- Elizabeth’s parents are just … ARGH! They pack Elizabeth off to school like it’s a punishment, despite it being something they have clearly planned and researched to further her education (even the nanny knew and planned for her departure). Her mother tells her that she is being sent because she is spoilt, without ever acknowledging that the spoiling could only have been done by her (as the father is another of those absentee parents and never even appears in the story). THEN they can’t even be bothered to take Elizabeth to the train station (not the one in London where she catches the school train, THE LOCAL STATION from where she travels to London to get the school train). No wonder Elizabeth misses her pets so much.
- The nanny is a one note character who obviously cannot, and does not try to, manage a ten year old child. She dumps Elizabeth at the station just as her lack of child rearing skills becomes obvious and is never heard from again.
- The teachers at the school obviously skate through their jobs doing the bare minimum. The headmistresses actually say to Elizabeth’s face that if she misbehaves it won’t bother them. I really do picture them sitting around in their office with a bottle of wine constantly on the go.
09 May 2018
So as you would no doubt be aware, I have been away from this blog for quite a while. It may not surprise you that I have not picked up my copy of Naughtiest Girl in the School for a similar period of time. There is something of a consequence to that:
I’ve forgotten what has happened.
This is somewhat remarkable … as nothing really HAS happened in the story as yet. But I promised you a rant in the previous posts, and when I opened up the book to recommence my reading, I couldn’t for the life of me remember WHAT the rant was about. Then I read a couple of pages and remembered, but not in any great detail or with any great outrage. THEN I remembered that and I decided I had to go back and reread the story so far so that I could express my outrage.
But I’ll get there eventually, and I’ll bring you along for the ride. Because I am going to give you a half-time recap of the story, so you too can get a firm grip on the characters (or lack thereof) and the plot (…)
Really, you could just re-read the blog posts, and of course I recommend that too, but a big picture review might not be out of place right now.
So, let’s (re)begin.
Elizabeth, we are told, is naughty. I mean, it might just be that she’s never known appropriate behaviour, being sequestered from socialisation with other miniature humans for fear of contamination from “the wrong sort” of the aforementioned other miniature humans. Or it might be that the full-sized humans do not understand that they cannot expect miniature humans to behave like the full-sized ones during their miniature phase, and thus the full-sized humans find the miniature human to be defective. Anyway, the defective miniature human is defective, and the full sized ones decide that the best way to inculcate them into the ways of the full-sized humans is to send the miniature human to an institution. And they will go on a holiday. Because that’s how this all works.
Understandably, the miniature human is distressed by this traumatic change thrust on her, without the benefit of time to assist in the adjustment of her mindset. She’s packed off to the institution, while the parental units go away somewhere “for a year” (but that is undercut later when Enid forgot what the parents were actually doing), which turns out to be a Lord of the Flies-esque nightmare. Anyway, miniature human behaves in ways that other miniature humans take exception to and treat Elizabeth as a social undesirable, and is about to fall foul of the Rules of the institution, despite being informed that there really are no Rules at the institution …
And that’s it so far. Here’s what I noted:
Upon re-reading, I really was struck by the complete abdication of responsibility shown by ALL the adults:
Also, the children are frightful oiks. I mean they are, really, truly dreadful little prigs. I almost wish Elizabeth achieves her goal and gets kicked out of the school, rather than become like them.
One thing did strike me, however, which was a pleasant surprise. I realised what this story REALLY was. Who Elizabeth REALLY is:
She is Gwendoline, if Gwen had been the heroine of Malory Towers. Seriously. She is the pretty spoilt brat who no one really likes or gives much of a chance to after an awkward beginning. Of course, Enid can’t bring herself to write a story about a proper underdog, so she just has to be pretending not to be the right sort, and so redeemable, but this fresh insight gives me a bit of a soft spot for the old girl.
And that’s it for the moment. It’s a fairly short recap made up of many words that don’t convey much. However, I DID remember what my rant was about.
It was about “poor” Joan.
More on that later. The blood, it boils again.