Day 21 – Favourite book from your childhood
This post is part of a month-long series of pre-dated posts running while I am on holiday. Feel free to comment, I’ll get back to you when I return!
Please note that any “reviews” I write here are simply my own opinion and that I am not doing any objective, informative reviews for this challenge. If there are any spoilers in a post, I will indicate it at the top.
I draw the book covers straight from Goodreads and you can click on the images to go to the book’s page on there.
I loved all Enid Blyton’s books as a child. I read them to pieces. Most of them I could recite by heart after only a glance at the page. Even if her plots were repetitive, even if I got lost somewhere in between the series sometimes, I still loved her stories. They were… just so full of sunshine and hope. They were so different from the world around us – more like utopian literature than anything else. As I said for yesterday’s post, that is definitely not what I want from books these days. I do not want them to present the ideal as the real. But as a child, that was exactly what I wanted and I still believe it is good for children to believe in sunshine and rainbows before the world messes them up.
I loved The Famous Five and I loved the Adventure-series. My other favourite Blyton book is The Land of Far-Beyond, her take on The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. I consider it an extremely significant book and wish it got more recognition nowadays. Wow, now I sound so old, hehe! I own The Pilgrim’s Progress actually and I even started to read it, but then I forgot about it again, which is a bit odd, seeing that I devoured the “children’s version”. I really must read it someday. Actually, nevermind The Pilgrim’s Progress and all those other books that I’ve bought and not read yet. Somedays all I want to do more than anything else in the world is re-read my Enid Blyton collection. But I’m scared as well. I’m scared that I will now suddenly start seeing flaws and the dullness that some people attribute to her stories. I’m scared that I will lose my golden view of Enid Blyton’s books if I read them again now. I’m scared that more of my childhood would be spoiled and I would do anything to prevent that. So maybe I should just leave those books where they are, live in the nostalgic memories and stick to my cynical fantasy where I belong these days.
But that is not what I am here to talk about today. I’m here to talk about the Blyton book that I picked out of the heap of favourites: The Valley of Adventure.
I’m not sure why I love this one most from all the Adventure-books. I believe this one was the first I read out of the series, even though it is not even close to being the first of the books, so that may have something to do with it. This was the first book where I was introduced to Philip, Jack, Dinah, Lucy-Ann and, of course, Kiki the parrot. It features a wrong aeroplane, a secret valley in Western Europe and, as most Blyton-books, children able to survive on their own. High adventure to a 12-year old. This is also the only Blyton-series where the characters were my age when I read the book. Most of her books features kids who were younger than I was when I read them. Obviously that drew me in like a magnet, because these fantastical escapades were all centred around people my age. These characters were my fictional friends. Where other people my age had Harry Potter and friends, I had these guys. (I only joined the Harry Potter bandwagon later.) Enid Blyton’s books formed the basis of my own desire to become a writer and my travel bug. So many scenes are described in her books that I got bitten by the travel bug early. I had to see places like this for myself. This Valley of Adventure specifically features Austria. So, when a few years ago I was privileged to visit Austria, I was eager to see if her scenes were just names, or if they were accurate descriptions of the real scenery. Well, I didn’t see much of Austria – it rained for about three days straight. But just having been there makes me feel closer to my favourite. Bring on the adventure!
Well, now I am at the end of this post and I noticed I’ve hardly said anything specific about The Valley of Adventure, but just waffled on in general about Enid Blyton’s books. Maybe that is appropriate. All Enid Blyton’s books are my favourite books from my childhood, not just one. I’ll never, ever forget those wonderful days, before growing up, with a Blyton-book in hand.
Tomorrow’s post is about my favourite book that I own.