This weekend I was doing my ‘Great Wardrobe Changeover’ – swapping my winter clothes for my summer clothes (I’m not the only one who does this, am I?!) and having a little hoke about in the attic at the same time.
So, when a came across a box with the label ‘MY CHILDHOOD BOOKS – KEEP!’, there was no way I was leaving it in the attic. I have no idea how long these books have been up there, probably for the 14 years since we moved in to our house, but I couldn’t resist a peek to see what treasures I had!
In between a copy of Heidi, The Diary of Ann Frank and The Secret Garden the main thing that was clear from this haul was that I was a BIG Enid Blyton fan. My old copies of The Twins at St Clare’s and Mallory Towers were there, along with some Secret Seven’s and Famous Five’s. I was obsessed with The Twins at St Clare’s growing up – I was an only child until the age of 13 and I used to beg to be allowed to go to boarding school, thinking it was all midnight feasts, pranks and fun. I’m glad my parents never indulged me in that particular fantasy!
The Magic Faraway Tree was another favourite, I read that book over and over again. Now that it’s out of the attic, I’ve been reading it to the twins and they are loving the tales of Moon-Face, Silky and the slippery-slip!
And at the risk of showing my age, my copy of The Magic Faraway Tree is 35 years old, bought when I was a mere 8 years old. I did make that clear enough at the time, right? Reading these books to the twins now, I can’t help but be struck by how they have aged. The boy characters are in charge and make all the decisions and the girls have to help mother with the washing up and the food preparation. It may not sit easily with me now, but you can’t deny the magical nature of her tales and their power to entrance a childish imagination.
Looking through my books also made me realise where my love of crime fiction may stem from – I blame the Secret Seven, the Famous Five and my all time favourites Blyton’s Adventure series. The Castle of Adventure, The Ship of Adventure, The Island of Adventure, I just loved the idea of heading off with my mates and solving random crimes in ruined castles and abandoned islands. There wasn’t much call for my crime-fighting skills in Ballymena in the 1980s but hey, a girl can dream right?
Do any of you UK readers remember watching that adaptation of the Famous Five on TV?
I was also delighted to find one of my favourite books of my early teenage years, The Eyes of Karen Connors, which cost me a mere 1.75 of my pocket money. I read this book over and over and here’s why
It began the day that young Bobby disappeared. Karen was babysitting and suddenly he was gone. When they found him, everything was alright….except that Karen had known where he was before he was found.
For no logical reason, she suddenly just knows things. And Ron, the good looking young policeman wants her help to find another missing child.
This is the power that her mother pretends Karen doesn’t have. But she does. She can find missing children ad there are those who want to stop her using that power. People who are prepared to kill if they have to……
I mean, come on. If I read that premise today I’d pick up that book! I remember reading a lot of those Pan Horizons series, Stranger with my Face and It’s OK if You Don’t Love Me are two that I particularly remember and they were a great bridge between kids books, Judy Blume, Sweet Valley High and proper grown up adult books. You could say they were a teenagers equivalent of YA in the mid 1980s before YA was a twinkle in a marketer’s eye.
So, the trip to the attic didn’t just bring about some bookish nostalgia for me, the twins are so taken with my old books that they have insisted on getting a shelf for themselves and keeping the books on it.
They are their mother’s daughter!
So,who out there was a Mallory Towers fan? Do you still have your childhood books?