My very first book review on my blog is going to be on the very first book I read. Its Secret Seven Win Through by Enid Blyton. My mom had bought it when I was in third but I shrugged it off until a year later. I was terribly sick and had to lie in bed all the time. Simply, dying of boredom, I browsed the first few pages. Earlier I had run to the dictionary for every few words and had found it an awkward process. Since I was too tired, I just skipped the ones I didn't know. I found it quite easy to read without them and slowly figured them out too.
The story is set in 1940's something. Its summer and the children have a gang with passwords. Their dog leads them to a cave hidden by foliage and they convert it into their meeting place. Strange events befall them that seem unexplainable. A thief eludes every trap they lay and they leave. With a little bit of sleuthing and shadowing and proud bruises in the manner of traditional duel scars, they apprehend a criminal.
I loved it. The book truly gave me a feel of how their life was even if it was too far-fetched.
After two years, of course I noticed the subtle stereotyping in both Secret Seven and Famous Five. The entire book would be fantastical and filled with adventures but the boys would take care of the girls in an unnaturally protective manner. They'd basically not have any fun. The height was when George(ina) tells the police officer what happened from the beginning (including Timothy (her dog) having an ear infection), he looks up from his notes and says, “Oh I'm sorry, I didn't notice you were a girl. I'd better hear the account from Julian, I don't have any time for dog-collars.”
Well, I love Enid Blyton even without her seeming lack of feminism. Perhaps, she didn't want the kids to get carried away and tried to inject a sense of caring. I have probably read a hundred of her books and enjoyed each and every one of them completely. She is one of the great patrons of story telling.