Friday, July 23, 2010

Fabbo Friday and Fab Flick Enid

This is the first movie I've ever watched that I had taped to view later and straight after viewing it ordered from Amazon. It was always going to be a winner with me for the following reasons.
Helena Bonham Carter.
Enid Blyton.
The frocks. Yes, I know thanks to the post on The Washerwoman's Blog that they're not authentic vintage and are Cath Kidston's but I still loved them.
The mystery of what was the 'truth' in the Enid Blyton story.
Enid Blyton’s two daughters, Imogen and Gillian, tell vastly different stories of their mother. They may as well be describing different women. I found that idea so fascinating that it formed quite a large part of the plot of my mystery novel, Poets Cottage. I've always been interested in families’ varying points of view and how that can shape and alter future events . The family unit is such a potent dynamic to work with even when things seem to be in balance - when they're not, it's gold for a Tale Peddler.
The Scribe loathed the character of Enid in the film and some of the scenes are painful to watch. In particular, the scene where Enid has her tiny fans around to enjoy romps and a Blyton tea whilst her banished daughters look on from a distance longingly.
It's interesting to know that the film had to wait to be made until Gillian (daughter who always loved and supported her mother) had died. This left more control to Imogen (daughter who was much harsher in her judgements of Enid).
I am far more forgiving of Enid than the Scribe, who wasn't raised on a diet of Blyton books as I was.
I adored Enid with a passion that I still have to this day. I get misty-eyed thinking of midnight suppers in boarding schools, scummy food with chocolate cake, boiled eggs and lashings of ginger beer. Rabbits holding cosy tea-parties in trees. Fairies hiding in dolls-houses. Talking tea-pots, smugglers, gypsies, wishing-chairs, French-mistresses, argumentative teddy bears. spoilt children and Cherry-tree farm. When I see the words Kirren Island, my heart gives an excited thump.
She gave my childhood (which wasn't always idyllic) some magic, mystery and excitement.
Enid knew full well the power she had on young minds around the world. She took that responsibility seriously. One of the great things about being a mother is I get to revisit all the Blyton worlds and watch my daughter falling under the Blyton spell. Daisy has adored her books from about two. There isn't another storyteller who holds her interest as much as Enid Blyton.
I have no doubt that Enid neglected something to enable her prolific writing (about 700 books in all).
Which raises another question I've been musing over - do you neglect your own children if you know you can make millions of children around the world more joyful, imaginative and caring beings? Which legacy is ultimately more important if you are a writer who has this talent to awaken the imaginative mind?
Have you seen Enid? Let me know if you have what you thought of it. Love or Loathe Enid Blyton? I thought Helena was inspired casting for Blyton. She's English to the core and watching her walk, the manner in which she spoke to people in the film – it was very true of a lot of writers I've met.
Here's a link to a newspaper article on this topic. There was a rather good article on this on the UK Telegraph several years ago but it's been removed.
And my favourite new Blog for the week is a Swedish woman by the name of Chez Larsson. She has a stupendous Blog if you are interested in organising, culling and making life neater around you. I badly need her services. Her post on magazines was particularly impressive. Here's a link.
Signing off for another week with the incredible duo of Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp.
Enjoy your weekend. Hope it is filled with family, fun and lashings of ginger beer. xx
"Mothers were much too sharp. They were like dogs. Buster always sensed when anything was out of the ordinary, and so did mothers. Mothers and dogs both had a kind of second sight that made them see into people's minds and know when anything unusual was going on." (The Mystery of the Hidden House.) - Enid Blyton
images of enid film source
johnny depp and vanessa source


  1. That's a big question! My head can't handle it right now. It'll give me something to ponder on...I think Helena Bonham Carter is amazing too! I definately want to see that film.
    Ginger beer hmmm, now there's another thought...Hope you have a great weekend too. xo

  2. i love the look of the costumes in that film, authentic or not, and the colours. oh, your question is such a big one. i'd find it hard to condone anyone to neglect their children, however i also understand how it could happen. terribly sad for the children, though as you say, everyone in a family has their own take on things and their own baggage. i did enjoy the odd blyton read as a child, but didn't read all her books. now, to neglect my own children and head off to chez larsson ...

  3. Ginger beer I just love with a passion. I remember when my mother made it. I use to go behind her back and addmore ginger. Even now I just love that fiery stuff. You never change though the true romantic through and through lol have a great weekend.

