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Enid Blyton is known throughout the world for her imaginative children’s books and her enduring characters such as Noddy and the Famous Five. She is one of the most borrowed authors from British libraries and still holds a fascination for readers old and young alike. Yet until 1974, when Barbara Stoney first published her official biography, little was known about this most priv Enid Blyton is known throughout the world for her imaginative children’s books and her enduring characters such as Noddy and the Famous Five. She is one of the most borrowed authors from British libraries and still holds a fascination for readers old and young alike. Yet until 1974, when Barbara Stoney first published her official biography, little was known about this most private author, even by members of her own family. The woman who emerged from Barbara Stoney’s remarkable research was hardworking, complex, often difficult and, in many ways, childlike. Now this widely praised classic biography has been fully updated for the twenty-first century and, with the addition of new color illustrations and a comprehensive list of Enid Blyton’s writings, documents the growing appeal of this extraordinary woman throughout the world. The fascinating story of one of the world’s most famous authors will intrigue and delight all those with an interest in her timeless books.


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Enid Blyton is known throughout the world for her imaginative children’s books and her enduring characters such as Noddy and the Famous Five. She is one of the most borrowed authors from British libraries and still holds a fascination for readers old and young alike. Yet until 1974, when Barbara Stoney first published her official biography, little was known about this most priv Enid Blyton is known throughout the world for her imaginative children’s books and her enduring characters such as Noddy and the Famous Five. She is one of the most borrowed authors from British libraries and still holds a fascination for readers old and young alike. Yet until 1974, when Barbara Stoney first published her official biography, little was known about this most private author, even by members of her own family. The woman who emerged from Barbara Stoney’s remarkable research was hardworking, complex, often difficult and, in many ways, childlike. Now this widely praised classic biography has been fully updated for the twenty-first century and, with the addition of new color illustrations and a comprehensive list of Enid Blyton’s writings, documents the growing appeal of this extraordinary woman throughout the world. The fascinating story of one of the world’s most famous authors will intrigue and delight all those with an interest in her timeless books.

30 review for Enid Blyton: The Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    When I was nine years old, my babysitter brought me a Blyton in a stealthy play to keep me from leading my sibs into bratty behavior. Always book-starved, I glommed onto that book and fell straight into the story. It was The Castle of Adventure. I discovered five more by her on the library shelves, and checked them out and reread them repeatedly. It wasn't until I was considerably older and traveled to England that I discovered just how much she'd written, but by then, alas, most of the magic ha When I was nine years old, my babysitter brought me a Blyton in a stealthy play to keep me from leading my sibs into bratty behavior. Always book-starved, I glommed onto that book and fell straight into the story. It was The Castle of Adventure. I discovered five more by her on the library shelves, and checked them out and reread them repeatedly. It wasn't until I was considerably older and traveled to England that I discovered just how much she'd written, but by then, alas, most of the magic had gone out, except for remembered passion for those Adventure stories. A week or two ago, I was talking to an English lady in her eighties who was a dedicated Blyton reader as a child; during the war, she spent her scant pocket money on Blyton's magazines, sharing them with friends. These were often the only bright spot in an anxious and dreary time. She remembers the books with fondness, but cannot read them now, she said with gentle regret. There are some works that I think are perfect for the reader of a certain age, whether physical or emotional. (And I realize that 'emotional age' is difficult to pin down: though I am now an old bat by usual reckoning, I'm still not old enough for horror or perfect little gems of despair.) Blyton's work is best discovered when you're twelve and under. I sought a biography in an effort to understand why--what was Blyton's intent? Was this her goal? Was she aware of this peculiar sort of genius? And it was genius, though mostly what I found written about her was excoriating criticism for her cliche plots, cliche language, sexism, racism, etc etc. Stoney spent years tracking down the details of Blyton's life, including sifting clues to bits of her history that she had totally reinvented. The result is an interesting biography (perhaps a little too aware that many concerned in Blyton's life are still alive, with a resultant tone of apologetics) that shares what details are available, without speculating too deeply about what made Blyton's stories work so phenomenally well. For kids. What I'd hoped to read in this book was summed up in the last paragraph: that Blyton remained emotionally a kid, and thus wrote for kids from as close to a kid's-eye view as an adult can come.

