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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Feb 2017, 03:37 
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I did a science-math heavy degree, and missing most of a term due to illness would be a serious problem, particularly in the latter part of the program, because of the cumulative nature of the courses. The next term you'd be missing most of the pre-requisites for the new courses, and at senior levels courses were generally only offered one semester a year. If you missed enough of it, you might need to take a year off to get you back on schedule.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Feb 2017, 14:42 
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Dawn09 wrote:
One of the real delights of this book for me was reading the uncut version for the first time. Not only did it provide information on just who exactly 'the Stuffer' and 'Maria' were, but it also provided background details about Mademoiselle's life as a governess and why she was prepared to take her chances with Madge. There is also that lovely conversation between Madge and Mademoiselle where the former shows true gratitude to her friend for taking the reins so that Madge could marry.

As a Grizel fan, I like the fact that she makes good and proves herself worthy of Madge and Mademoiselle's trust. And although Joey herself has a few regressions still to come, she shows her first bit of maturity when Madge is so ill after David's birth.


Me too Dawn - I always see this as the book where EBD is determined to have Grizel shine. I was also glad to clear up the mystery of the Stuffer and Maria - why edit them out of one book and leave them in another??? :banghead:

Interesting points about the Robin - I think EBD is not massively keen on writing the tweenie age, although I think the books featuring characters of that age are among the strongest ones.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Feb 2017, 01:08 
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This is the book where it's building up to Madge being Robin's foster mother. She is described as taking the place of the mother who died and Robin clearly loves her and regards her in that light.

But more interestingly there is a sentence saying Madge would have liked Robin to skip the Salzburg trip but didn't want feel it was her place to say anything as the father had agreed. But her father has no problems in another book with Madge imposing discipline when Robin had misbehaved so he probably would have listened to her.

Did EBD kill off Captain Humphries simply because she wanted to make Robin a 'real' member of the Russell family and could not figure out a place for him in it?

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Feb 2017, 08:35 
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Joyce wrote:
This is the book where it's building up to Madge being Robin's foster mother. She is described as taking the place of the mother who died and Robin clearly loves her and regards her in that light.

But more interestingly there is a sentence saying Madge would have liked Robin to skip the Salzburg trip but didn't want feel it was her place to say anything as the father had agreed. But her father has no problems in another book with Madge imposing discipline when Robin had misbehaved so he probably would have listened to her.

Did EBD kill off Captain Humphries simply because she wanted to make Robin a 'real' member of the Russell family and could not figure out a place for him in it?

Cheers,
Joyce


Yes, in a nutshell! It probably wasn't so much to make her a member of the Russell household though as a member of the Maynard household.

EBD was getting all ready to marry off Joey to Jack and she wanted Robin living with them. That would have been impossible with Captain Humphreys still living at the Russells.

Such a shame! If she had waited another book she had no need to kill him off at all. During the interval in Exile when the San was closed she could have put Captain Humphreys to England because he had to have a job . Robin would have stayed with the Russells.

Robin could then have moved to Jo when Jack joined up and Joey needed company. All done and dusted and Captain Humphreys still there.

He could have gone back to the San when it moved to England or been involved with war work. If he had stayed with the San he would have lived in or got a little cottage near at hand and Robin could have stayed with Jo visiting her father occasionally.

When EBD then had no further use for Robin, her home could then have been with her father.

Alternatively, Mrs Venables could have stayed well and married him but then unlikely Robin and Daisy would have stayed with Jo - at least not in the holidays.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Feb 2017, 09:03 
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She clears out Margot Venables pretty quickly too - from school matron to quick decline and death.

From a story perspective, it makes sense. Captain Humphries, even when he was there, took a back seat to Madge and Jem when it came to raising Robin, something that maybe made sense when she was eight, but not so much as a teenager. And Margot would presumably want some sort of say in raising her own daughters, even if she was resident staff at the school and didn't see Primula much.

