I think there are two types of readers: those who accept stories as the author intended and those who don't/can't/won't.... The latter people view the fictional world through 21st century eyes and standards
With respect, I don't think that's true, or not true of all of us here, anyway. Some of us are historians, and make it our business not
to look at things from a 21st century perspective.
As a writer, however, I can't help noticing flaws in charaterisation/plot/structure, and I think this is the main problem with Peggy; she is being asked by EBD to fill a role she is unsuited to, both as Head Girl and as the lead character in the book. It's actually very rare on EBD's part; the only other leading character I can think of who wasn't really up to the job is Adrienne, and that was when EBD was no longer at her best.
Also, as an adult, I no longer read the books from the perspective of a twelve year old.
And if we all accepted everything EBD wrote, as she wrote it, there wouldn't be much left to discuss.
Jay, I don't think it is as easy as that. Young readers can be perceptive and older readers don't get it necessarily right.
When the series ended in 1970 I was only a year or so younger than the triplets were in the last couple of books. I more or less read the last few books as they were published. At that age, Len, for me, to some extent spoilt the last few books because she was absolutely perfect and even 17 year olds realise that no human being is perfect. Of course, it probably just wasn't Len but EBD's writing .
It was not until I bought a computer around 2000 and started looking at the CS forums and heard everyone discussing favourite characters that I realised I didn't particularly like anyone although I only found a few objectionable. I didn't even have a favourite triplet because I thought none of them greatly likeable. The characters were just "there".
Giving it deeper thought, of course I do have favourite characters now and I am more ready (maybe) to also accept the good points of Len.
The fact remains though that the CS books were published for children and in that regard had to be written in a certain way - maybe more exaggerated. The last book was also published nearly 50 years ago in very different times.
As a 15 year old I thought nothing of Joey's two hour faint in Joey & Co but now I wonder if such a thing is even possible. I was always quite shocked at any reference to make up in the books. I think that was more a fifties thing than in my youth.
I remember too when reading Jean Becomes A Nurse at the age of 10 being shocked at Diana Hamilton ordering a shandy when out with Jean and her brother. Jean was so "good" and in keeping with the story only having a lemonade.
As for the CS girls being "better" in Chalet School Goes to the Oberland, of course they were! As someone reading this book in her early teens this was the way I wanted it to be.
Looking at the history of the world since it was created and the way some people have been treated - in particular women, Jews, blacks and goodness knows who all else - then I should think we have very little to complain about with the CS.