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 Post subject: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2017, 23:01 
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This week’s discussion thread is A Chalet Girl from Kenya, first published in 1955 and covering the school’s first summer term on the Platz. Fourteen year old Jo Scott, daughter of former St Scholastika’s pupil Maisie Gomme, is sent to the Chalet School with Jo Maynard as her unofficial godmother. Jo (Scott) pals up with Josette Russell, and runs afoul of bullying prefect Ruth Wilson, but makes good and becomes a full member of Mary-Lou’s Gang. Notable events:

The day before term begins, Jo receives a letter and makes Jack guess who it is from. After guessing Thekla (of whom even Marie has heard nothing since the war ended), Maureen Donovan (who was left with a bad heart after falling through the ice and died at the beginning of the war) and Gipsy Carson, he gives up and Jo reveals it is from Maisie Gomme, who has named her only daughter after her and is now sending her to the CS, as she doesn’t want her out in Kenya where they have a coffee farm due to the political situation there.
Josette sheepdogs Jo (Scott) on the journey to the Platz, and they are tickled when they realise that they were both named after Jo (Maynard). Jo M meets the girls when they arrive at the school and greets Jo S warmly.
The next day the new girls sit entrance papers, and the following morning Jo S is excited to learn which form she will be in. As the girls say their morning prayers they keep in mind Leila Elstob, who is to have a serious operation on the morrow, with only a slim chance of success. After Frühstuck, Jo, who had hardly dared to entertain a hope of making it into either of the Upper Fourths, finds herself in Upper IVB with Barbara Chester, Maeve Bettany, Clare Kennedy et al., much to her delight.
The Gang goes on a ramble with Miss O’Ryan to the Auberge, and Josette, having introduced Jo to Mary-Lou, brings her along with them. At the Auberge, the girls try out the echoes, and Jo scores points with the Gang when she exhibits a talent for whistling. Josette hints that she is on the way to being adopted by them.
The next day after church and Mittagessen, Jo joins the Russells, Maeve, the Chesters and Lucys at Freudesheim, as Mollie Bettany is departing for the Quadrant after a long stay in Switzerland. Maeve excitedly reveals that a seventh Bettany child is due in September (although it becomes October later on).
Jo M invites Jo S to help her bath the twins, and tells her that if she’s ever in trouble, to come and see her. Just then Jack rings up with the news that Leila has had the operation, but nobody knows yet whether she will pull through. The Head announces the news at Prayers, and that night the girls all pray earnestly for Leila.
The next day, Jo has her first taste of lessons in French and is very nervous, but manages better than she expected. When a new French girl, Laure Olivier, giggles at the English girls’ Franglais outside of lessons, Mary-Lou hits upon the idea of getting her to help them out, reasoning that they must learn French and German sooner or later, and that if they dig in now it will be easier later. A Swiss girl, Anneli Bertoni, is roped in to help with the German, and Mary-Lou’s fiat goes forth right across the Middle school, with the result of a great improvement in their French and German.
By the Friday, Leila is still dangerously near the pearly gates, and asks to see Con. Jack is very reluctant, especially given how young and imaginative Con is, but gives in and hares over to the school to pick her up, along with Jo. Con is taken in to see Leila and talks about their dolls’ houses, and Leila eventually falls into a natural sleep, much to everyone’s delight.
On the second Saturday of term, Clem arranges a tennis tournament for the school, using the school’s eight courts, the one at Freudesheim and the four(!) at Sonnenhofen, the Graves/Peters residence. That evening, the staff take their ease and discuss Jo Scott – startling Nancy Wilmot who remembers Maisie Gomme from the St Scholastika’s days – and reminisce about Emerence and the stairs episode.
Jo writes to her mother and describes a trip to Fribourg for Whit weekend, along with tours of Lake Geneva, Lausanne and Montreux.
One evening after doing some gardening, Jo and Josette fall to discussing what the end-of-term entertainment will be. Josette spots Sybil passing and asks her, but Sybil has heard nothing. She in turn calls over some prefects, and there is a tense moment when Ruth Wilson believes a remark from Josette to Julie Lucy is meant for cheek and drops on her for it. Julie laughs it off, but Sybil notices that Ruth is likely to put the snub down to Josette and pay her out for it, and she hastily jumps into the conversation, earning a sneering remark from Ruth for herself, too. Jo also spots the exchange, and decides then and there that she dislikes Ruth thoroughly.
