Thursday, February 13, 2014

"The Famous Five"

I have (finally) read Enid Blyton's book The Famous Five: Five on a Treasure Island. Alice recommended it highly -- she has read around 10 of the series, of which this is the first. 

"I really like it because it's like an adventure, it's for kids more than other adventures, and they don't freak me out like other adventures. They are easier to read," she says. "It is very interesting because I've never read anything quite like that. They are from a while back and nobody knows about them much so they are fun to read."

I like the character George, first seen through the eyes of her cousin Anne, who wakes up on her first morning in George's house and sees her "curled up under the bed clothes." Anne says "I say, are you Georgina?"
"The child in the opposite bed sat up and looked across at Anne. She had very short curly hair, almost as short as a boy's Her face was brown from the sun, and her very blue eyes looked as bright as forget-me-nots in her face. But her mouth was rather sulky, and she had a frown like her father's." 
"'No,' she said. 'I'm not Georgina…. I'm George… I shall only answer if you call me George. I hate being a girl. I won't be. I don't like doing the things that girls do. I like doing the things that boys do. I can climb better than any boy, and swim faster too. I can sail a boat as well as any fisher-boy on this coast. You are to call me George. Then I'll speak to you. But I shan't if you don't." (p. 19)
Anne and her two brothers quickly become friends with George, who leads them on a hunt for hidden treasure, taking them in her rowboat to the treasure island: she knows exactly how to avoid the dangerous rocks and enter an inlet on the small island where a ruined castle stands. A perfect setting for adventure!

George's dog Tim makes the fifth member of the Famous Five -- Tim and each of the others each make an important contribution to solving a mystery and defeating the evil thieves who want their treasure. As Alice says, it's fun to read even for a grandmother like me. I wish I had known about the books when I was her age.

I think I remember other boyish girls who had great adventures in books from my childhood. Though I was more like Anne, who loved dolls and other girlish things (inspiring George to make fun of her) I think I was quite taken by the idea that anyone could have an adventure.

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