  2. 5 out of 5

    James

    Long before Harry Potter was even a twinkle in J. K. Rowling's eye, another British author staked her claim as queen of children's literature. Enid Blyton was a lean, keen, writing machine who churned out over 700 books in a career spanning forty years. Devoted readers from Portsmouth to Port Elizabeth devoured her stories in their hundreds of thousands. Even today, translations of her work outnumber those of Shakespeare and Dickens. Barbara Stoney's biography of this gifted, single-minded woman w Long before Harry Potter was even a twinkle in J. K. Rowling's eye, another British author staked her claim as queen of children's literature. Enid Blyton was a lean, keen, writing machine who churned out over 700 books in a career spanning forty years. Devoted readers from Portsmouth to Port Elizabeth devoured her stories in their hundreds of thousands. Even today, translations of her work outnumber those of Shakespeare and Dickens. Barbara Stoney's biography of this gifted, single-minded woman was first published in 1974. The current edition brings the story up to date and uses recently discovered material from Enid's early life. Born into a comfortable London home, Enid's carefree childhood came to an abrupt end when her beloved father left his wife for another woman. Unable to share her feelings about this trauma, young Enid retreated to her bedroom to write fairy stories. It was a coping mechanism that would often carry her through the harsh realities of life. Turning her back on a promising career as a musician, Enid followed a vocation in teaching. Pupils adored the cheerful young woman who turned their lessons into games, and it was through teaching that she began to enjoy success as a contributor to children's magazines. Young readers responded warmly to Enid's tales of fairies and goblins, while older children enjoyed her weekly observations on nature. By her mid-twenties, Enid was able to forsake the classroom for a new career as a full-time writer. Stoney's treatment of her subject is largely sympathetic, but she doesn't airbrush out the less appealing aspects of Enid's life. A broken marriage, the sometimes harsh treatment of her staff, a stubborn streak and quick temper are frankly acknowledged. But Enid also learned she was a brand that could be a force for good. The mere mention of a children's charity in her magazine was enough to ensure a tidal wave of donations. The biography highlights other contradictions in Enid's character. Her young readers seemed to sense there was a part of Enid that had never grown up. This empathy was to prove invaluable during World War II. As many British children found themselves evacuated to the countryside, they took comfort from Enid, who gently encouraged them to identify the plants and wildlife she'd so often mentioned in her writing. Yet, Enid was also a formidable businesswoman. A card index memory and a confident manner served her well in negotiating publishing contracts. But her publishers knew they were on to a good thing, ensuring that even wartime paper shortages wouldn't stop Enid's books rolling off the presses. After the war, her popularity reached new heights with the Famous Five and Secret Seven books. But critics started to worry that Enid's influence on children was not entirely beneficial. Some claimed the vocabulary in her books was too limited, while others warned that children might never tackle more challenging forms of literature. The criticism came to a head over one of her best-loved creations. Like Harry Potter in our own times, Noddy became an unlikely hate figure for those who took it upon themselves to be the guardians of children's development. Some librarians removed the books from their shelves, prompting the Daily Mail to defend Enid in suitably Blytonesque style: "We'd better face it, said Big Ears sternly. 'You and I and all the rest - and that goes for Mr Plod, the policeman too - are like Librarian says, caricatures. And what is more, we are members of the intellectually underprivileged class. Noddy could not believe his ears." Enid herself never understood the furore. In any case, sales of the Noddy books went from strength to strength, and a stage version enjoyed similar success. The final chapter of Stoney's biography underlines that Enid Blyton's death in 1968 was by no means the end of her story. Books, television programmes, fan clubs and websites have ensured that her fame lives on. Celebrations to mark her centenary, in 1997, included a set of Royal Mail stamps featuring her characters, while her famous signature appeared on that year's London Christmas lights. Enid's charitable works have also outlived her, and many deprived children continue to benefit from the work she began. But more than anything else, it's Enid's writing that has proved her enduring appeal. Her books continue to sell in their millions, and many of those writing for children today -- J. K. Rowling among them -- enjoyed Enid Blyton's stories in their own formative years. It's fair to call this the definitive biography of Enid Blyton. The foreword by her daughter, Gillian (who died aged 76 last month) and the author's access to Enid's letters and diaries give the book an air of authority, and the inclusion of a 40-page bibliography reinforces just how prolific she really was. Barbara Stoney's own observations about her subject also provide a helpful commentary to explain Enid Blyton's complex make-up. The book is an enjoyable and absorbing account of a woman who, even in her later years, remained a child at heart. And that may have been the real secret of her success.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Wayne