Clem hits upon the idea of getting everyone to submit an idea for the entertainment, and they then choose the best one from the bunch. Everyone agrees to this plan, and the next day the prefects look over the suggestions. Eventually they decide on a combination of Barbara Chester’s idea of a floral tableaux, Mary-Lou’s suggestion of a garden gymkhana, Josette’s idea of a flower show, and Jo’s idea of a Show of All Nations. Ruth attempts to pour cold water on Josette’s suggestion, but she is cried down.
The next day, Jo comes running out of Upper IVB’s classroom without looking and crashes into Ruth, damaging her hat. Julie smooths the situation over, but when Jo reports the incident to a select group of Clare Kennedy, Maeve, Barbara and Prunella Davidson while on a walk, they warn her to give Ruth a wide berth for a while.
The next day Upper IVB have a disastrous art lesson with Herr Laubach, who reduces even artistic girls like Barbara and Clare to tears. Later on they have a spot test in geography – in French – and Jo distinguishes herself by mixing up loess with lava.
Sue Meadows is called out of lessons one Friday, leaving the Gang worried that there is bad news concerning Leila. However, Mary-Lou beards the Head about it and discovers that Leila is in fact coming home from the San that afternoon, and Sue has gone to welcome her. The school writes her notes and gathers a huge bunch of flowers for her, and propose serenading her when she has recovered from the journey. Meanwhile, the Head ordains that due to the intense summer heat, the school will be going down to Lake Thun the next day for swimming and boating.
The school goes down to the lake the next afternoon, and the girls have a joyful reunion with the Welsen crowd who have also come down.
Jo M, listening to the radio one evening, is horrified to hear that Mr and Mrs Scott have disappeared from their farm in Kenya in the midst of political unrest. Jack comes in and tells her to wait a couple of days before telling Jo S, as nobody else on the Platz has a radio that catches English news and so no one else will know yet. In the meantime he proposes cabling Jem in the hope that he can find out more.
Two days later, Jem cables the news that Maisie has been found seriously injured, but that there is still no word on her husband. Madge follows up with a letter the next day confirming that they believe he has been killed, and that Maisie is in hospital.
Jo M breaks the news to Jo S at Freudesheim, and after the latter has cried herself to exhaustion, Jo M puts her to bed. She sleeps the clock round, and wakes up early the next morning and prays earnestly for her parents. Jo M then enters with a cable containing the news that Mr Scott has been found wounded but alive.
Jo S remains at Freudesheim for a few more days, and Mr Scott sends her a letter detailing what happened to him and that he and Maisie will be leaving Kenya and coming to Switzerland so that Maisie can convalesce.
Jo S returns to school and is plunged immediately into preparations for the flower show. So many girls enter for the gymkhana that even once everyone in the school has contributed something for a prize, they are still short. Jo M saves the day with a big basket of items from her own possessions, and also a note from Madge announcing that she will be coming over to attend, with two cups for the flower show.
A group of girls including Jo, most of the Gang, Len and Con and Emerence, with Miss Wilmot and Miss Dene, walk up towards the Auberge to gather moss for the flower show. Emerence disobeys an order not to go too near the edge in quest of some shiny moss, trips and very nearly falls, saved only by Jo who grabs her ankle just in time and holds on grimly until the two mistresses reach her. Mary-Lou whips off her Guide cord, and Miss Wilmot uses it to lasso Emerence around the waist and pull her back up. Emerence has fainted, but Jo has badly wrenched muscles in her shoulders and arms from holding on to her. When everyone is finally returned to school, she finds herself a heroine, much to her embarrassment.
The day of the flower show arrives, and the Gang takes Jo to view the exhibits before the judges see them. When the incident with Emerence crops up, Mary-Lou announces that they’re proud to have Jo as a member of the Gang, much to Jo’s delight.
The flower show is held, and Bruno escapes from Sonnenhofen where he was supposed to spend the day with Hilary Graves, makes his way back to Freudesheim and flings himself on Jo M, knocking over Janet Forster in the middle of her Bacca Pipes jig in the process. At the end of the day’s proceedings, Jo S is awarded the Margot Venables Prize and Mlle announces that they have raised 606frs 87c for the San.

