Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Naughtiest Girl in School - Enid Blyton

The Naughtiest Girl in School, by Enid Blyton, is the stuff that childhood is made up off.

Naughtiest Girl in the School

Strange statement?

I have grown up reading Enid Blyton. From the "Secret Seven" series, to the "St. Clares" series, I have read almost everything she has written. I grew up with the adventures of Fatty (Five find-outers and a dog) and Darell Rivers (Malory Towers), and I have great respect and admiration for Enid Blyton. However, despite the fact that I've read and I own most of the other series of Enid Blyton, I never quite managed to read the naughtiest girl in school series. So when I saw it recently at a bookstore, and failed to force my brother to buy it for himself, I finally bought it for myself.

Here's what I discovered - the naughtiest girl is one of the most enjoyable of Enid Blyton's school series. The things that make me recommend it over her other school series are as follows - the main character, Elizabeth, is a lot of fun to read about, the school sounds amazing (and is co-ed) and there's a lot of drama in it that prevents this book from getting as dated as the rest of Enid Blyton's books have sadly become. (I am one of her greatest fans, but sadly even I can't find them completely up-to-date anymore.)

We'll start with Elizabeth. Elizabeth is spoilt, and rich, and highly naughty, which in itself will recommend this book to most of my generation. She's smart, very willful and independent. She's not beyond disrupting a class to get what she wants. But despite all this, she is very, very nice. She goes out of her way to help a friend (even though she breaks a dozen rules to do this), she is intelligent and thoughtful, and she really and truly struggles against making things hard for other people. Besides this, she is also interested in varied things such as music, dance, and riding, which make her very human. Through most of this first book, she is trying to behave badly to be sent home (very Mirabel from St. Clare's, especially as Joan is amazingly similar to Gladys, but eventually Elizabeth is a lot more likeable than poor Mirabel ever turns out to be.)

The second is the school. Whyteleafe is a school I would love to attend. It's liberal enough to let the students choose their own monitors and head-boys and head-girls, who have a committee each week where they punish students off their own accord. The Principals, who Elizabeth terms, 'The Beauty and the Beast' seem content to let the students govern themselves (if you're looking for a Ms. Theobald like character here, you will be sadly mistaken) and the teachers and fun-loving and interested in the students. There is a jolly atmosphere, and most importantly as it is a co-ed school, it prevents this book from getting extremely dated. (Sadly I don't think this would work anymore...)

The characters in this book, though reminiscent of characters from other Enid Blyton novels (especially in the case of the aforementioned Mirabel from St. Clare's and Gladys from the same series, who represent Elizabeth and her only friend in the school - Joan) are very well-developed. This book deals with slightly more complex issues like the death of a sibling and arrogance which are not dealt with substantially in any of her other series. This book is a great read, which principles of morality and good conduct and honor that I wish were still as strongly upheld among children, but which is not by any means a preachy book.

This book is, essentially, a book that reminds me of childhood.

Final thoughts: This book is sweet and pretty much timeless. I read Enid Blyton when I want something simple, and just plain uncomplicated, with no 'evil' and no 'badness' and happy endings - when I'm tired of things that 'mean too much' or that I have to analyze. I really recommend this book to everyone. I mean, its just so hard to believe that this book was written in 1940!


  1. hahahahahahahahahahaha............OMG sakhi i CANNOT believe you of all people hadn't read the naughtiest girl series until recently!!! i love it so much too.....srsli its the best book that u cud pik up 4 a light read! i totally used to LOVE enid blyton u've read famous five and all right? in 4th grade i read this book of enid blyton's called- "the adventures of mister pink whistle" its about this guy who knows magic and his name is pink whistle and it used to be my FAVOURITE book in 4th grade!!!! lol! don't read it now because you're gonna find it horribly SILLY!!! :D

    ps- even KANKSHA has read this series in the seventh grade! ;D

  2. i mean kanksha has read the naughtiest girl not the pink whistle thing!

  3. Lol, yes, I always found it shocking too...but to be fair I had read the first book years ago, I just bought it a few days back because I loved it so much. :)

  4. One of my fav Blytons too! This one, The Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair are the ones I go back to every now and then. Simple and uncomplicated - they take me back to my childhood.

  5. That's exactly the way I feel. Though I don't think much of Faraway Tree or Wishing Chair. In general I gravitate more towards her mystery and boarding school books as opposed to the short stories.


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