    Enid Blyton could be called the Barbara Cartland of Children's Literature. They both wrote voluminously and both received the scorn of their critics. However,in my books, there is one vital difference: Enid was a GENIUS!! Her biographer, Barbara Stoney, agrees that "her stories are repetitive, lacking in characterisation and limited in their vocabulary" among other 'faults'. But she also points out that librarians and educationalists who were among her severest critics from the 1950's onward, by Enid Blyton could be called the Barbara Cartland of Children's Literature. They both wrote voluminously and both received the scorn of their critics. However,in my books, there is one vital difference: Enid was a GENIUS!! Her biographer, Barbara Stoney, agrees that "her stories are repetitive, lacking in characterisation and limited in their vocabulary" among other 'faults'. But she also points out that librarians and educationalists who were among her severest critics from the 1950's onward, by the 1970's, having become aware of the falling literary standards,"realised that no other author appeared capable -to the same degree- of writing the kind of stories which would encourage a child to take up a book and read it through to the end. This resulted in more of her work appearing on school and library shelves..." from which her books had been banned. Banned!!! But her sales increased!!! Her countless fans having had their source cut off by adults simply went to the bookstores and bought what they wanted. THIS is Children Power!!! Enid was not only a Genius of a Storyteller. Firstly she was a Genius of a Teacher. Early in her teaching career from 1920 she had realised that her talent for writing would enable her to reach far more children - and teachers. Poems, songs, stories and plays as well as articles for teachers were already keeping her busy outside of classroom duties. Editing and writing Teachers' Manuals and Journals, Nature Study articles and lesson outlines some of which she herself illustrated, retelling Biblical Stories and Classic tales, graded rhythmic movements and dance steps, history and geography - these and more flowed from Enid's imagination and pen. She claimed as her audience the tiny-tots of Kindergarten to adolescents, as well as their teachers. Finally she was accused by the Get-Enid Brigade of the mid-50's that she used ghost writers and that she was dead!!! Then there was the suspect relationship between Noddy of Toyland and the more elderly BigEars!!!But however dubious adults found Noddy, he led Enid into the new realms of writing for pantomine, theatre and television. Yes, Enid continued to flourish. Her 'Enid Blyton Magazine' spawned four clubs through which children were able to assist Blind Children, Spastic Children, a Children's Home and Sick and Injured Animals.500,000 children made up the clubs. Enid stated her aims: "I'm not only out to tell stories, much as I love this - I am out to inculcate decent thinking, loyalty, honesty, kindliness, and all the things that children should be taught." And this influence was worldwide. Enid herself did not always measure up to what she wanted to inculcate either as wife, mother or friend. Often those who can so clearly point the way are unable to advance far along the way themselves. Nor did she ever seem to find the deep spirituality she obviously thirsted for through any of the traditional Christian churches. In 1991, almost twenty years after her death, Enid remained the most successful children's writer of the 20th Century with approximately 8 million of her books selling annually worldwide in 27 languages. And the Sunday Times included her name in "1,000 Makers of the 20th Century". However in that same year Enid's name "did not feature in that year's list of approved books for the National Curriculum." But again the children had voted!!!"...she was one of the three most borrowed children's authors from British libraries announced that year.(The works of the other two - Roald Dahl and Rene Goscinny, who wrote the Asterix books - did not appear on the list either.)" Reading Enid's magical adventure story "The Treasure Hunters" to my Year 4 class back in 1978, I could see its limitations which however simply evaporated as one got caught up in the story. The day I finished the book after several weeks of reading I will never forget. As I sadly closed the book I was deluged with a chorus of cries from the children :"READ IT AGAIN!!!READ IT AGAIN!!!" Yes, I had tears in my eyes then, and now as I type this.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Ellis

    I had to read it, the biography of the author that made me a reader. Main book finishes at about 50% and then it's an appendix. I had to read it, the biography of the author that made me a reader. Main book finishes at about 50% and then it's an appendix.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    While I remember the 'Read with Dick and Jane' series of books as the first books I read, I credit Enid Blyton and her many series with developing my love of reading as a child. Her poetry and her stories drew me as no other author had, and I could not get enough of her books. Thankfully, she wrote voraciously and the multiple series helped me develop an appreciation for different types of stories and poems. I still have some of my old Enid Blyton books and will occasionally still lift one from While I remember the 'Read with Dick and Jane' series of books as the first books I read, I credit Enid Blyton and her many series with developing my love of reading as a child. Her poetry and her stories drew me as no other author had, and I could not get enough of her books. Thankfully, she wrote voraciously and the multiple series helped me develop an appreciation for different types of stories and poems. I still have some of my old Enid Blyton books and will occasionally still lift one from the shelves to indulge in a favorite childhood escape. The delight I find in her stories have not dimmed even as I have aged and moved on to more 'adult' books. This biography, based on research through interviews with members of her family, friends and employees in addition to extracts from surviving documents and diaries, have given me a glimpse into the woman behind the author. Her life was very different from what I had imagined for her. I had not known how much of a philanthropist she was, and how her efforts to aid various charities through her army of fans around the world resulted in some amazing donations and assistance. That she took the time to answer letters written to her by children even as she became more and more busy with her professional writing touched a chord in me. What a thrill it must have been for a child to receive a handwritten note from her answering their questions or thanking them for the dead bird they sent. I find it interesting that the critics of her works were from, and continue to come from adults, not the children who to this day, consume them by the millions. Perhaps these nosy and noisy adults should focus on the most important thing about Enid Blyton's books .... and that is, she's still, even now, getting children to read. And here's another thought, J.K Rowling has said in interviews that she grew up reading Enid Blyton books...and look how she's managed to entice children to read today. In reading this biography, I've come to love Enid Blyton for the woman she was, I thank her for giving me an outlet for my imagination to flourish and for building fantastical worlds filled with wizards, fairies, pixies, adventure, fun while imparting moral lessons to strengthen what my parents taught me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    Enid Blyton was one of the most popular and most pilloried of Britain's authors for children. I was startled to find out just how prolific she was! She was fortunate to be a pioneer of what has become the series behemoth of today; she began to write at a time when children's books that were entertaining as well as educational were really beginning to take off. Her amazing output ensured her financial security. An interesting biography, though I got the growing impression that Stoney had a definit Enid Blyton was one of the most popular and most pilloried of Britain's authors for children. I was startled to find out just how prolific she was! She was fortunate to be a pioneer of what has become the series behemoth of today; she began to write at a time when children's books that were entertaining as well as educational were really beginning to take off. Her amazing output ensured her financial security. An interesting biography, though I got the growing impression that Stoney had a definite image of Blyton that she wanted to present. She starts by tracing Blyton's family back to William the Conqueror (of course! who else?) on her father's side and to an Irish duke on her mother's side--again, of course. After all, this book was written in the 1970s, when Blyton was a standard bearer for English middle-class values, before she was vilified for her "dated" non-PC sensibilities in the 1990s. On the other hand, Stoney also wishes to present Blyton as emotionally and physically immature; her assumption that Blyton's undeveloped uterus was caused by her father leaving the family when Enid was 13 is just plain odd. Perhaps it reveals more about the author than her subject. The telling of the story is superficial, particularly when it comes to Blyton's relationship with her own children. There is next to no information about the girls, beyond the fact that they were sent to boarding school, which was normal for the daughters of the wealthy in England. One minute daughter Gillian is getting married, the next Stoney speaks of Enid enjoying visits with her grandchildren--which? Who? Was Stoney warned off by Blyton's daughters? She tries to make up for the gaps in the story with appendices drawn from Blyton's poems, letters etc. but in the end it was an unsatisfying read. She could have used a better editor/proofreader than she evidently had; we are treated to such horrors as "(Blyton's husband) placed her wishes and welfare above that of his own." (Italics mine). That of his own what? Removal of two words would have made the sentence make sense. How did it slip through the net, particularly in the seventies? It's not the only statement that had me itching to reach for a red pen. It was sad to realise that Blyton probably had Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia near the end, but Stoney was too polite to come out and say it, even in the modern edition. She preferred to imply that Blyton simply retreated from reality into her private world of imagining...which would not lead to thinking she was still adolescent, or failing to recognise family members. Biography lite, a quick undemanding read if you don't mind stylistic howlers here and there.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ash