So, thoughts on this summer book? Do you like the character of Jo S? What about the Leila subplot? The excursion to Fribourg? Jo S’s run-in with Ruth Wilson? Emerence’s near-header off the mountainside?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2017, 02:59 
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I think this is one of my favourites of the Swiss books, mostly because of the two main characters. I love Jo - she's such a nice, sensible girl, without being over the top in anything. She's looking forward to school, and settles down well, but with some fairly realistic bumps along the way. I like the backstory of Jo being the practical child of ditzy parents, and her grandfather stepping in to make sure that she's not over burdened with worry (and gets a good education). I also like Josette in this book - she's a friendly, likeable girl and her friendship with Jo seems natural.

Joey's participation in this book works. She's an old almost-school friend of Maisie, but Maisie comes across as someone just ditzy enough to have declared Jo an honorary godmother to a child she didn't know existed (unlike Erica's storyline). So Joey stepping in to see that Jo settles down at school, and being the one to help when her parents are in trouble, is a logical progression, and it makes sense that Jo would look up to her. There are various coincidences (like Joey just happening to hear the radio broadcast, and Jem having connections in Kenya), but they're manageable.

On the down side, I think this is the book where Mary-Lou slips from an engaging character to someone who gets her own way too much. In previous books, the Gang is a fairly loose group of girls who are led by Mary-Lou and tend to lead the form. In this book, they're exclusive to the point that they have trial periods for potential new members and a formal admission, sorority style. For me, that brings back memories of some very unpleasant cliquish stuff when I was about 12 or 13 (in my school, it was the "Blood Sisters").

The Con and Leila stuff is a bit out of left field, and never shows up again, although the form being interested in Leila's recovery, and wanting to help is a nice callback to the family feeling of Tyrol days.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2017, 04:05 
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jennifer wrote:
In this book, they're exclusive to the point that they have trial periods for potential new members and a formal admission, sorority style. For me, that brings back memories of some very unpleasant cliquish stuff when I was about 12 or 13 (in my school, it was the "Blood Sisters").


It leads on from Barbara, where she is "accepted" into the Gang where we see the cliquey nature really setting in.

I will say that at least they aren't openly mean but they are very exclusionary and that in itself can come across as bullying. The part where they adopt a 'special' word and won't tell anyone else what it means, is exactly what the 'popular' girls in my primary school would do.

And I wonder what would have happened if anyone had joined them when they all walked off together - would ML or Vi have gently suggested "your friends are over there".

I also dislike the slight racism in this book. Mr Scott is only found because his 'native' worker has great hearing and leads the police to where he was found.

Instead of being grateful, Mr Scott calls him a lazy blighter and complains that he didn't fill in the very hole that just saved his life! If he had been found by a white man Mr Scott would have been singing his praises to the skies.

As for Jo imitating a native dance to amuse her friends - I can never read that part without cringing. Before you bash me, I realise this is reading the sections through modern eyes and EBD never meant it that way.

But overall, I like this book. Josette is just delightful and Jo is just a lovely normal new girl who I wish we got to hear more about later.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2017, 07:50 
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I dislike the fact that Jo has to get formal permission from Mary-Lou to join the Gang, but I think Jo herself is a lovely character. I like her friendship with Josette, and am sorry that it fades away as Jo is moved into the triplets' orbit instead. I also like the Con/Leila storyline: Con doesn't get many big storylines, and it's nice to see her at the centre of the action for once.

It's one of the few books, other than the war books, in which real life world events come into play. The Royal Wedding, the death of George VI, the Coronation and Indian independence are never mentioned, but then we get a book centred around the Mau Mau Uprising.

I know that very few Old Girls, other than those we're already in touch with, would have been old enough to have a daughter of Jo's age, which is why EBD had to resurrect a minor character from St Scholastika's, but I find the idea that Maisie Gomme was so obsessed with Joey that she named her daughter after her and told her to regard her as a godmother very unconvincing. Do we ever see Jo and Maisie so much as pass the time of day with each other whilst they're at school?!

