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4.2 out of 5 stars57
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 21 December 2009
Enid Blyton was always my favourite author as a child growing up in the 1950s and one of her books was one of the first I borrowed from our local library aged 5! As I was growing up I engrossed myself in all the books which could be borrowed from the library and can still remember the excitement of my aunty pressing a 10 shilling note in my hand on a visit to go and buy myself a hard backed copy - heaven ! I was encouraged to buy this book after watching the show "Enid" starring Helena Bonham Carter on the television recently and thoroughly enjoyed it, it is very well written and researched and shows I think the true person without doing a hatchet job on Enid although she certainly comes across as not the easiest person to live with or know! Any Enid Blyton fan will enjoy the book.
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on 21 October 2014
I fondly look back on my childhood and remember the excitement of receiving a new Enid Blyton book. Throughout the years I progress from her pixie and fairy stories to her adventure stories and it is no doubt that her stories encouraged me to become the avid reader I am today.
This book was an insightful and interesting read and was in no way biased. I had recently watched a bbc play about her life so I thought I already knew what I was going to read, I couldn't have been more wrong. This book told you what I feel is the true story behind Enid life , career and family. It doesn't make it all fluffy and sweet, just honest and I feel truthful.
I cannot recommend this book enough. It never bogs you down with facts and figures of no interest. I found this thoroughly enjoyable and holds your interest throughout.
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on 17 November 2008
I grew up on a (literary) diet of Enid Blyton's books: first the Faraway Tree and later the Famous Five. I loved them all and it wasn't until i reached my teens that i became aware she was a controversial figure, accused of being a reactionary who dumbed down children's vocabularies.

This biography shows what a remarkable individual Enid Blyton actually was: a self-made woman in an age when women were still expected to just marry and procreate, a vivid and compulsive - yet also repetitive - writer, a keen educator of children who was however distant to her own, a universal mother figure who in many ways remained a perpetual child. Finally we reach the final pages of the book and her harrowing descent into dementia ending in her death.

Curiously, my overall feeling after finishing the biography was vindication: because as flawed and limited as Enid Blyton may have been, she was also a true original in her own way.
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on 16 April 2015
I read Enid Blyton's books when I was a child. I reveled in the world of the 'Secret Seven' and the 'Famous Five'. Some years ago, when working as a school Librarian, I took the same books off the library shelf and replaced them with more modern children's authors. Now books shops, school and public libraries are putting Enid Blyton's books back on their shelves. Children want to read them.
What is the appeal of Enid Blyton's books to this new generation of children? Children love stories, especially stories where children are the main characters. Children love stories in which children are having adventures. Children love stories where they come out on top, solving the mystery without the help of adults, showing that they are as smart, or smarter than adults.
Barbara Stoney relates the life of Enid Blyton, her uneasy childhood, her early discovery of a love of writing and her career, spanning 60 years, as a published children's author of magazines and books. Stoney's biography does describe Enid Blyton - her capacity for work, her rise to fame and wealth, her social projects, her family life and her last years. However, it is not the biography that brings Blyton to life, but the Appendices, especially Appendix 8, where In a series of letters to Professor Peter McKellar, late Professor of Psychology at Otago University, New Zealand, Enid Blyton explains her imaginary process, how her stories come to her complete with characters and plot before she starts writing. Because of this she was able to write her books very fast, somtimes writing more than 4000 words per day. Enid Blyton says as much about herself as does the biography of Barbara Stoney.
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on 25 January 2008
I have always found Enid Blyton a facinating character, but somehow this book failed to give me the insight that I expected. The book is a good read but, like Enid you never get under the skin. Perhaps I am being unfair as I wanted to understand her inspiration, this is touched on but never fully explored, also documentary evidence, ex-pupils, ex-employees, publishers and family do not seem to have been interviewed. I know Enid Blyton was a very private person and this book just confirmed that to me.
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on 6 October 2009
Barbara Stoney's biography of Enid Blyton shows the best-selling and beloved children's author to be complex and childlike. Stoney unearths a lot of information about the writer which should interest anyone fascinated with her, and the books she wrote. The book gives a listing of many of Blyton's books, although it is not complete. Stoney's biography is a fair and unbiased assessment of Enid as a writer. It seeks to view her as a product of a particular time period, and shows that, despite her critics, she remains the most beloved of children's writers. And after all, isn't that what ultimately counts?
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on 1 October 2009
I found this book very interesting, it basically is a complete run through of Enid's life and is very detailed in what she did when. There are some excerpts from her diaries in the early years, but unfortunately her later diaries were all destroyed. The only criticism I do have is that I didn't feel that I got a real sense of who she was as a person. The prominent theme throughout the book is she obviously loved children and was completely dedicated to them and several other charitable causes.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about Enid, as it is very readable and it is nice to see what the attitudes and social standards were like back then.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 August 2015
Many will think of Blyton with affection. I grew up with her books; nature stories, Noddy, Famous Five, Mallory Towers, Secret Seven. I devoured them all with pleasure. Later, I found it difficult to understand how an author could divide opinion to the extent that her work was deemed unacceptable by the BBC and many local authorities banned her books from their libraries.

Nonetheless, she remains a much published author. She is the world's fourth most translated author, behind Agatha Christie, Jules Verne and William Shakespeare. From 2000 to 2010, she was listed as a Top Ten author, selling almost 8 million copies. Quite an achievement for someone who died in 1968 and whose output was some 600 (allegedly racist, xenophobic, sexist and simplistic) books for children. For these reasons, I was interested to learn more about the person behind the 'Blyton' name. Barbara Stoney's biography certainly provides intelligent and thoughtful insight into key facts and events around her life. It's an interesting read although I found it rather clinical and lacking in warmth or empathy. But given her subject's ambivalent and often detached view of her own children, maybe it's an honest and compassionate account. I enjoyed it. It should appeal to any reader with even a passing recall of Blyton's astonishing output. Well researched, it provides an inkling into why her appeal is increasing nearly 50 years after her death.
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on 11 May 2012
Enjoyed this book very much. Was written in good plain english and gave a clear picture of Enid Blytons life. Barbara Stoney really does justice to a much loved author. Have been a huge fan for as long as i can remember and spent many very happy hours reading Enid Blytons books. Other fans,i am sure,will agree that you loose yourselves when reading these books and feel you are part of the adventure. Barbara Stoney gives you an insight into how this amazing woman spent her life using this talent to give joy to many,many children.
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on 22 April 2015
I was hoping that this was going to tell me lots of interesting stuff about Enid Blyton other than the widely held knowledge that she was a 'complex character'. I guess that I'd been hoping that there would be an explanation for her complex character or an explanation for the way she behaved and lived her life. There wasn't really. I didn't learn a great deal new. I suppose that this is partly due to the fact that Ms Blyton left very little first hand evidence about her life, behaviour, thoughts other than the enormous amount of writing she did for your young children. Perhaps that just makes her more inquisitive. The book was not confabulated with 'perhaps', 'maybe', 'it might be' the story was told with the evidence available - that was limited and, therefore, the book doesn't really add a great to deal to one's understanding of her life. Having said that, it's nicely written and worth a read. It won't take you long.
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