    Enid Blyton - "the most prolific, successful, yet controversial children's writer of all time" (taken from the book) is my most favorite author ever. She had a depressing, horrible childhood (just like I thought she would). Her father who was closest to her, left her and her mother for another woman. Her mother never cared for her and "felt that her daughter should give more help with the domestic tasks". She did not meet her mother again after she left her house, not even when her mother pleade Enid Blyton - "the most prolific, successful, yet controversial children's writer of all time" (taken from the book) is my most favorite author ever. She had a depressing, horrible childhood (just like I thought she would). Her father who was closest to her, left her and her mother for another woman. Her mother never cared for her and "felt that her daughter should give more help with the domestic tasks". She did not meet her mother again after she left her house, not even when her mother pleaded before dying. She would say this frequently to her daughters - "You would much rather I did worry about you than not care what happened - which is what I always felt was the case with my own mother." No wonder she was depressed and during her last days, she craved for her family. She was an amazing teacher, well loved by children because of the way she would tell them stories and poems that she wrote herself. She wanted the children to learn something about the nature and her story always had some moral. She usually spent only an hour or so a day with her daughters, as she was busy writing and replying to mails from children throughout the day. She would read stories and play with her daughters and animals in the evening time. She was famous because of -"Her ability to move into a child's world of fancy and to understand things dear to the heart of childhood" - as some reviews said of her books. She would write 4000-5000 words in a day by longhand, which is amazing. Elfin cottage, Old Thatch and Green Hedges are the names that she gave for houses where she lived. I want to visit all these/the places where they were located when I go to UK. This book talks about everything related to her personal life and her works. It was great reading about a person that I admire so much. "So long as one child tells me that my work rings him pleasure, just so long shall I go on writing" - this was her answer when asked why she worked so hard. She loved children and writing for them. "Such was her personal magnetism and charm that even the most unruly bunch of youngsters - sometimes numbering a hundred or more - would within moments of her appearance be quietened down into a well-behaved, adoring audience, listening and absorbing all that she had to tell them." She sought some sort of escape from unpleasant reality through her writing, considering how messy her early life was. She would publish around 20 books in a year. :O I am not aware of any author who could write so many books. "While her characters were being established, they would walk about in her head, take over her dreams..." Isn't she a genius? She did not have to sit and think about coming up with stories. They just came to her head on their own. "Once the first sentence had been put to paper, the rest unfolded like cotton from a reel." I agree with Enid when she says -"the best writers for children did not deal in murders, rapes, violence, blood, torture and ghosts...". I am surprised people found her books offensive, when many horrible books for children exist today. Most of them written in the name of fantasy teach nothing to children, have no morals and teach violence to small kids. Even TV shows and cartoons are so violent these days. My guess was right - George from Famous Five series was based upon Enid herself! The book also talks about the controversies surrounding her works and how librarians banned her books. "Golliwogs are merely lovable black toys, not Negroes. Teddy bears are also toys, but if there happens to be a naughty one in my books for younger children, this does not mean that I hate bears!" - Enid did not agree with the accusation that she was a racist. "... She never left her childhood entirely behind..." And that is why she was/is so popular among kids. J.K. Rowling replaced her and became the most famous children's writer but even she read Enid Blyton's books it seems. I still think Rowling can never match Blyton in terms of creativity, as Rowling has only one series that became popular but Blyton has countless number of famous series and she could write stories of any kind (adventure/fantasy/mystery/funny) for any age group. I want to read her autobiography and also book by her second daughter someday. This book also has a Foreword by her first daughter. This book also has few of her articles that she wrote for magazines I guess along with the complete list of all her works. The list written in a tiny font spanned for 43 pages, so now you can imagine how many books she wrote for children right? If you are an Enid Blyton fan or love her books, please read this book as it made me like the author more as a person. She is not evil as the articles in the Internet indicate. She was definitely a genius and a big philanthropist which I did not know. --------------- Amazing! Just amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about my most favorite author ever! A detailed review coming soon.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tamsin Ramone

