Sunday, 17 October 2010

New Term at Malory Towers

Currently, my eldest (hereby to be referred to as 'Chatterbox') and I are reading through New Term at Malory Towers. These are sequels to the Malory Towers six part series written by the prolific children's book writer Enid Blyton. I'm sure most of you are at least familiar with her name if not her books.

The sequels are written by the author Pamela Cox. Chatterbox is thoroughly enjoying the book, but I have a few reservations. Firstly, the chapters are very long, about three times longer than in the Enid Blyton books. Enid Blyton books are divided up into short chapters, which are ideal for bedtime stories. Because the chapters are so long we often have to stop in the middle of the chapter because lights out time has arrived - this causes much a-weepin' and a-wailin' from Chatterbox. Lol. In addition, long chapters, in which an event has begun and finished take away the joy of the cliff hanger. In the original Malory Towers books we would finish a chapter on a cliff hanger and Chatterbox (and myself sometimes) would be really keen to know what happens next.

Secondly, Enid Blyton's books were very 1940s-50s in outlook. Ever so British. Stiff upper lip. Honesty and strength of character are lauded; deceitfulness and weakness were denounced. Fair play is the way to go. However, in these books the French mistresses regularly exclaim, "Mon Dieu!", which translated means, "My God!". I really don't remember using God's name in vain as being part of the Enid Blyton books. Also, we have just read a chapter where June plays a trick on Mamzelle Rougier the stern French mistress. She confuses the French mistress into believing that she has used too much vanishing cream and has actually vanished. The French mistress believing that she is being duped in some way by a trick hands out lines to all the girls for their part in the trick. However, on stepping out of the room to relay to Mamzelle Dupont, who has returned from the dentist to take over the class, she explains that June appears to have vanished, Mamzelle Dupont says perhaps she is imagining things because she is overtired because Mamzelle Dupont kept her awake all night moaning about her tooth ache (the mistresses share rooms). Overhearing this, June determines a way of getting out of punishment. On her return to the room all the girls blatantly lie that she has fallen asleep at her desk and dreamt the whole thing.

Of course, in the original Enid Blyton series tricks played on the mistresses are common and a fun part of the stories. But in none of them do I remember blatant lies being told in order to get out of a punishment.

Thirdly, the book is written about the school life of Darrell River's sister Felicity (Darrell being the heroine of the original series). The book starts in her Third year at Malory Towers. On arriving the girls find that a very unpopular girl, Veronica, has been kept down from moving up into the Fourth form. Instead of giving her a chance, as the characters in the original series would have done, they immediately gossip nastily about her and don't give her a fighting chance.

I don't really like these traits in the books. It's very subtle changes, but I suppose it reflects the decline in morals in this country! Lol, who'd have thought you could identify that from a child's book!

Hope you're having a great weekend.


  1. Enid Blyton, how I loved her books and I think I must have read everyone. The most loved author from my youth.
    I don't think any sequel writers ever manage to get the essence of the original author and who could equal Enid Blyton?
    It's a shame that the spirit of the original series isn't continued, as you say sadly it reflects the decline of morals today.
    I particularly liked the Adventure series, Castle of Adventure etc.
    Have you read those yet?
    Happy Monday,
    Eve x

  2. I love the Adventure series. I read them all as a child. Chatterbox and I have read The Castle of Adventure and the Island of Adventure and really enjoyed it.