Beth's Reviews > Eustacia Goes to the Chalet School

Eustacia Goes to the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
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really liked it
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I really like this one. The details are well done, starting with Mrs. Cochrane (a chillingly realistic evil stepmother type), all the way through the prefects' handling the library situation, especially Deira; she's never been noted for good sense, but I thought this was spectacular:
"I did not see that [the library rule] need apply to me. I have been accustomed to have access to any book in my father's library, and I should not mark or harm them as an ordinary girl might do. I dare say many of these foreigners have no idea how to treat books -"

"Less about foreigners, if you please!" struck in Deira. "I don't know if you realize that this is not England; still, in case you haven't, it's Austria, and the foreigners are not the Austrians."
That feels like the beginning of Brent-Dyer's outspoken cosmopolitanism, which eventually leads to her amazingly clear-sighted view of Hitler and the Nazis, as well as various unsubtle asides (meant to show poor breeding) about people who are less than thrilled to meet Austrians or Germans during WWII. It's a fascinating thing, because she does strongly believe in "an English education", but her school also requires French and German and the students end up trilingual as a result.

It's a confusing tangle, viewing that approach alongside her more complicated descriptions of class. But credit where credit is due: it's a realistic tangle. And Deira is absolutely correct in what's a great moment here.

It's weird to read this and realize that a world war was behind them and no one had any idea what was coming. But that's true of any book published in 1930, I guess.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 13, 2017 – Shelved
May 13, 2017 – Shelved as: reviewed

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