    I am actually surprised at how boring this book was and how dull Enid Blyton’s life was. I can sum it up for you and save you 6 hours of reading. Enid was a workaholic. She had 2 daughters. She cheated on her first husband and he cheated on her and they got divorced. She moved 3 times. She liked animals. She was astranged from her mother and brothers. That’s about it. I’m really not sure why people write biographies about boring people. Just because they are famous doesn’t mean they are interest I am actually surprised at how boring this book was and how dull Enid Blyton’s life was. I can sum it up for you and save you 6 hours of reading. Enid was a workaholic. She had 2 daughters. She cheated on her first husband and he cheated on her and they got divorced. She moved 3 times. She liked animals. She was astranged from her mother and brothers. That’s about it. I’m really not sure why people write biographies about boring people. Just because they are famous doesn’t mean they are interesting or unique. Now do yourself a favour and go read ‘when the crawdad’s sing’ or ‘my cousin Rachel’ or ‘kite runner’ or any of the Harry Potter series. You’ll enjoy them much more.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    I am a huge fan of Enid Blyton's books but was almost put off reading this by the Foreward written by her daughter. It tells how she turned down other potential biographers because they were young and unmarried or the wrong sex. Her mother's biography had to be written by a mature woman who understood about being married and a mother. What may have been an acceptable caveat in 1974 (when the book was written) sticks in the craw these days. Having said that I think the author did a good job of pai I am a huge fan of Enid Blyton's books but was almost put off reading this by the Foreward written by her daughter. It tells how she turned down other potential biographers because they were young and unmarried or the wrong sex. Her mother's biography had to be written by a mature woman who understood about being married and a mother. What may have been an acceptable caveat in 1974 (when the book was written) sticks in the craw these days. Having said that I think the author did a good job of painting a picture of Enid Blyton, the person. She came close to a "warts and all" biography, and it seems that Enid did have her fair share of "warts" : an arrogant, critical personality which she successfully hid at times but seems to have displayed to what she would probably have considered her social inferiors. She certainly understood how to write for children but seemed to lack empathy with adults. The author finishes with a nice touch; a letter from a fan thanking Enid for writing books that made her childhood happier for reading them. Overall, interesting in parts but otherwise quite dull. It's probably time another biographer had a go and covered the bits this one wasn't allowed to!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    Enid Blyton's books gave me a world of magic and wonder as a child. Most of the books were Christmas presents or even at times, rewards for doing something good. I could read The Magic Faraway Tree any day even as an adult to escape into a world of fantastic adventures and still hold a precious copy of the series very close to my heart. A fan of Enid Blyton's books, I looked for her biography because I've always wanted to know what inspired her style of writing and the themes of her books. I cam Enid Blyton's books gave me a world of magic and wonder as a child. Most of the books were Christmas presents or even at times, rewards for doing something good. I could read The Magic Faraway Tree any day even as an adult to escape into a world of fantastic adventures and still hold a precious copy of the series very close to my heart. A fan of Enid Blyton's books, I looked for her biography because I've always wanted to know what inspired her style of writing and the themes of her books. I came across this biography, and started reading it without going through many reviews, for the sheer love of her books. I'm happy to say that it didn't disappoint me. It served the purpose of a biography - a glimpse of a complex life and a brilliant mind. It is ironical that a person with her own personal struggles and insecurities wrote such happy books. Though I would have loved for the biography to be longer, the excerpts in the appendix gave more insights into her writing personality.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    How you realize the total value and impact of various people as the years pass by. This interesting British children's author although gone since 1967, still captivates the adult who was brought up with her novels to read. She lived in a thatched roof house with the usual English garden and many many pets, children and the ideal life as an American I relished. The seeds were planted for anything British as I grew up. It was her genre of mystery that introduced me to the books for adults that hol How you realize the total value and impact of various people as the years pass by. This interesting British children's author although gone since 1967, still captivates the adult who was brought up with her novels to read. She lived in a thatched roof house with the usual English garden and many many pets, children and the ideal life as an American I relished. The seeds were planted for anything British as I grew up. It was her genre of mystery that introduced me to the books for adults that hold that visual of the London, seaside, old fashioned villages that encourage reading and discovery of another world different than my own. She was an influence in the broadest sense for children needing fantasy and clever stories. She also was able to share her life as an open book, as she saw it! That was a fantasy also.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Wan Zainuzzaman

