Blyton Rocks!July 7, 2011
I may be showing my age here, but I grew up with Blyton. Not literally, but with her books. I loved the Mallory Towers series, I wanted to actually BE one of the Famous Five and her Magic Faraway Tree stories shaped me as an author and influenced my own books. She was, and still is, my literary hero.
However, I knew nothing of her until a film of a few years ago, entitled simply “Enid”. It was fascinating learning so much about my heroine; if I’m truthfully honest, I was disappointed – not in the film-making – but that the writer I idolised was just a human being. A human being with a talent but many flaws. In my childhood she’d been like a super-hero who could do no wrong but the film, however true to life it was I’m not sure, portrayed her as a writer who committed to her art over everything else, including her own family.
Would I have been better to never learn of her true nature? Should I have always kept her in my mind as this perfect being? I can honestly say that it was actually wonderful to learn more, whether the details were detrimental or not. I felt enriched knowing more about Enid Blyton, the person.
BookXtra would have been an absolute revelation for me, had it been around when I was younger. I could have learned all about Enid through interviews, video files, her personal musings (had they been available), articles others had written about her, and any other supplementary material to hand. BookXtra doesn’t see a book as the be all and end all of an author, only as one element of their make-up. In an age where we have a thirst for knowledge at our fingertips, BookXtra wants to apply this to literature – bringing familiar and new titles to readers, along with any other information they may be delighted to read.
I’m all for using my imagination when reading, but to see ficticious, hypothetical maps of the places where the Secret Seven found their treasures, or pictures of the coastline Enid may have imagined the Famous Five to have harked from, would have been awe-inspiring to me as a 10 year-old. Nowadays, my literary palette may have matured but I still feel excitement at ‘seeing’ things I’ve only fantasised about.
My daughter’s luckier than I, being a Harry Potter fan, by being able to enjoy both the film and the books. She can judge both on their own merit, side by side, which is precisely what BookXtra wants to project with other book titles. See if your hero or heroine matches up to your imagination!