Saturday, 10 April 2010

St. Clare's

Among other things, I discovered that the Wellness Warehouse has a market every second Saturday. Included in the market is a book stand belonging to Help the Rural Child, which is some sort of charity, similar in nature to CAFDA. Their prices are higher, but I was impressed by the selection (hello Enid Blyton and Cadfael!) Unluckily I didn't have my list with me, but I only bought one duplicate, which is actually in better condition, so the other will be going to CAFDA. I do tend to use CAFDA rather like a library - if I don't like a book I just take it back.

This series was written before Blyton's other school series Malory Towers (I'll get to that one some time). I like each series for different reasons. And there are a couple of reasons why I don't particularly like either series sometimes. I'll leave the comparisons for when I review Malory Towers though. The only book in the series that I don't own is Second Form at St. Clare's. There are a number of girls that make up the form we're interested in, chief of which are the O'Sullivan Twins, Pat and Isabel. They start off as terribly stuck-up and unwilling, but learn to be model heroines. Naturally all the stereotypes are there - the arty girl, the musical girl, the sporty girl, the pretty girl, the rich girl, the spiteful girl, the mousy girl. Nevertheless this is a fun series with interesting characters that still seem fairly fresh.

Arguments have been made that Malory Towers is a far better series simply because Blyton's daughters had started at boarding school by then and she had a better idea of how things worked. As it happens, I myself have never been to boarding school (though I did work in one for a year) and I really can't tell what differences there are that make Malory Towers seem more real than St. Clare's. One of the things I particularly like about St. Clare's (and which infuriates me about Malory Towers, but we're not talking about that) is that as the series moves up into the higher forms we keep with the same characters. There is some interaction with the lower forms in the last book as the lower form girls have to wait on the older girls to a degree and one of the girls has a sister in the first form that year. At Malory Towers, however, the last couple of books move from a focus on the main characters to being half about the main characters' younger siblings and other relatives as if Blyton felt that the older girls wouldn't be interesting to her readers.

All in all this is a fun series that's worth reading and rereading. I even have some interest in having a look at the sequels written by Pamela Cox, though I'm not sure what they're like.

[I am reminded again why I don't like the whole multiple-pictures-per-post thing.]

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