    Just like her "secret" and "adventure" series. The biography was just like Enid Blyton books, which I grew up with. She was a child before, attended boarding school and she also teach children. Her life experience was a valuable source to her works. I wish Kindle have "The Six Bad Boys". A real reflection of Enid Blyton life experience. Just like her "secret" and "adventure" series. The biography was just like Enid Blyton books, which I grew up with. She was a child before, attended boarding school and she also teach children. Her life experience was a valuable source to her works. I wish Kindle have "The Six Bad Boys". A real reflection of Enid Blyton life experience.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Les

    Nice enough read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

    Fascinating study of an amazing writer.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sam Kates

    A little dry, but I have such a childhood fondness for Enid's books that I lapped it up anyway. A little dry, but I have such a childhood fondness for Enid's books that I lapped it up anyway.

  16. 5 out of 5

    MR R C WADSWORTH

    Enid Bruton the biography So interesting, but not the mum i thought she would be. Dad but interesting reading. Well worth the read if you liked her books

  17. 4 out of 5

    Janine

    A child...always a child.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    I liked it. nice to read about the author that took me from never picking up a book to not being able to put her books down.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Clare Skeets

    Loved Enid Blyton as a child - grew up reading the Magic Faraway Tree, Famous Five, Secret Seven, Malory Towers, St Clares, adventure series, mystery series etc - and this was a fascinating insight into the complex woman behind the books. Thought I'd seen or knew most of what she wrote but I didn't know the half of it - amazed at what a prolific writer she was and still found time to reply to her fan letters and support numerous charities. Loved Enid Blyton as a child - grew up reading the Magic Faraway Tree, Famous Five, Secret Seven, Malory Towers, St Clares, adventure series, mystery series etc - and this was a fascinating insight into the complex woman behind the books. Thought I'd seen or knew most of what she wrote but I didn't know the half of it - amazed at what a prolific writer she was and still found time to reply to her fan letters and support numerous charities.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robin Ryan

    I read this book because one of my favorite books as a child was this book called The Family at Red Roofs. I could never find this book anywhere as an adult, until one day I searched on Amazon and there it was and its author was a woman named, Enid Blyton. Turns out, Blyton was one of the most prolific children's book authors ever. She was also a little odd. This book is probably not the best nor most unbiased book about the author, but it gave me some information I have wondered about for a lon I read this book because one of my favorite books as a child was this book called The Family at Red Roofs. I could never find this book anywhere as an adult, until one day I searched on Amazon and there it was and its author was a woman named, Enid Blyton. Turns out, Blyton was one of the most prolific children's book authors ever. She was also a little odd. This book is probably not the best nor most unbiased book about the author, but it gave me some information I have wondered about for a long time. I also ordered a copy of The Family At Red Roofs off of Amazon and I am eager to see if it lives up to my memory.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Really enjoyed this. I loved Famous Five books and all the short stories about faeries.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Hickman Walker

    This book is exceedingly difficult to find. I have seen references to it all over the place. I have seen an actual copy of it in the UCT Special Collections, though you aren't allowed to take it out (they also have Childhood at Green Hedges, written by her younger daughter, which is also an elusive book). Finally, for a fair amount of money, I found a copy at Quagga in Kalk Bay. The Kalk Bay book/antique shops aren't on my usual rounds because (a) they're annoyingly far away and (b) they're most This book is exceedingly difficult to find. I have seen references to it all over the place. I have seen an actual copy of it in the UCT Special Collections, though you aren't allowed to take it out (they also have Childhood at Green Hedges, written by her younger daughter, which is also an elusive book). Finally, for a fair amount of money, I found a copy at Quagga in Kalk Bay. The Kalk Bay book/antique shops aren't on my usual rounds because (a) they're annoyingly far away and (b) they're mostly antique shops and so tend to be expensive. At least Kalk Bay has decent shops of this sort, unlike the horrific excuse for a bookshop in Simon's Town. Anyway, this is a biography of one of my favourite authors, Enid Blyton. I don't like all the stuff she's written (not that I've read it all) and quite agree with some of the criticism she's received (racist, classist, etc), though I'm quite willing to accept that she and her work are products of their time. Much the same way I'm quite willing to accept similar attitudes in Agatha Christie's work or historical fiction. I don't really understand why it should be sanitised simply because it's for children. Perhaps I just think children are smarter than we give them credit for. On the other hand, I still enjoy reading my Blytons, so what do I know? Well, I know how to enjoy myself for an afternoon of light reading ... well, an hour or so at least. I'd need a few Blytons to last a whole afternoon. Also, there are no better books for bathtime reading. This is not because most of my favourites have already been dropped in the bath multiple times. Really. Enid Blyton did not live a particularly interesting life and from all I can tell was not a particularly nice person if you weren't a child. Or at least adoring. She was, as all I've read about her agrees, extremely childlike. She needed attention and adulation. She did not want any sort of responsibility that was unrelated to her writing. All relationships were conducted on her terms. The family history is interesting and I'm really glad I wasn't born at the end of the 19th century. I don't think I'd have been friends with her, but she wrote some fantastic books. And that's all I have to say on the matter.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Namitha Varma

