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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2017, 10:48 
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Audrey25 wrote:
I don't understand either why Matey did not know about Barbara. If nothing else, surely she had some kind of health record for each pupil?


I call it Matey's 'senior moment'. :D Obviously EBD needed to bring in Barbara's background as info for the reader, but she could have done it by having a teacher who does not know the Chester clan ask Matey about Barbara's background.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2017, 11:11 
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Obviously EBD needed to bring in Barbara's background as info for the reader


But hadn't that been covered in the conversations between Beth and Barbara on the train, and when we're shown Barbara's own thoughts?

Barbara making a mess in the bathroom and having to clear it up is good, it's part of the process of Barbara learning to do things for herself, which is what the book is partly about. But Matey should have known the background. She could still have had a conversation with Hilda about it, but from a different perspective.

Otherwise, I like the opening of the book, with Barbara's eagerness to experience everything. But then EBD does usually give good strong openings.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2017, 11:20 
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I love the mess in the bathroom scene :lol:. I bet Barbara wasn't the first person to do that. It never ceases to amaze me how people think it's OK to leave office kitchens in a mess :roll:. And there were issues in my university hall of residence over people who seemed to think it was OK not to bother clearing up communal bathrooms and kitchens and after they'd used them. I'm sure it wasn't just Barbara!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 31 Aug 2017, 14:01 
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Alison H wrote:
I love the mess in the bathroom scene :lol:. I bet Barbara wasn't the first person to do that. It never ceases to amaze me how people think it's OK to leave office kitchens in a mess :roll:. And there were issues in my university hall of residence over people who seemed to think it was OK not to bother clearing up communal bathrooms and kitchens and after they'd used them. I'm sure it wasn't just Barbara!

She certainly wasn't the only one. There are one line mentions of people doing the same thing throughout the series. I think even Beth mentions that it had happened to her.

In this case though, it was Barbara's first day at school, and she was there by herself. She was making a huge effort to be independant and cope with life for herself for the first time. We see that her mother had always brushed her hair for her in the past, and she must have had no idea of cleaning up after herself. And she was in school by herself - none of the other girls had arrived yet, so there was no one to tell her that it had also happened to them, or that it was a nuisance, but Matron always made them clean up, and might even call them out of lessons to clean up, or even to give the mild lecture about thinking of the next person to use the bathroom. So between her trying to behaver perfectly and her lack of context for this kind of 'crime' it seemed to Barbara a much bigger thing than it was.

Incidentally, I like the fact that Barbara refuses to be known as Babs (though I think it might be in another book). Its nice to see someone refusing to have thier name abbreviated for once.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 04 Sep 2017, 13:48 
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This is not one of my favourite books of the series, but I do like the Mary Woodley storyline. It is realistic and definitely there would have been pupils who were jealous of the 'gang' and would like to have been a part of the group. But in genera up to this point EBD tended to idealise school girl friendships and rarely showed jealousies, possessiveness, rivalry over who is 'best friends' with who etc. which are actually a big part of school life. Simone's earlier years at the school are the only time that this aspect of schoolgirl friendships are really explored.

So Mary's jealousy of Barbara and her resentment that she is so easily accepted into the cool set was quite refreshing to read about, and is the only thing about the book that really stands out for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 04 Sep 2017, 14:20 
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It has the first of the rescues by a handy Swiss mountaineer in a storm which is fine, its later that theme gets a bit repetitive.
I quite like Barbara, she is neither a saint nor a sinner, just a normal girl wanting to fit in.I would probably make the same mess in the bathroom, unless told girls of that age wouldn't really think about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 04 Sep 2017, 16:53 
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I agree about the messy bathroom, but not having a clue how to brush her own hair? She has seen it done even if she has never picked up a hairbrush.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 05 Sep 2017, 02:43 
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Mel wrote:
I agree about the messy bathroom, but not having a clue how to brush her own hair? She has seen it done even if she has never picked up a hairbrush.


That worried me too! Surely her mother (and older sister) who brush her hair would have encouraged her to do it herself, especially when they are sending her off to school. Admittedly, Barbara was only going to be a day-pupil, but how was she going to cope if her hair needed brushing during the school day?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 05 Sep 2017, 02:52 
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Vintagejazz wrote:
It is realistic and definitely there would have been pupils who were jealous of the 'gang' and would like to have been a part of the group.
So Mary's jealousy of Barbara and her resentment that she is so easily accepted into the cool set was quite refreshing to read about, and is the only thing about the book that really stands out for me.


