Williesun's Reviews > The Twins at St. Clare's

The Twins at St. Clare's by Enid Blyton
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really liked it
bookshelves: blytonchildhood-revisited, 2014, books-by-women, on-my-kindle

I had been meaning to do a childhood re-read for a year not but never gotten around to it. When Risha started with the whole #blytonchildhood tweeting, I knew I would go down that rabbit hole myself.

Reading The Twins at St. Clare's was pure nostalgia for me even though I think all my memories come from the cartoon show and not my reading of the actual books. I started the re-read with the German version of the first book as I knew that version differed from the original and I wanted to see for myself how and why. After about 50 pages, I started the English original and let me tell you, it's very strange to suddenly see the characters of my childhood, Hanni and Nanni, called Pat and Isabel. I know, these are their real names but that doesn't make it less weird for me.

This re-read has made me feel a little bit like my childhood was a fraught, at least to some extend. The German publishing house, aside from publishing more books in this series under the name Enid Blyton than the good woman ever wrote, also changed a good deal in the books itself, mostly leaving out passages or even entire chapters. The story was also German-fied, aside from a lot of the names of the girls being changed, the school names were different, and instead of lacrosse the girls play handball.

All these things don't really make sense to me, why change them? To make them more appealing to the German girls of the 60s? I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have cared because the stories is what drives the books home. We would call this "Heile Welt" and I'm not completely sure how to translate it. But everything always turns out good in the end and the kids are all mostly sweet and nice. I mean, the twins don't ever fight, at least not in this book which just seems odd to me.

I also like that the way Blyton pushes the girls and thus her audience in a certain path. Be sensible, be honest, do your best, be kind etc. Living by those standards and you will be repaid for for. I like that and I guess, in a way, this impacted me as a kid. Hanni and Nanni were the girliest books Mini!Me was comfortable reading. For the most part I preferred the Famous Five series and when I got a Dolly book among some St. Clare ones at Christmas, I refused to read them because the title alone sounded way too girly for my liking. I was a tiny fool back then. Anyway, this was a delightful trip down memory and since I bought the whole first year at St. Clare's in one ebook, I will likely read the rest of the books as well. Maybe that will get me over knowing I did not read the real stories as a kid.
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Reading Progress

December 7, 2014 – Started Reading
December 7, 2014 – Shelved
December 7, 2014 – Shelved as: blytonchildhood-revisited
December 7, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014
December 7, 2014 –
40.0% "I got a bit waylaid by reading the first part in German again to jumpstart my memory so that I can accurately compare that version to the original."
December 8, 2014 – Finished Reading
April 11, 2015 – Shelved as: books-by-women
December 16, 2015 – Shelved as: on-my-kindle

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by rishita (new) - added it

rishita would the word 'wholesome' be a good approximation of Heile Welt?
i still can't get over the hilarity of their names and the handball. truly.


Williesun risha wrote: "would the word 'wholesome' be a good approximation of Heile Welt?
i still can't get over the hilarity of their names and the handball. truly."


I don't know, it seems like wholesome isn't strong enough for Heile Welt. It's some kind idyllic place.
Well, to me it's still weird they are not actually Hanni and Nanni. I'm pretty sure that to this day if you asked kids, they would know who they are. It's such an 'institution' but I feel mad the Schneider publishing for changing so much, not just the names. Maybe my distrust of translations has begun as early as when I first read these books even though I didn't know so at the time.


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