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Looking for Enid: The Mysterious and Inventive Life of Enid Blyton
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Looking for Enid: The Mysterious and Inventive Life of Enid Blyton

liked it 3.00  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Enid Blyton gave us the Famous Five and Fatty’s Find-Outers, the Enchanted Wood and the Wishing Chair. Some of us, encouraged by austere critics, have pretended no longer to want what Enid gave. We have pretended that we were not once upon a time enthralled by her stories. We have chosen to forget how much we loved the time we spent in their company. And we have feigned di ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Granta UK
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liked it 3.00  · 
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 ·  83 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Andrea Hickman Walker
The Mysterious and Inventive Life of Enid Blyton, indeed. Enid Blyton is one of my favourite authors of all time and extremely prolific, a conservative estimate puts her total works at more than 800. This book is not a conventional biography, though a number of those do exist. This is also not one of those books who presumes that because the books are written for children, they are somehow simplistic, or tried to lever these books into the modern day.

What the books are, however, is a reflection
L.H. Johnson
This is possibly the strangest and yet, maybe, one of the most brilliant biographies of an author I've ever read. It's an approach that I don't think would have worked for anybody but Enid Blyton and so, perhaps, the unorthodoxy of Looking For Enid was always destined to work when its subject was such a furiously unorthodox figure herself.

Looking For Enid sets out to discover the truth behind the myth. Enid Blyton for me has always been one of those authors who controlled her brand. Image was a
Nov 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
I decided that I wanted to read a biography of Enid Blyton, and finding one by Barbara Stoney, I asked my husband to buy me it for Christmas. He bought me this book instead. I was rather ungrateful, as I had read reviews of this book, and had heard that the Stoney one was better.

You may be wondering why I am telling you that, rather than writing a review of the book - well the book is like that. It is like a stream of consciousness from McLaren as he and a girlfriend visit the places Blyton liv
Jacquie South
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
Mmm ... still making my mind up on this one ! This is NOT a biography, in the normal sense of biography. There is not much actual information about Enid Blyton's life in a strict factual sense. McLaren studies Blyton mainly through her Famous Five and Mystery (Five Find-Outers) series, and is most interested in her relationships with the 3 important men in her life - her father Thomas, and her husbands Hugh and Kenneth.

This is a strange book, with, to use one of Enid's favourite words, 'queer'
David Evans
Apr 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
An extremely interesting read. In fact I couldn't put it down. Initially I thought this was going to be a straight biography; that would have been good enough, but this mixture of the known facts about Enid Blyton's life and a fascinating theory regarding the influence of the three main men her life on her writing, with particular reference to The Famous Five and the Five FindOuters, had me turning the pages in the same way the great author herself achieved. McLaren recreates Enid's style of wri ...more
Kenneth Yeung
Feb 12, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton as a child and nowadays collect unexpurgated editions of her books. A few years ago I read Barbara Stoney's excellent Blyton biography and enjoyed it immensely. Later, I was thrilled to come across 'Looking For Enid' but my elation quickly turned to dismay after I started to read the book. Quite simply, it is the worst book I have ever read. It added nothing to my knowledge of Enid Blyton. All of the facts were swiped from the Stoney biography and the rest of it w ...more
Sep 26, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Something very unusual has happened while I've been reading this book - I've given up half way through! I think I just got bored with it (admittedly I've not been well this week and had very little patience). I read loads of Enid Blyton books as a child and enjoyed them so I was looking forward to finding out more about her. I got confused by the details about Enid's live and bored by the bits about the author's life. Shame. But I do feel inspired to find a straightforward biography (and maybe e ...more
Verity (The Cosy Reading Nest)
A ludicrous attempt at trying to provide an insight to Blyton's life.

The author assumed whatever he wanted to from very dubious coincidences in Blyton's writing and real life.

He also couldn't seem to help but give everything a seedy undertone.

Less about his own (sex) life wouldn't have hurt the momentum of the book either. Very poor.
Emma Harrison
The best thing about this book was how it made me look back to the time when Enid Blyton books were a huge source of enjoyment for me. I loved the fact that they were mainly about children who were left alone by adults and were able to have interesting adventures and freedom which I didn't feel that I had. Some of the writing is funny and perceptive and I found out a lot about EB that I didn't know. However this book is more about the life of the author really and he does have an unfortunate hab ...more
Nancy Radford
Oct 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Odd but curiously intriguing
Jun 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-interest
All the bad reviews for this book completely miss the point, it doesn't claim to be a simple biography, if you want that, read the official biography, the sugarcoated autobiography, or the bitter daughter's tell all.
This is one mans rediscovery of a childhood love, a pilgrimage to places associated with Enid and some theories about her writing, as it relates to the men in her life. You may disagree with his conclusions, but they make some sense. To dismiss this as, "Not the biography I thought i
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, I did not finish this book. I was more than halfway through when I made a sudden decision to leave its narrator balanced just there on a small stool in yet another charity shop peering at the Castle of Adventure whilst listening in to a dull conversation between a tramp and the cashier... Simply, I ran out of patience.

And I was disappointed to do that. Because I applauded the idea of someone middle-aged like me, going out to seek the identity of Enid Blyton - hero of our childhood
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Quite interesting! The author, a Blyton fan, explores places Enid lived, linking people and places he encounters, to the stories and characters in her books. Style is quite tongue in cheek. I only read half the book as it was due back at the library and the chapters were starting to follow a very predictable pattern. I did find out some amazing facts about her though - she wrote 600 books, was married twice, had two daughters, one of whom hated her and the other retained control over what was pu ...more
Derbhile Graham
I skipped through quite a lot of this book. I could see what the author was trying to do, and there are probably many who would consider it quite inventive, but I found it alienating, and the author's irritating personality got in the way. I stayed with it because of my fascination with the subject matter and the odd interesting glimpse into how Enid's real life fed into her fiction. Plus it mentioned the Six Bad Boys, one of my favourite Blytons.
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting exploration of the life and psyche of Enid Blyton through her books and biography.

Interesting approach mixing straightforward narrative with fictionalised adventures with the characters.

Makes a much more balanced interesting account than the TV series. I now want to re-read the book as well as loads of her fiction and to read the authorised biography and her autobiography- The Story of My Life
Mrs J
Dec 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun read, really well researched and amusingly inventive in approach. The imagined episodes constructed in a Blyton-esque fashion enlivened the narrative no end, and I really enjoyed the author's interpretation of events in Blyton's life. The proof that this is a worthwhile read for me was that it made me want to go back and read Blyton's books again. I also loved the author's constant assertion that there is no shame in reading and enjoying Blyton's work, at any age.
Vikas Datta
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very innovative biography of Ms. Blyton through the prism of the correspondence some of her best work had with her life, relationships and habitations. The blurring of fact and fiction make it very engrossing read - despite the time or two it seems to be getting out of hand.
Made me want to re-read and re-read all Enid's books all over again!
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Duncan McLaren learned much from Enid Blyton...he is the quintessential author for Blyton fans, now all grown up and still looking out for adventure.
Olga Hughes
Feb 27, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-finished
This is the second time I've tried to read this book and given up.
Nov 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quirky. Often written in the style of Enid, the author conducts a quest to explore her life.

I'm about to read the book again. More later.
Laura Edwards
As much as I wanted to love this, I didn’t 🙁 I’ve picked this up about 5 times over the years. Maybe it’s because I don’t know the characters he refers to, fatty, etc. Very strange
Linda Endersby
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