Oh! Sweet innocence that surrounds a child,
Come and make me a child again!
With age comes responsibilities and complications and it is at times like that, that I actually wish that my simple prayer was answered by the little folks that inhabit some beautiful place in this world. Enid Blyton created that world for me, that peaceful haven which I could visit whenever I wanted to, as I read The magic faraway tree, many times, I could hear the tree next to my house going wisha washa and beating against my window panes. It was at those times that I would sit on my windowsill and stretch my neck out and talk gibberish with the strange fairy folk. There were even times when I felt the honey from the pop biscuits surging through my mouth…. yum! Growing up, my friends and I always found an excuse to get on our bicycles and ride down to the river that flowed behind our house, sitting there on its banks we would look at the people passing by and fabricate stories about them. Yes! We tried to play detectives!
As time passed by, those hardbound books finally found a place on my bookshelf. Even today whenever the pressures of the world threaten to weigh me down, I just switch on the reading lights and sit on the large blue silk cushion with an Enid Blyton book in my hand…. It never fails to restore my energy!
This famous author was born to Thomas Carey and Theresa Blyton on 11th August 1897 above a shop in Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London. As a child, Enid Blyton faced some medical problems that brought her very close to death.
In the years 1899 and 1902, Thomas and Theresa were blessed with their sons, Hanley and Carey respectively. Enid’s early life involved a lot of traveling because her father was looking for better pay and prospects. It was because of this reason that they moved to Clockhouse road, which had a larger house with a big garden!
Enid Blyton was very close to her father and spent many hours bonding by walking in the countryside. The reason that cemented this friendship was that Enid loved reading and would exchange information with her father who was a very well-read person. Educated at St. Christopher’s school in Beckenham, Enid Blyton excelled in sports as well as academics. This earned her the title of head girl.
Career and Marriage
Enid Blyton decided to become a teacher; it was at this time that she sacrificed her musical talents. She spent 5 important years of her life imparting education to students at Chessington, Bickley and Surbiton, publishing her first book called Child Whispers, a collection of poems in 1922 when she was 25 years old.
On August 28, 1924, Enid announced her marriage to Hugh Alexander Pollock who was the editor of the book department in the publishing firm of George Newnes. After getting married they moved to a house in Beaconsfield. God blessed Enid and Hugh with two children who they named Gillian Mary Baverstock and Imogen Mary Smallwood.
An awakening is what Enid Blyton experienced in the mid-1930’s. Despite that she decided against converting to Roman Catholicism from the Church of England because she felt it was “too constricting.” Though she felt that way, she made sure that her daughters were baptized into the Anglican faith.
By the year 1939, Enid noticed that her relationship with her husband was souring. It was around the same time that she met Kenneth Fraser Darrell Waters who was a London surgeon. Kenneth and Enid married on October 20th, 1943 at the City of Westminster. Luckily Kenneth, Enid and her two daughters’ lived a very happy life.
The Clock Stops Ticking
Enid was never the same after the death of her husband in 1967. It was after this event that she became ill frequently. She was later moved to a nursing home because she was afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease. She breathed her last on 28th November 1968 at the Greenways Nursing Home, London and was cremated at Golders Green.
Difference of Opinion
It was in the 1950s and 1960s that Enid was attacked by librarians and critics who imposed sanctions on her books because of the limited vocabulary in them. This step stemmed from the fear that children were distracted from reading great literary works. Fortunately for Enid and all her readers, the ban did not last long and instead encouraged the sales of her books.
Apart from this campaign, there was another one, which was against certain books written by Enid. The main concern was her character Noddy, who anti-blytons found an egocentric and joyless character. Even the characters in the “Golly” stories were written off as racist and sexist. Rumors suggesting that Blyton had regular “ghost writers” to write for her did the rounds too!
Enid Blyton’s Best Selling Books
In a span of 40 years, Enid Blyton wrote about 800 books, the most popular series are:
- The Magic Faraway Tree series
- The Barney Mystery series
- The Mystery series
- The Malory Towers series
- The Famous Five series
- The Amelia Jane short stories
- The Secret Seven series
- The St. Clare’s series
- The Wishing-Chair series
- The Naughtiest Girl series
- The Willow Farm series
Well, I don’t know whether her critics found wrong in her. May be they didn’t understand the beauty of her work as they were past their childhood days. The innocence and the thrill that me and my friends got from her books is something that can’t be explained in words. Enid Blyton, truly was a writer of the children.