    I always find it difficult to rate an bio/autobiography/memoir. We cannot rate it on the story, of course. So it has to be on the narrative and writing style. But even then, how much creative liberty can we take in a biography, a reconstruction a life, other's or self's? I do not know, despite having made an attempt at writing an autobiography myself. I liked the biography. Because in my humble opinion, Barbara Stoney's attempt at bringing to us the story of Enid Blyton, that prolific writer who I always find it difficult to rate an bio/autobiography/memoir. We cannot rate it on the story, of course. So it has to be on the narrative and writing style. But even then, how much creative liberty can we take in a biography, a reconstruction a life, other's or self's? I do not know, despite having made an attempt at writing an autobiography myself. I liked the biography. Because in my humble opinion, Barbara Stoney's attempt at bringing to us the story of Enid Blyton, that prolific writer whose signature smiles at you gently from the covers of hundreds of books in libraries, bookstores and online shelves, is a heartfelt effort. The narration is simple, straight and non-critical in most parts - quite like Blyton's own books - and she manages to show us both the writer and the woman. As for Enid Blyton herself, I must say I am surprised to find an immature and insecure personality behind a highly productive and famous life. Though perhaps I shouldn't be, because psychologically speaking, maturity has nothing to do with popularity. Like many people with an overactive brain, towards the end of her life Enid had to deal with being trapped in the world of her own creation than reality. I'll end with Stoney's own summing up of Enid's character: "...she was a talented, hard-working writer for children who, behind the public image she guarded so carefully, was an insecure, complex and often difficult childlike woman whose life was at times far removed from the sunny world she created for herself in her highly successful writings. Emotionally she never matured beyond the unhappy little girl from Beckenham who was not to tell anyone that her beloved father had deserted her for someone who appeared to mean more to him than herself. But this probably led to one of the most important factors in her success – her ability to relate so closely to her child readers."

  24. 4 out of 5

    Flapper72

    I had always heard that Enid Blyton was a 'complex character' so thought that it would be interesting to find out more. Unfortunately, that's probably all I know now having read the book. It really was a statement of facts, as much as we have them, without really having a great deal of insight or suggestion as to why she is always perceived as a complex character. OK, her father left the family home when she was a child and she didn't tell anyway, she then became a teacher, got married, got divo I had always heard that Enid Blyton was a 'complex character' so thought that it would be interesting to find out more. Unfortunately, that's probably all I know now having read the book. It really was a statement of facts, as much as we have them, without really having a great deal of insight or suggestion as to why she is always perceived as a complex character. OK, her father left the family home when she was a child and she didn't tell anyway, she then became a teacher, got married, got divorced and remarried, wrote books, and her children were bought up by nannies/nurses and very little by her. Sounds like a family structure that's wasn't particularly unusual for a privileged middle class family in the first half of the twentieth century. It's a shame that there wasn't more insight into the characters - her first husband Hugh who sounds like he suffered from shell shock (probably PTSD) after his experiences in the first world war, exacerbated by the second world war - the life and works of her second husband, a surgeon. Maybe a little more insight into the lives of her children. It was all rather superficial but then I think that the fact we have been left by Enid Blyton are rather scanty which, I guess, in itself is interesting. The thing that amazes me is quite how prolific her writing is. Yes, I read lots of her book as a child but the amount of writing that she churned out on a day to day basis was, quite frankly, astounding and that's something that I'd never really realised until I'd read this book. This is a relatively short book, will only take a couple of evenings to read and is probably worth the read although I doubt will make you much more knowledgable about Enid Blyton than you already are.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    I loved the Famous Five books when I was growing up but wasn't quite so keen on the Secret Seven. It was the adventures of the Famous Five that appealed to me. Enid Blyton books get such a bad press but they are read and children love them. Anything that get children reading is good in my eyes. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Enid's life and she didn't always come across as a nice person but she was shaped by her childhood and the times that she lived in. She never really grew up and I think I loved the Famous Five books when I was growing up but wasn't quite so keen on the Secret Seven. It was the adventures of the Famous Five that appealed to me. Enid Blyton books get such a bad press but they are read and children love them. Anything that get children reading is good in my eyes. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Enid's life and she didn't always come across as a nice person but she was shaped by her childhood and the times that she lived in. She never really grew up and I think that is why her books are so loved by children. There seemed to be no struggle with writing as her characters came to life in her head so easily and she loved writing from a very young age. I suspect that her characters were more real to her than her family and friends. It was sad that her memory and brain failed her at the end of her life. I honestly believe that her brain was wired differently to the rest of us and that she was a very talented person.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Enid Blyton was a major figure in my childhood. I loved her series Hanni und Nanni. Sammelband 1 and Five on a Treasure Island, when I shuffled around the library with my mom I would always pick one of Blyton's stories to entertain me. In between games with my friends I would always haul my book with me and sit under a tree or on the swing and would read and get lost to another world. I still love her books and recommend them to my friends children and my nieces. It was interesting to read about Enid Blyton was a major figure in my childhood. I loved her series Hanni und Nanni. Sammelband 1 and Five on a Treasure Island, when I shuffled around the library with my mom I would always pick one of Blyton's stories to entertain me. In between games with my friends I would always haul my book with me and sit under a tree or on the swing and would read and get lost to another world. I still love her books and recommend them to my friends children and my nieces. It was interesting to read about her background and family and to know who the person behind the books I enjoyed so much was.