  4. Ah! So you finally got to see this! I remember writing about it quite a while ago...It was a very interesting film. I never grew up with Enid - I only ever read one of her books - which I regret but I still enjoyed finding out about her. xxx

  5. I am so with you. She made my childhood happy too (not to say it wasn't otherwise) I love her books and have read 99% I am sure.

    I MUST get that film.

    Kirrin Island. Oh my.

  6. omg, I need to find this movie! Her books made me dream as a child and I definitely wanna see Helena's potrayal of Enid:)

    Oh my, the costumes are absolutely gorgeous too!

  7. Oh yes Enid Blyton was one of the best story tellers.
    I wonder if there is any child who has not read the books.
    Am always reminded of Mr Goon in Famous Five.

  8. I would say it's far too big a price to pay, to inflict psychological and emotional damage on your own children for the sake of your art. It reminds me of several well known psychotherapists who did the same - how ironic is that. There are plenty of writers/artists/therapists who manage motherhood as well as their careers - I'm one of them. And while I loved reading Blyton as a child, I actually think she really missed lots of very fundamental aspects of children and childhood - and that really shows in her writing. There is so much anger in it. So many angry characters.... so much pettiness and nastiness. My eldest son had nightmares while we were reading The Magic Faraway Tree and often commented on all the angry pixies etc. It made me see Blyton from a whole new perspective. I'd love to see this film though - being English I love watching English movies!

  9. Can't read your next post about Kate - keeps rejecting me - saying you don't exist! :( xxx

  10. I don't like to dis Enid from an adult perspective, it's too easy. What I like to remember is the joy and inspiration her books gave me as a child. Her books had a hypnotic effect on me and transported me to a world way beyond 60s rural suburbia. They encouraged me to believe there was so much more to look forward to. By age nine my friends and I had even formed our own Famous Five. We were called EPIC, the Extraordinary Private Investigation Club. Gosh we had such jolly adventures...some of which even involved caravans and lavish picnics!

  11. I need something nostalgic like this to take me back.....Thanks so much for your kind words on my blog last friday. Hugs. Simone xx


    Oh, one more thing, has anyone read this article? Apparently Enid's language is being updated to suit the modern reader. I shall remain silent... ;)

  13. I think I would love this film Josephine....I am a fan of Enid Blyton too. xv

  14. so pleased to hear that you got to see this film! i enjoyed it too (despite the irritation of seeing modern dresses being used!) I was so determined to lend some original items to the filming at Shepton mallet as you might imagine!

  15. In agreement with Jen over dissing Enid from an adult perspective.... but it was my child's reaction to her books that altered my perspective..... he reacted in a way I never had done and that is what me reappraise her writing. Interesting stuff in these comments!

  16. I too LOVED Enid Blyton my whole childhood. Oh the excitement of 'Castle of Adventure'! But I had no idea of her life until I watched this film. She seemed to be portrayed as a damaged yet driven person. Helena Bonham Carter was superb..but then she always is!!

  17. Liz, hello. I tried to find you through Blogger to comment back to you but you are set to private. I agree that it's too high a price to pay and one that I can't do myself. It's funny how differently children view things. My daughter loves all the Blyton books and roars with laughter over the scary pieces or the characters that slap. I do love that moral tone in Blyton's books where the superficial and mean always meet their just rewards. That was very comforting to me as a child. The only Blytons that I really didn't take to were the Mr Twiddle books and the Naughtiest Girl books.
    Curious Cat, I'm sorry about the link that didn't work for Kate Bush. I'm pretty pants on the technical stuff and couldn't get the link to actually play that was Kate Bush discussing her beauty tips on YouTube. Priceless footage!
    Jen, EPIC sounds wonderful. I had the rather dull sounding Perfume Club as my secret society. Ahem. A membership of two (my sister and myself when we weren't fighting)
    And I really do dislike it when they change the language of writer's. Some of the things they did do to the Blyton books were ridiculous. That's why I always try to hunt down the vintage copies of her books.
    Thanks everyone for your comments and for always supporting and sharing my Blyton love here. xx

  18. Luckily, the release of Helena Bonham Carter's movie on Enid Blyton coincided with the publication of my book on the writer, titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (
    Stephen Isabirye


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