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'Looks like another adventure' said Timmy wagging his tail
The Famous Five: Slipcase 1-7 - Enid Blyton
Member Name: clissoldjones
The Famous Five: Slipcase 1-7 - Enid Blyton
Date: 22/01/02, updated on 22/01/02 (1019 review reads)
Advantages: easy to read, great fun, outdated
While every child nowadays, who isn't illiterate or severely post-modern, has read the Harry Potter books, and every vicar, however 'Christian cool' and alien they be, has read the bible, so generations of children have got caught up in the adventures of Enid Blyton's Famous Five. No not a group of cheesy pop stars, but a gang of four fearless and thrill seeking kids, and their dog.
They were the ultimate crime fighting outfit. Scotland Yard: 'We have a new case, send out the famous five'
Julian: the eldest of the them all and, not surprisingly given the name, a bloke. He would always be the leader, the sensible one, probably the one who cooked the scrambled egg and wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up. If they had them in those days.
Dick: the second boy (once again not surprisingly) who had such a remarkable personality that I cannot remember anything about him.
George: the eldest girl (aha, now this IS surprising) who wanted to be a boy (I'll talk about this later). Owned Timmy the dog. Often confused old farmers by having short hair and (presumably) picked her nose and passed wind like all other 'typical' boys. May have even played with Action Men...(thats enough, Ed)
Ed: someone I've just made up to keep control of this opinion (real name Eduardo Bog)
Anne: the final member of the humans (a girl, and no NOT a boy called Andy wanting to be a girl) who was a complete wuss, girly, chicken etc. She was the one who was always scared, afraid of the dark, and always irritated me by pretending to be a housewife whenever they set up camp.
There were 21 novels written about these five, and usually the plots were as follows:
1) The five go and stay on an island/farm/camp site.
2) Nearby there is a castle/ruined castle/old house/strip club
3) They talk excitedly about the holidays/half term
4) wierd things happen in the m
iddle of the night (hear strange sounds, see strange things, play strip poker)
5) The five spot a couple of men up to no good (you know what I mean)
6) The Five investigate!
7) The Five uncover a terrible plot to steal/smuggle/escape/kill innocent hamsters
8) The Five are captured (apart from one of the gang and Timmy who escape)
9) The Five escape and trap the stupid bad men therefore solving all that needs to be solved and stopping such awful crimes that were about to be commited.
Basically exactly like Scooby Doo apart from the fact that the dog didn't talk, and the baddies weren't dressing up as a ghost or a vampire.
As well as the usual plot, there were many other aspects of a Famous Five adventure to look out for:
1) Kindly farmer and wife who lends the children some eggs and milk.
2) Lashings of ginger beer.
3) Julian says at the beginning of every novel: 'Lets hope we don't run into another adventure like we always do!'
4) Julian says middle of novel: 'Looks like we've found ourselves in another adventure!'
5) Julian says at end of novel: 'Wasn't that a great adventure!'
^) Another child they befriend, usually a gypsy or identical twins.
They may seem like simple books for children but I think the books work on many levels:
1) George is a symbol for female sexuality. Obviously a lesbian, she represents the freedom of sexuality, while the others represent a society where acceptance is the norm.
2) In an age where pets are treated badly, Timmy is part of the gang therefore showing that the books were simply allegories for a time when animals lived equally with man, and solved mysteries equally with man.
What is so wonderful about the books, is that being set around 50 years ago, they are nothing like life today. Kids cycle, camp and walk around on their own and are allowed to. The baddies always lose instead of being killed b
y a mob of vigilantes after the trial, and its always summer, alawys exciting and always imaginative. If Enid Blyton had lived today this would probably have been the modern update:
'...the children were eating breakfast when mum walked in. "Sorry guys, that b*stard father of yours is trying to get custody of you. I'll be in court for a couple of days. Why not take the boat out and camp on Skull Island?" George, wearing her 'proud to be a lesbian' t-shirt shook her head. "Nahh. We're just like genna watch tv and play on the computer." Just then she had a message from Julian on her mobile. "George, meet me @ off licence 8pm" it said. That night the five got together, bourght lashings of beer, got incredibly pissed and lost their virginity.
Julian said "wasn't that a wonderful adventure" although Dick didn't quite agree...'
I decided to catch up with the original stars of the novels, now in their 60s, and found out what life was like for them now.
Julian: age 68, retired astrounaut, unmarried. 'I suppose I did enjoy the adventures we had, but I always wanted to do something silly, I was always the sensible one. After the books I did all the things I'd wanted to do, became a transvestite, got addicted to heroin and lived with a pig. But I'll never regret it.'
Richard: aged 65, novelist. 'It did get irritating when fans came up to me and said "Hi Dick, how're you hanging?!" but thats part of the fame game. I was going to write up all our adventures like Dr.Watson, but they'd already been written, so I wrote about pencils instead.'
Anne: aged 63, married with three kids. 'All I ever wanted to do was to become a housewife, and thats what happened.'
George: died aged 20. A tragic early death for the lesbian icon, through drink and drugs. She once said 'F*ck off I'm a woman, can'
;t you tell?' and 'the pressures of fame were too much.'
Timmy: died aged 15. 'Woof woof woof, bark, bark, bark, woof, woof, miow oink, woof'
The last book (novel number 22) was never published as it had the five going camping one day when absolutley nothing happened. No strange noise or sounds, no odd behavious by sinister men. Even the local shop had run out of ginger beer. After this disaster Blyton stopped writing.
The great adventures of these intrepid children may be forgotten as a generation of young 'ens get into Harry Potter, but for me they changed my childhood and many others as well. Highly recommended.