works of the great lady.


  1. I know just what you mean. The far away tree books were my fav growing up and i did actually have the great fortune to find the original unabridged trilogy bound together a few years back. I really a shame to change them!
    BTW If you think that is bad have a look at the new famous five adventures on disney. It makes you die a little inside to see them using cell phones.

  2. When I was visiting my parents over the weekend, I took some pictures of my complete hardback set of the original Famous Five (my mum stole it back from me). It's stories like this that make me glad I grew up with the originals!

  3. I'm scared to look at the new edit of F5 books - I know they (again) changed the names (and the new names always just sound stupid) AND they changed the slang so that it wasn't so particular as to the era. But what is Enid without the slang? It's a large part of her charm? Sure she may be an advocate for racism, sexism, classism and all manner of other nastiness, but she advocates with such style!

    Anyway, sorry for such a dreadful post this week. I edited it, but there are probably still some mistakes - this is what I get for writing when I'm half asleep. Also, as I am heading off to Brisbane Supanova this weekend, I shan't be posting another chapter summary until at least Monday or Tuesday. So have a good weekend!

  4. I am always uncomfortable judging and ascribing thoughts, motives and feelings to historical figures, not only because they can't respond but also because it is being done through the prism of our current notions of morality and - dare I say it-- political correctness (although actions speak louder than words and to that extent judging political figures is fair game -- no way Hitler or Stalin could ever be judged as anything but monstrous sociopaths even if they were raised in dysfunctional families).

  5. Enid raised a dysfunctional family of her own. Read about her life- she really was a sociopath.