If Ted had hung on for one more book, he could have logically gone on to military duty of some sort, as a former officer. That would have kept him out of the way until Robin was finished with school, and left her free to stay with Joey.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Feb 2017, 16:11 
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I wonder if EBD was consciously catering for the sort of reader who lapped up catastrophes? I regret to say that a child, I relished these sorts of disasters: I had no empathy for Robin, or Bette, or Daisy, just a ghoulish at-a-distance delicious shuddering at all the accidents. I must have been a horrible little girl!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Feb 2017, 16:17 
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LucyP wrote:
I wonder if EBD was consciously catering for the sort of reader who lapped up catastrophes? I regret to say that a child, I relished these sorts of disasters: I had no empathy for Robin, or Bette, or Daisy, just a ghoulish at-a-distance delicious shuddering at all the accidents. I must have been a horrible little girl!

Not at all, Lucy! :wink: Most books aim for the page-turning effect - and EBD managed it beautifully for children with these catastrophes, making them quickly turn page after page, longing to know how things turn out. As we grow slightly older and wiser, we learn empathy and so also want the thoughtful sections where we watch character developing in the girls and staff. We can't judge these books as though they were adult reading. They weren't! They were written for young children, and written of a particular time, so we have to adjust our thoughts accordingly when we read.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 12 Feb 2017, 16:47 
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You sound like a pretty normal one to me, Lucy - I very much agree with Mary's thoughts on the subject. Anyway, what price Harry Graham's Ruthless Rhymes, enjoyed by children as well as adults?

Oh look, Mama, what is that mess that looks like strawberry jam?
Hush, hush, my dear, it is Papa, run over by a tram.

or Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies? G is for George smothered under a rug, H is for Hector done in by a thug...


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Feb 2017, 09:46 
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Audrey25 wrote:
Alternatively, Mrs Venables could have stayed well and married him but then unlikely Robin and Daisy would have stayed with Jo - at least not in the holidays.


That would have been a lovely plot twist - I always hated the way Mrs Venables died 'off screen' the way she did.

But then she would have had to write about another family as Robin, Daisy and Primula would have been living apart from the MBR clan.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Feb 2017, 17:08 
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Joyce wrote:
Audrey25 wrote:
Alternatively, Mrs Venables could have stayed well and married him but then unlikely Robin and Daisy would have stayed with Jo - at least not in the holidays.


That would have been a lovely plot twist - I always hated the way Mrs Venables died 'off screen' the way she did.

But then she would have had to write about another family as Robin, Daisy and Primula would have been living apart from the MBR clan.

Cheers,
Joyce


She could have continued to concentrate on the MBR clan. It would have been more difficult to have had Jo in some storylines though if she had no school age children, so the parents had to go so their orphaned offspring could live with Jo !


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Feb 2017, 17:13 
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Apologies for spreeing! When I first read Joey & Co in the Tirol as a teenager, I thought nothing of Joey's two hour faint. Now I wonder is a two hour faint even possible!

I was also desperate to read Highland Twins so I could read all about Jack's supposed drowning and Jo's reaction.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Feb 2017, 22:27 
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MaryR wrote:
LucyP wrote:
I wonder if EBD was consciously catering for the sort of reader who lapped up catastrophes? I regret to say that a child, I relished these sorts of disasters: I had no empathy for Robin, or Bette, or Daisy, just a ghoulish at-a-distance delicious shuddering at all the accidents. I must have been a horrible little girl!

Not at all, Lucy! :wink: Most books aim for the page-turning effect - and EBD managed it beautifully for children with these catastrophes, making them quickly turn page after page, longing to know how things turn out. As we grow slightly older and wiser, we learn empathy and so also want the thoughtful sections where we watch character developing in the girls and staff. We can't judge these books as though they were adult reading. They weren't! They were written for young children, and written of a particular time, so we have to adjust our thoughts accordingly when we read.