And Bruno annoys me so much in this book! We're presumably meant to find it hilarious that he escapes, runs wild and ruins poor Janet's big moment, which she must have spent ages practising for, but I do not!!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2017, 10:33 
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I like Jo and wished she had been more prominent in other books instead of just fading away to eventually disappear, I think she should have been Head Girl.The back story of her mother however is totally unconvincing and unlikely. As Alison says why would someone Joey probably cannot truly remember be so obsessed as to name her daughter after her,it doesn't ring true.
Not keen on the way she is accepted to the 'gang' , with ML giving her permission,did she rule the gang, telling them what to think , do or be friends with, it appears so.

The award to Jo of the MV prize is puzzling also,certainly she should have got the medal for bravery but I don't think she had done enough in one term for the MV prize.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2017, 11:21 
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The medal for bravery was only institued a couple of years later at the Coming of Age celebrations. I think she did get it retroactivly at that time. I suppose the prefects felt she deserved some kind of award/recognition for what she had done, and in the absence of a medal felt that that was the best option - it was, after all, given in recognition of personal qualities such as she had displayed.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2017, 11:37 
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I quite like this book although it is one I am least likely to re-read.

Jo is a nice girl and it ia a nice change having a new girl more keen on domestic stuff and who is not an academic genius. It would have been good seeing her as HG but after Mary-Lou, EBD got bogged down by the M/B/R clan

The Gang seems to have grown to a much larger number in Switzerland. In one of the last of the Island books it is mentioned it is only about seven people and I think it would have been best to have stayed around that size. The only good thing about them was that they were not nasty girls.

For me, the most noteworthy thing about this book is that Josette is three years older than the triplets. This was a bit much considering it was so well documented in Exile that the triplets arrived a year or so after Josette.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2017, 12:09 
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I like this book - as others have said, Jo and Josette are a nice pair. We don't see an awful lot of Josette in other books, she's there in the background but I think this is the only book she really has a major storyline. Although she's MBR, by the time we get to Switzerland, EBD concentrates much more on the Maynards, even though she does have the Russell girls and Maeve at the school. Would have been nice to see Mary-Lou as just one of the crowd and Josette a leader in that gang! Since she was named for Jo, wonder if EBD ever thought of putting her namesake in a much more prominent role in the second generation,then when she invented Mary-Lou, she took over centre stage?

I have a spare hb of Chalet girl from Kenya, reprint 1956, £6 + post, shabby cover and pages browning as they all do around then but an OK copy, pm me if interested.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2017, 14:21 
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I like this book, chiefly, as others have said, because Jo is such a likeable girl. It's also the only time Josette gets anything like a starring role, but I think Jo still comes across as the stronger character; at this stage, Jo looks more like a potential HG than Josette does. Ailie is really the only one of the Russell girls who seems to have a strong personality.

This is the book where Mary Lou really begins to dominate. I think Josette's character (and everyone else's) is weakened as a consequence. Mary Lou is a kind, good natured girl, but I don't think it was necessarily good for her to be singled out by being made Head of the Middles, when it hadn't been done before (except that it had been) and was never done again.

Back in the Tyrol days, Jo would have been regarded as a leader among the Middles, but you don't see Margia or Evvy or others deferring to her in the way these girls do to ML; they're all strong characters in their own right.

Nearly everyone's age is EBDed, and hardly anyone is in the right form for her age.

One scene I'd have liked to see that we didn't get is Jo being introduced to Madge. I'm sure Madge would have asked to meet her at the earliest opportunity, given how pleased she was that Josette had a Best Friend, and how she wanted to fly over when Jo's parents were missing.

(The story of Katharine Gordon's parents is taken from real events in China at the time.)


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2017, 18:34 
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In most ways I don't see how Mary-Lou's friendship group is any differecnt from numerous other friendships that I know of in the CS and real life.

Yes, it was large but was it any more exclusive than Joey's quartette, the quintet, Gay/Gill/Jacynth, Daisy/Beth/Gwensi, Peggy and her different "circles", Bride, Tom and Co, the triplets and their lot?

In real life there were a couple of big groups in my own class at school - one lot were still together at the time of their 50th birthdays.

Nowadays there's all the cool kids who go off on holiday at end of 6th year. My daughter at school was one of the geeks who were not cool and numbered maybe 10.

It was only in the first year or so of Switzerland that ML's lot got so numerous, and the public recognition was also wrong. It was almost as if EBD was setting up a junior prefect system.

