17 September 2005

famous five revisited.

i've been having a fickle time with reading material of late...it's not a usual occurrence for me to not be able to finish a book from cover to cover but alas, in the past couple of weeks that has been the order of the day.
well, i finally picked up an illustrated version of Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde last week and it was Truly truly enjoyable. just such a Story.
then realized what i feel like i've been missing: stories. it seems so many writers/artists are trying to be clever and profound these days that they are losing sight of stories. (or maybe i'm losing sight of stories?) but honestly. saw Tim Burton's Corpse Bride last week and it was rife with great characters and art direction, but the story was FLAT.
and i picked up a Jim Crace novel the other day (I was Exceedingly fond of Devil's Larder) but couldn't get beyond the excess of description that just made me impatient and move on. maybe it's an impatience thing. who knows.
anyhow, that and a fit of nostalgia had me go forth and purchase a copy of Enid Blyton's Famous Five adventures. i was ADDICTED to them when i was a kid. it was appalling to discover only two paltry hardback books on the shelves, with only 6 of the countless tales she wrote, but i suppose all the empty boxes and countless storage vessels and odoriferous candles have made a half-decent selection of titles at that nameless box-book store well nigh impossible. (three words: unused gift-certificate)
the amazing thing is that Enid Blyton wrote these things in the 40's, which means it's quite possible that my mum read them when she was little as well. many mums. Cool.
and when you think about the character of George, this solitary tomboyish sort running around outdoing her two boy cousins with her sidekick Timmy, you have to wonder just how long women have been unsettled about the gender roles they've been cast into.
in some sense this is outdated; we've (i hope anyhow) moved beyond the "girls becoming men with tits" phase of feminism, but it's interesting to see how it started, and how very possibly Enid Blyton's modest books planted the seed of change in the minds of more than one generation of little girls.


Sean D said...

Ms. Stef, couldn't agree more with your comment about the need for more stories. It seems the sort of books that win prizes these days and go into the "literature" section of a suburban shopping mall book shop are all self-righteous and extremely boring. At least in Australia they are. I have also noticed lots of books written by graduates of creative writing courses that are full of forced prose and unnecessary literary devices, and still no story. Which is surely putting the cart before the horse.

I think it shows contempt for the reader.

Anyway, maybe that is why pulp fiction is so popular, as it is all plot and no-style? We need a happy medium I think.

steflenk said...

ah, mister Dwyer, a tardy response to be sure, my apologies.
but it's SO true, isn't it? i was speaking with someone and the consensus was that creative writing school might be the worst thing for an aspiring writer to do.
and let's face it, Kafka worked in a bank, was it? a government job? his Whole Life.
Bless him.