Yes, we see Barbara's and later Jo's delight at being 'accepted' into the Gang, but we seldom see the other side which is how the other girls feel being left out.

Like all popular groups you would see people desperately wanting to get in and then watching jealously as someone else makes the grade. EBD expects us to sympathise with Barbara but I also feel sorry for Mary.

The same theme is repeated later when Erica just walks into the Crew and makes an enemy of Victoria. But Victoria has a chance to 'redeem' herself whereas Mary Woodley is one of the few times in the CS series that the person is not found out for wrongdoing.

cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 05 Sep 2017, 11:13 
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I don't have the book here, so can't check, but isn't it just that she doesn't brush in a way that meets Matey's exacting standards? We used to try to get away with a dab and a flick if we could....

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 05 Sep 2017, 12:53 
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I can definitely sympathise with Barbara's hair brushing woes. When I was a kid I hated dealing with the knots and would just pat the top smooth, leaving a mares nest underneath. My mum would have to keep a eye on my brushing or I'd end up with nasty mats on the nape of my neck.

Barbara is a bit older than I was, but I can definitely imagine that, left to do it herself, she would do no more than wave the brush over it and then get on with the more exciting bits of the morning routine.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 05 Sep 2017, 14:03 
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I have very fine hair, and hard brushing in Matey's style doesn't suit it at all.

I agree with the overall point of the scene, though, that a fourteen year old girl should be able to look after her own hair.

Since EBD had given Barbara short hair, she couldn't have her not knowing how to plait it. Brushing was really all there was.

(On the subject of hair, yesterday I saw a girl with real chestnut hair - just the shade of a shiny new conker. Red hair isn't unusual, but one doesn't see that genuine chestnut very often. She was wearing it in a long plait down to her bum, and made me think of Len Maynard. I don't think she could have been more than thirteen, so fairly sure it was her natural shade and not dyed.)


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 05 Sep 2017, 15:14 
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Barbara was the first CS book I read as a child (I had a h back copy given to me by a babysitter who had presumably grown out of it) and it still remains my favourite. I too was a bit puzzled that Barbara suddenly 'arrived' at school at 14 where older (and younger) sisters had already been attending and yet staff didn't know about her. The whole thing about the CS seems to be that the staff know all about the family backgrounds of girls they teach. Also Barbara had to sit the tests whereas you would have thought that Beth could have given a summary of what she couldn't do?
I liked Barbara as a character and the shyness/going pink when someone spoke to her was something that I could relate to as a child. However, thinking about it now it doesn't really tally with being 'the pet of everyone' at home?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2017, 20:14 
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I also like this book a lot. I have just got the GGBP edition and had hoped for more difference between that and the paperback - very few bits are abridged. I always wondered why Nancy Wilmot was brought back, and why Miss Annersley thought it would be a 'shock' for the girls to see her. I cannot think any of them were at school in Tirol - the only exceptions being the Peggy and Bride Bettany; but were they even at school then?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2017, 21:13 
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No - Peggy and Bride had left by then, although they were both at Welsen.

I wonder if the reason for bringing in Nancy, rather than anyone else, was because she'd been one of Hilary's best friends at school, and EBD was originally planning to have Hilary (and maybe Phoebe) very involved with the school, and closer ties between the school and the San community generally, rather than just the Maynards, than we eventually got.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2017, 21:28 
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I wonder if ... EBD was originally planning to have Hilary (and maybe Phoebe) very involved with the school

I always think it's a shame that Hilary, who played such a major role in Exile, leading the school through such difficult times, faded away as she did. We hardly hear of her contribution as HG when she returns as a mistress, and in the Swiss books we tend to hear of her only when she pops out another baby.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Barbara
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2017, 03:36 
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JayB wrote:
I always think it's a shame that Hilary, who played such a major role in Exile, leading the school through such difficult times, faded away as she did. We hardly hear of her contribution as HG when she returns as a mistress, and in the Swiss books we tend to hear of her only when she pops out another baby.


When Mdlle gets excited about having Hillary with them again, Joey says "you always thought she was the bees knees" and I think "oh ... jealous!" :D

How about have her return and be headmistress in Challenge instead of Nancy? The kids can be dumped on Joey to look after.

Cheers,
Joyce

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