Watched – Enid (Blyton)

Bonham Carter as Enid Blyton

When I was a child, Enid Blyton was my favorite author. She was beloved of most children: a wonderful storyteller whose stories kept you entranced. But what was she like as a person? Helena Bonham Carter was, at first glance, a surprising choice, to play Blyton in this BBC 4 biopic, but – then so was Trevor Eve who played Hughie Green, in the last series and I thought he was absolutely great!

Enid Blyton

The young Enid gets into storytelling to distract her siblings from the furious arguments which are going on between their parents. Her father eventually leaves for another woman (or so her mother says, though all her life Enid won’t believe this). It is easy to see why Enid starts escaping into her own world. She leaves home as soon at the first opportunity (Enid never stops running all through her life). She trains to become a schoolteacher, though her real ambition is to be an author. Rejected many times, she keeps trying, until eventually a door opens. Not one to hang around, she marries her publisher.

the very famous Five books

Their early days seem idyllic. What a blow it must have been to her to be told she couldn’t have children.. But despite these problems, she does have a child (in fact two,) but motherhood does not come easily to her. She seems more work inspired, than nurturing. Time for a nanny. But although she is honest about her failings, she does have some odd ideas about how to handle week old babies….

Enid Blyton bedtime story book

It is strange the way Blyton is different with other children than her own, and a bit baffling really. She seems more relaxed whilst in the company of children she doesn’t know. To an extent, she seems to shun anything that doesn’t fit into her world of fiction, such as the War. It’s as if in her refusal to be distracted, it will just go away. When her husband starts drinking, she banishes him into the spare room!

Noddy a popular Blyton character

 

Blyton is the ultimate escapist, and does not like the banalities of motherhood: writing comes first. When Blyton finally comes to terms that we are at war, she contributes by digging for victory with her children and entertaining officers whilst her husband is away (escapism again). Eventually of course, she takes a lover ‘Uncle’ Kenneth Waters.

the magical land of Enid

The acting was really good and the attention to period detail wonderful. Bonham Carter makes a great Blyton, showing all her contradiction. She is both hardened and yet vulnerable in her reluctance to face reality. The way that Blyton deals with harsh reality is through her children’s tales, where a happy ending is assured and cake is distributed with lashings of Ginger Beer She has such a hard unfeeling edge to her to her personality though and is able to compartmentalise her life skillfully, dismissing her children. Poor Hugh (ex husband) gets the treatment time and time again, and very cruelly. It is incredulous the way that she can turn her back on anything she doesn’t want to deal with, including her mother and her siblings. A very complicated, emotionally damaged but talented person, whose end was indeed tragic.

Watch it HERE 

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6 Responses to “Watched – Enid (Blyton)”

  1. Oh wowwieeess!! Just the other day, my sister in-law and I were oohing and aahing over our favorite books from childhood days, and Enid Blyton was top on the list.. 🙂 Famous Five…ooohhh!!! All those adventures and the goodies they had at high tea..those scones…yummy!!!!
    Your post totally makes wanna jog my memory and read some good ol’ Enid Blyton now… 🙂

    • And don’t forget the lashings of Ginger beer! What a happy life those children seemed to have – those long summer holidays stretching out ahead and unlike ours, always filled with adventures! I only have to see the illustrations to travel back in time to those carefree days:-)

  2. Ah, marry your publisher – a canny move!
    And there’s Noddy. I loved him as a very young child. I don’t think you could call a friend ‘Big Ears’ today…
    I used to annoy my sister by slipping on my Noddy record (45rpm) when she was trying to impress her friends with her Beatles and Billy J Kramer songs, haha!
    I missed the programme on Blyton, but anything Bonham Carter is in tends to be good.
    Good post.

    • Aw I loved Noddy too (and Big ears) I hope that programme is repeated and you get to see it! All that particular series was interesting – the casting inspired too. Who would have thought Trevor Eve as Hughie Green? wonderful!

  3. sally gaunt Says:

    This commentary is very negative. In fact Enid Blyton was more mysterious than it would suggest. During the blitz she wrote ‘A Child’s Life of Christ”. People must have been very scared then.

    • The post is about Enid Blyton the person and the Biopic of her life. It is not a criticsm on her writing – which I was brought up with and happen to repect and love.

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