I do wonder though if EBD was able to write ML exactly as she wished, or was the character so strong, she overwhelmed the author?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2017, 19:29 
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ivohenry wrote:

I have a spare hb of Chalet girl from Kenya, reprint 1956, £6 + post, shabby cover and pages browning as they all do around then but an OK copy, pm me if interested.


This has now been sold


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2017, 20:05 
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Add me into the chorus of people who like Jo and Josette.

I also like the welcome return of a chapter of letters, particularly as she makes "Maisie Scott/Gomme" very different - I always read it in a slightly breathless way with emphasis on the italicised and underlined words.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2017, 09:57 
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Audrey25 wrote:
Yes, it was large but was it any more exclusive than Joey's quartette, the quintet, Gay/Gill/Jacynth, Daisy/Beth/Gwensi, Peggy and her different "circles", Bride, Tom and Co, the triplets and their lot?


My problem is with the Gang's exclusive nature and the 'initiation' rites that girls were put through before being approved.

We see the other groups you have mentioned being friendly with other girls such as Gillian with Joey, Dickie Christy with Gay and Jacynth, Annis with Tom and Co. And it's done naturally without any fuss.

In other words, they weren't so exclusive they could not see outside their circle and befriend other girls. The Gang does not behave that way. And we see from the other side in Mary Woodley's behaviour the jealousy and anger that can cause.

Terrygo wrote:
The back story of her mother however is totally unconvincing and unlikely. As Alison says why would someone Joey probably cannot truly remember be so obsessed as to name her daughter after her,it doesn't ring true.


I think we are meant see it as Joey's amazing influence that someone who barely knew her at school would want to name their daughter after her. It would have made more sense had it been the girl who's life she saved. The rest of the story would not have been affected in any way.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2017, 11:15 
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Sorry cannot quote relevant part ofJoyce's post but too much effort on smartphone.

Regarding Mary Woodley and jealousy of the gang, surely Mary was particularly jealous of Barbara because she was friendly with Vi?

Even if it had been the gang though, there are lots of other non gang examples of jealousy - Francie of Ruey because of Margot, Jack Lambert of Jane, Simone of anyone friendly with Jo, etc.

The "initiation" thing was not good but does this not go on the whole time anyway when a newcomer becomes friendly with a group? The group will not take the newcomer to their hearts at once or until they all agree they want her as part of them. Even between individuals, people hold back at the begiining until they can be sure the other person is as he/she seems.

I knew someone who was friendly with several of a group of women who had been meeting regularly for meals at each other's houses for a number of years. They actually formally invited my friend to be part of their little group. I am sure this, or similar, goes on the whole time and it must with every new friendship but usually not such a deal is made of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2017, 11:39 
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It gets worse later on, when some girls - I think Val and Samaris - get involved in some crazy Schleswig Holstein question type situation in which two girls are best friends but one of them is an official member of The Crew and the other one isn't.

It reminds me of Adrian Mole briefly being admitted to the bad boys' gang at school, at which point he was formally granted permission to address the gang leader, Barry Kent, as "Baz" :lol:. And the Pink Ladies in Grease had special jackets which only gang members were allowed to wear. But both those examples were intended to be slightly ironic and to poke fun at formalised school gangs. It doesn't really tie in with the Chalet School ethos about sharing your friends. Gangs like that are very common at school now. There's one scene in which someone (Hilda Jukes?) tries to sit down for some occasion in the hall and is told that all the seats in that area have been bagged by the Gang, which is exactly what used to happen at my school - big gangs would "save" whole rows of seats for their friends, or let all their friends push into the dinner queue!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2017, 17:23 
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Audrey25 wrote:
In most ways I don't see how Mary-Lou's friendship group is any differecnt from numerous other friendships that I know of in the CS and real life.

Yes, it was large but was it any more exclusive than Joey's quartette, the quintet, Gay/Gill/Jacynth, Daisy/Beth/Gwensi, Peggy and her different "circles", Bride, Tom and Co, the triplets and their lot?


