Monday, May 11, 2015

The Mystery of the Disappearing Enid Blyton

I love reading, and growing up I had a library of books at home. Unlike many others, I can actually pinpoint the first book that I read which would make me fall in love with reading itself.

The Mystery of the Invisible Thief, by Enid Blyton. I still have my copy from 1989, back when I was still in primary school. It opened an amazing world to me - kids my age having adventures, going places by themselves, solving mysteries and having a "smashing time" that I could only dream of. It also helped that this was one of the best books from Blyton's best series - The 5 Find Outers - so before long I was rushing off to finish other books from other series such as The Famous Five and The Secret Seven.

I recently started to commute to work by public transit, after a decade of driving to work. The long time spent on the bus and subway meant I had to fill that with something (other than sleep!), so I returned to an old love - books. And I managed to dig out my old collection of Blyton novels and especially the 5 Findouter series. And the books are perfect for my hour long commute. Enough time (to and from work) to finish one book!

Enid Blyton was one prolific writer. Everyone of us who grew up in the Middle East in the 80s and 90s grew up reading her books. From Malory Towers (oh my God school can be this fun?), Noddy (really for kids but so funnily politically incorrect now), the fantasy Faraway Tree series, as well as her Adventure and Mystery series of books. My favourite - of course - remains the 5 Findouters.

Not only was she a fun and easy read for young children, but boy she was hilarious as well. These are excerpts from the Mystery of the Strange Bundle.

It was all I could do to stop myself from bursting out into uncontrollable laughter on the subway. I am sure my co-passengers would have reported a crazy 30+ year old man reading children's books and laughing like a madman, but this was how funny that book was.

In fact, one lady seating beside me once suddenly told me, "Wow! Enid Blyton! You don't see those books here now!"

And that was what led me to post this - I wonder why. Why do kids nowadays not have the same pleasure we had of reading Enid Blyton's books? Why is she hardly known amongst children today? My mom used to read her books as a child, and so did all my teachers, and then so did I and all my friends and cousins. If Twilight is what young kids read nowadays, I feel sorry for this generation.


Anonymous said...

I love Enid Blyton! And I don't know why she died out - even the kids who read these days (a rare breed!) haven't heard of her. Looking forward to introducing them to my son!


Ravi Krishna said...

There was Hardy Boys too, very enjoyable.

mezba said...

Amna, yes, I too hope to introduce Blyton to my kids. She really knew how to fire up one's imagination!

nadia said...

Books by Enid Blyton were the first ones I had as a kid. I remember that my parents bought me a set of books from the St. Clare's series (and I would imagine myself living in that dorm). Then I graduated to reading Nancy Drew after that.

I believe love for books starts at home. Kids should be able to see grown ups reading and enjoying books, and making bedtime story reading part of daily routine.

mezba said...


Kids should be able to see grown ups reading

Absolutely. This is why I decided we need a small reading room in our new place.

Vidhya K said...

Even if they're not known in the West, Enid Blyton still enjoys tremendous popularity in India. At the Crossword bookstore in my neighbourhood, Blyton gets an entire wall in the children's section.