  27. 4 out of 5

    L.A. Maria

    Surprisingly I liked it but didn't love it - although I still love her books - this extract of her book from one of her fans sums up how I felt about her books "Once again, thank you for helping to make my childhood so extremely happy. I hope I can make my children as happy by introducing them to the magic, sunshiny world created by you..." I was an Enid Blyton book addict and carried this through with my family. I still have some of the original famous five hard cover books from my childhood. E Surprisingly I liked it but didn't love it - although I still love her books - this extract of her book from one of her fans sums up how I felt about her books "Once again, thank you for helping to make my childhood so extremely happy. I hope I can make my children as happy by introducing them to the magic, sunshiny world created by you..." I was an Enid Blyton book addict and carried this through with my family. I still have some of the original famous five hard cover books from my childhood. Enid came through as a fairly selfish and hard woman in her biography which I found surprising but I had no idea how hard she had worked with the thousands of other literary contributions she made to millions of children around the world and this is to be applauded.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Bamber

    As a biography written 40 years ago I wondered if this would be a bit hard going but it really wasn't. I loved Enid Blyton books as a child and have enjoyed them all a second time round with my own children. I was intrigued to know whether her life experience was behind many of the stories she wrote and was amazed at the sheer volume of output she managed, sacrificing time with her own children to keep working and replying to the thousands of letters she received from children, parents and teach As a biography written 40 years ago I wondered if this would be a bit hard going but it really wasn't. I loved Enid Blyton books as a child and have enjoyed them all a second time round with my own children. I was intrigued to know whether her life experience was behind many of the stories she wrote and was amazed at the sheer volume of output she managed, sacrificing time with her own children to keep working and replying to the thousands of letters she received from children, parents and teachers. A great book to read if you are a fan, it made me a little sad that she died before I was born and able to be one of her adoring letter writers.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ellena

    Just as I used to devour Blyton's books as a child I couldn't put Stoney's biography down. It was incredibly interesting to find out about the writer who has brought so much joy to readers around the world and I thoroughly enjoyed reading some of her earlier poems. I also loved a passage describing Blyton's move to Elphin Cottage. Stoney says she received seedlings and plant cuttings from all over the world and "Enid was particularly pleased with some marigold and sunflower seeds from Tasmania" Just as I used to devour Blyton's books as a child I couldn't put Stoney's biography down. It was incredibly interesting to find out about the writer who has brought so much joy to readers around the world and I thoroughly enjoyed reading some of her earlier poems. I also loved a passage describing Blyton's move to Elphin Cottage. Stoney says she received seedlings and plant cuttings from all over the world and "Enid was particularly pleased with some marigold and sunflower seeds from Tasmania" - the Australian State I was born. A worthwhile read!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jan Q

    I think the author did well to tell us much as she did. Enid Blyton was an incredibly private person so there wasn't a lot of information available. I would love to know so much more, I 'discovered' Enid Blyton in 1968, the year she died, when my teacher read us 'The Magic Faraway Tree,' I was hooked & I devoured her books. How I wanted to join in an adventure with the Famous Five. What a shame her home wasn't preserved as Beatrix Potter's home was. I think the author did well to tell us much as she did. Enid Blyton was an incredibly private person so there wasn't a lot of information available. I would love to know so much more, I 'discovered' Enid Blyton in 1968, the year she died, when my teacher read us 'The Magic Faraway Tree,' I was hooked & I devoured her books. How I wanted to join in an adventure with the Famous Five. What a shame her home wasn't preserved as Beatrix Potter's home was.

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