To me, these are small groups of friends that sprang up organically and lack the organization and hierarchy of the Gang. Jo is obviously the star of the quartette, but she doesn't lead her group "by the nose" and the four of them don't dominate the entire form. The quintet was a quartet before Cornelia came along, so I don't think Margia et al. were particularly exclusive even if they didn't grow to a sextet. Gay/Gill/Jacynth and Daisy/Beth/Gwensi are little trios without an obvious leader, and while collectively they are leaders within their forms, they don't decide who gets paired with whom on expeditions and other form members don't seem to defer to them the way Mary-Lou's peers do. Bride and her friends seem to be just that, Bride and her friends -- a bunch of really nice girls with a few strong personalities, but they are all chummy and matey. As for the triplets, their group of friends seems to shift from book to book, so I'm not sure what's going on there. Is Odette part of their lot? Ruey? Francie? Len seems to be the only triplet with clearly defined close friends -- Rosamund and Ted -- once Emerence leaves Margot behind at school.

Peggy's circles mirror real life most closely to me: close friends, less close friends, people you're friendly with, acquaintances, etc. That's more or less how my social life is structured, and those circles can grow and contract.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2017, 17:45 
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Audrey25 wrote:
The "initiation" thing was not good but does this not go on the whole time anyway when a newcomer becomes friendly with a group? The group will not take the newcomer to their hearts at once or until they all agree they want her as part of them. Even between individuals, people hold back at the begiining until they can be sure the other person is as he/she seems.

I knew someone who was friendly with several of a group of women who had been meeting regularly for meals at each other's houses for a number of years. They actually formally invited my friend to be part of their little group. I am sure this, or similar, goes on the whole time and it must with every new friendship but usually not such a deal is made of it.


If this person had not been formally invited, what would have happened? Presumably nothing. What happens to girls who don't make the cut for the Gang? They can be friendly with the members, but what about close friends, a la the quartette, quintette, etc.? It feels like the pool of girls available has suddenly narrowed.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2017, 18:11 
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mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
Audrey25 wrote:
The "initiation" thing was not good but does this not go on the whole time anyway when a newcomer becomes friendly with a group? The group will not take the newcomer to their hearts at once or until they all agree they want her as part of them. Even between individuals, people hold back at the begiining until they can be sure the other person is as he/she seems.

I knew someone who was friendly with several of a group of women who had been meeting regularly for meals at each other's houses for a number of years. They actually formally invited my friend to be part of their little group. I am sure this, or similar, goes on the whole time and it must with every new friendship but usually not such a deal is made of it.


If this person had not been formally invited, what would have happened? Presumably nothing. What happens to girls who don't make the cut for the Gang? They can be friendly with the members, but what about close friends, a la the quartette, quintette, etc.? It feels like the pool of girls available has suddenly narrowed.


If the person that I knew - my sister - had not been formally asked to join this group, she would presumably never have met the group when they all went to each other's houses, weekends to London, outings that included just the group. She would have been like Claire Kennedy with the gang -friendly with several of its members but not part of it.

Nowadays, photo frames can apparently be bought inscribed "the girls" for a photo of a particular friendship group. Women in their sixties are buying these to give to friends. Tough for friends excluded and no different from M-L's gang.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2017, 18:37 
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Not to mention all the facebook mentions of various people being each other's "besties" - as in best friends. Always makes me wonder what their various other friends think of it.

I don't actually mind ML's relativley benign dictatorship. The membership of the gang seems vastly fluid between different books with different people sometimes seeming to be in the gang and sometimes not, and those comments of Josette's about Jo being accept are one of the few times there even the vaguest suggestion of having to be "approved" to be friends with them. They don't don't seem to be a bullying cliquey unpleasant gang to me.

Yes, there are mentions of ML leading the gang by the nose, but surely what she actually does is set the tone for them. And no one but Mary W seems to actually mind, the rest of the various forms they are in all have their own friends.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: A Chalet Girl from Kenya
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2017, 19:00 
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Joyce wrote:
My problem is with the Gang's exclusive nature and the 'initiation' rites that girls were put through before being approved.
Could I have a memory refresh about the initiation rites, please? I don't remember any except in Tyrol when they form the Society for the Suppression of Matron in Princess.

It seems to me that an actual 'gang' of teens (as opposed to a few friends who go about together) is quite unusual in GO fiction - a lot of teenage girls would have thought that sort of thing rather juvenile. It's an enormous shame that people have obviously had experience of feeling excluded, but I can't help thinking that feuds in school are even more damaging.


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