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Enid Blyton: The Biography Paperback – 15 Nov 2006
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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 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 colour 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.
About the Author
Barbara Stoney is an author and biographer whose previous books include Sybil, Dame of Sarkand Henry Ford, the Motor Man. She lives in Berkshire.
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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.
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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