Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review Tuesday: 'Enid'

Today’s ‘Review Tuesday’. If you’re like me, you were raised on an Enid Blyton [1] literary diet. Famous Five, Secret Seven, Noddy. The list goes on [2]. Enid Mary Blighton (1897-1968) was a British children’s writer. Indeed among the most successful twentieth century children’s storytellers. In her 45-year career she wrote over 800 books which’ve sold over 600M copies. So it’s unsurprising a biographical film’s been made about her. Enid [3, 4] is a BBC telemovie first shown in late 2009. It spans the decades from young childhood until the onset of dementia late in her life. Blyton’s depicted as unmaternal, uncompromising, self-absorbed and complex. She’s shown to be preoccupied with her young fans to the exclusion of her own daughters – whom she coldly banishes to boarding school because to her they’re a nuisance at home. Disenchanted with her first husband, she divorces him then begins an enduring marriage with a more accommodating second husband. During all this, she continues to churn out immensely popular books. This movie treats Blyton – played very well by Helena Bonham Carter – enigmatically. Whilst almost totally unable to mother her daughters, she easily reached the minds of her millions of readers. I don’t now how accurately Enid depicts the real Enid’s life. But surely it’s not totally inaccurate. Self evidently there’s no reason why someone’s personal shortcomings should prevent them being a successful fiction writer. Even so, the tenor of Enid surprised me as a former Blyton fan. I rate it three stars.

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