Not all of us did! One thing I loved as a child were EB's books which focused more on school issues and school girl relationships and less on catastrophic disasters. Whilst I don't mind reading them, I much preferred (both as a child and adult) the school girl relationships and how the girls themselves coped with them without adult intervention.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 14 Feb 2017, 08:28 
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Fiona Mc wrote:
Not all of us did! One thing I loved as a child were EB's books which focused more on school issues and school girl relationships and less on catastrophic disasters. Whilst I don't mind reading them, I much preferred (both as a child and adult) the school girl relationships and how the girls themselves coped with them without adult intervention.


I think most readers do, which is why stories like Malory Towers, St Clare's and Trebizon are so popular. It's also why so many heroes and heroines are orphans or have lost a parent, because it explains why they have so little supervision.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Feb 2017, 14:43 
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I only had/have the paperback version of this book, and have wondered for years about the Stuffer and Maria. Your precis of the hardback book makes so much of this make sense.

That train ride is not in the paperback. Professor Von der Witt "looks familiar" when he appears in the caves at the end, but I always wondered how. The Stuffer and Maria first appeared to me at Oberammergau in "and Jo". The apple pie beds and stitching each other into cubicles was also cut, being referred to only in "and Jo" when they try to think up some more pranks. I'm not sure that the part with David's birth is quite the same either - I certainly didn't get the same sense of urgency when I read it, but I might have been a bit thick! Finally, the garden party in the paper back does not include the Stuffer and Maria either. In facts it is quite an after-thought, receiving a grand total of 2 and a bit paragraphs on the last page of the paperback!

Where does it say about Anne Seymour being passed over Head Girl? I don't recall that at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Feb 2017, 15:03 
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That's much later on, in Jo Returns. She's passed over in favour of Louise Redfield after Jo leaves.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 11:25 
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However, it also says in a an earlier book that she was likely to follow in Marie's footsteps and be Games Pre, so it's entirely up for speculation: was she or not!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 22:39 
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Going back to the bit about Jo rushing up to the Sonnalpe when David was born ........ I never read it as Madge being ill, just a reference to the fact that at the time childbirth was almost brushed under the carpet (and women needed a week or ten days 'lying in' after giving birth)

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Feb 2017, 19:32 
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I think Madge was ill when David was born.

The way in which Jack Maynard rushes Jo off to see her sister suggests there was some urgency as does the fact Jack spoke "brusquely" when telling Miss Maynard.

What really clinches it tbougb is EBD describing Jo's return to the school:-

"It was not till a flushed and, wonderful to relate, tearful Jo reappeared on the scenes that they settled down to tranquillity again.

She had very little to say, but she assured them that the baby was a darling, and Madge was all right - now".


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 20 Feb 2017, 05:50 
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Grizel is one of my favourite characters (I find her and her flaws very realistic and easy to relate to), and hence this is one of my favourite books. I was a huge Enid Blyton fan as a child, so didn't bat an eyelid at the mad man in the caves and the dramatic rescue- I lapped it all up! For me, it was more important that the characters were alive and real, than that the events were believable. I love the squabbling between Grizel & Joey, Madge telling Joey off for being a pig, Deira having a grudge against Grizel for something quite minor (when I was at school causes for grief/enmity/distress were, in retrospect, rather trivial!): the characters are so alive, they're real people. The outlandish adventures were par for the course in the exotic world (and I had a vague notion as a child that if I had lived in an earlier time than the unromantic 90s, I, too, would be capturing smugglers, escaping from lunatic hermits and the like).

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Head Girl of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 20 Feb 2017, 14:27 
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Me too mrs helston!

Fiona Mc wrote:
However, it also says in a an earlier book that she was likely to follow in Marie's footsteps and be Games Pre, so it's entirely up for speculation: was she or not!

This irritates me hugely - it's one of the worst EBDisms IMO, and just indicates that she wanted to shove a Moral into the story that we could have done without.


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