S.'s Reviews > Third Year at Malory Towers

Third Year at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton
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Apr 18, 11

I must admit that from a shallow rip-along story point of view, I loved this to bits all over again: It has horses!

The only thing that genuinely stuck in my craw here was the treatment of Miss Peters, the third form teacher and horse-lover.
The way she is described one can only imagine her as one hell of an ugly bull-dyke and I took offense, precious, offense!

But only because the girls judged her by her looks, deep voice and rough manner.
Only when she proves to be in possession of heart by making a mad dash on horseback in a howling storm to fetch the vet for an equine dying of colic do the girl exclaim: Why, who'd have thought it, underneath it all she has real feelings and soft ones, too!

Well, a big curly wurly poo to you Miss (Mrs?) Blyton, for blatantly judgmental stereotyping. I don't like how she gets away with it even though she's supposedly proving the girls wrong: There is a dowdy, self-righteous sort of smugness going on there that was deeply unpleasant.
You know: Some of my best friends are Niggers and we must accept them, Mabel, dear!

Alright, maybe I'm being too hard on Blyton, I know next to nothing about her. But the tone was not nice.

And another thing!

NAMES. What on earth was wrong with the Dutch translators of these books I know not, but I wish to the stars they'd kept Darrell's name: She became Pitty in the Dutch versions and if you know a more insipid name than that do enlighten me.
I've always hated it.

There are other very strange changes in the names: Mavis the singing girl became Marion.
What's the point?
Alicia became Alice. Ditto. Honestly, did they think Dutch children would stumble over one extra vowel?
And, most irritatingly of all: Zerelda became Diana in the Dutch book.
How perfectly boring.
Children adore wondrous strange names in their reading and I found it utterly patronizing to find out I'd been denied the perfectly, deliciously preposterous name Zerelda all these years!

Zerelda as a character was offensive, too, come to think of it: A stereotypical dumb drawling American who couldn't act, in fact, could barely string a normal sentence together if you believe Bltyon, felt herself to be culturally superior and -get this- only really shines when she plays the fool and does comedy. Lordy. Or rather: "Gee!"

I hope my American Goodreads friends will still heart me if they know I have affairs with this kind of book. That would be wunnerful.

Onwards to book Four...

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by S. (new) - rated it 4 stars

S. *Phew*!

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Gee! I still heart you!

(And my grandfather did use the word gee all the time, and in so many different contexts, that it was like this amazing flexible ur-word that could mean anything and nothing all the the same time. Gee!)

message 3: by S. (new) - rated it 4 stars

S. Abigail: Yeah, it's pretty bloody blatant in this one, it really made me cringe.

Gee, thanks, C, that's just swell! ^^

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