I'm posting this so that I have a clean slate for the next book that I want to review. Here’s what I’ve been doing lately that might be of interest… The Youngest Sister
is typical Bessie Marchant, a girl’s coming of age in an exotic local with a smidge of romance and an attempt at Romance in the old-fashioned sense. Although her heroine criss-crosses across the vastness of Canada, you’d think that only half a dozen people lived there because she keeps coming across the same folks. There’s some mildly interesting character stuff about the eponymous heroine’s attempt to make up for a life where she let her (apparently) more capable sisters do everything for her, but BM feels the need to have peril or disaster strike in EVERY. SINGLE. CHAPTER. Which gets tiresome.
I have forgotten everything I ever learned about Canada and flying in the 50s or 60s, which is a shame because teaching me that stuff was the sole point of Shirley Flight, Air Hostess in Canadian Capers. Spectre Jungle
by Violet Methley featured a bunch of really hard-to-like snots, racing against an American adversary in Borneo to find a mysterious simian - the spectre of the title.
More PC was Tangara
by Nan Chauncy, which didn’t quite pull off its rather familiar trick of having a twentieth-century girl be able to slip through time and relive the experiences of another white girl, who befriended a Tasmanian Aboriginal girl, just before her people were massacred. Speaking of history, The Wind Blows Free
teaches us what use can be made of cow pats (it’s a bit Little House on The Prairie
I’ve also been reading The Crackerjack Girls’ Own
. I don’t normally like these annuals – I like longer stories, where narrative covers up perfunctory writing, but it was cheap and featured a story by Anne Bradley
. It turned out to be a pleasant enough collection to read before going to sleep – which isn’t how I normally read books, I’m far too likely to end up reading until the wee hours otherwise.
I read Mistress Pat
, the sequel to Pat of Silver Bush
. Poor Jingle. Montgomery had to do something REALLY, REALLY DRASTIC to get Pat out of her stubborn rut. I think one of the problems with these two books is weird choices in terms of the passing of time. (They’re also overshadowed by better things she’s done – the Annes, Emilys and Blue Castle.)
Angela Brazil’s Schoolgirl Kitty
features an arty family that loses a mother and goes to France. This gives AB a chance to lecture on Art, and provide some ‘exotic’ drama (this being quite a few decades before Spectre Jungle and Shirley Flight).
I read four Miss Silver mysteries in quick succession; I have a fifth to read but I’m a little tired of the formula, so I’m putting it off. It’s always like that with the Miss Silver books, either feast or famine in terms of seeing them on the shelves of shops. Blue for a Girl
was a (somewhat scattershot) account of the Wrens’ history in world war 2. While writing about the Admiralty et al’s sexism, the male writer displays his own chauvinism. I felt that the book was written for people in the inner circle too. I’d have preferred it if it had been more rigorous chronologically, instead of having chapters based on theme, with the writer changing direction unexpectedly every few paragraphs.
Cinemawise, I watched The Spiderwick Chronicles
, which was based on a book that was influenced by other fantasy books. A modern family, flirting with dysfunction, meets old-fashioned (but well-rendered) faerie folk – although the troll was rubbish. There were problems of scale. I hardly ever believed that the whole wide world as the kids knew it was in danger, and I couldn’t but compare it unfavourably with The Neverending Story Nim’s Island
could have been based on a book – I don’t think it was – with its theme of a storyteller lying within us all and it being a lonely person’s way of reaching out. It wasn’t a very good film though.