Login   Register     FAQ    Members

View unanswered posts   View active topics


Board index .:|:. Slogging at Lessons :: Books .:|:. Special Sixth
It is currently 17 Dec 2018, 11:20

Forum rules


Please ensure that all posts are kept impersonal. Any posts involving an ad hominem attack will be edited or deleted. Please feel free to express your views, but expect that others may disagree with them. Please limit the use of the :oops: smiley as far as possible. Please do not PM another user to argue with them; if this happens, please can the recipient contact a mod. Language of gentlemen, chaps!



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 42 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Feb 2018, 00:31 
Offline
Dashing off for your part in the play
Dashing off for your part in the play

Joined: 30 Jan 2004, 00:07
Posts: 1014
Location: Taiwan
Val running off from school property to see her brother was definitely bad behaviour and should have been punished, but it certainly didn't mean that she deserved to be kidnapped and drugged! Or that she should be denied any support for the trauma of being kidnapped. I do think the school was partially responsible, though. They knew that they had a student who was the target of criminals, they knew that there were suspicious people lurking in the area looking for her, and they didn't warn people or contact law enforcement.

Really, they should have either not taken Copper in the first place, or the moment that they realized that security had been compromised, contacted Mr Letton and the authorities, had Copper whisked away somewhere safer, and had police stationed around the school monitoring thing, *and* warned students and the local people that there was danger.

I was never able to follow the genealogy of the revenge, with it's multiple generations, aliases and name changes, even with notes. The plot in Princess works much better. It's simple, and it fits in with an older literary style,
with the Ruritarian princess. Here, it's like EBD is trying for a modern thriller and failing miserably.

One thing I do like about the book is Copper herself. She's a nice, level-headed girl, and her relationship with her step-father is lovely. I think she'd be an excellent Head girl candidate in a few years - much better than feather-headed, bullying Jack.

Regarding Josette - her ages are totally messed up. She should be a year older than the triplets. In Three Go, she's eight at the beginning, which is fine, but gains a year during that book. In Joey Goes she's twelve, two years older than the triplets. By Kenya, she's fourteen (three years older), and keeps that age difference until Excitements, where she's 16 to the triplets' 13. In Joey and Co she's still 16, over a year later. In Ruey, her first term as Head Girl, she's 17 to the triplets 14. In Wins the trick she's both almost 17 and almost 18, the first of which has her synced back up with the triplets, but means that she would have been 15 when she was first head girl. In this book, she's back to the right age.

I would have liked to have seen Madge's response to her daughters' engagements. She insisted on dragging Josette to Australia to spend time with her, even though Josette didn't want to go, and ended up with Josette married young and settled on the other side of the world. Given how brilliant and ambitious Josette was portrayed as, it's a shame she didn't get to at least finish university.

_________________


Ring the bells that still can ring; Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything; That's how the light gets in
Anthem: Leonard Cohen



Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Feb 2018, 02:16 
Offline
Receiving support from the form
Receiving support from the form
User avatar

Joined: 25 Feb 2007, 15:45
Posts: 653
Location: Australia
mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
The last chapter with the backstory about Inspector Letton's grandfather is unnecessarily confusing. All EBD needed was some criminal to swear revenge against Letton for putting him/a loved one away and boom, there's the motive.


I agree your way is so much easier but EBD wanted some silly family feud which stretched back generations - like the Hatfields and McCoys. But it simply doesn't work because there are too many people to keep track of. And you end up simply not caring.

Alison H wrote:
I don't see that there'd have been any justification for suing the school anyway.


There's plenty of justification. Miss Annersley should never have accepted Copper as a student in the first place as she had no idea what lengths the gang would go to to get hold of her. In those circumstances, you assume the worse and don't endanger other girls.

Then she knew darn well a specific type of girl was in danger and did nothing to provide extra protection or surveillance for them.

Most of all, when Val is kidnapped she doesn't call the police. And, when Len says there was a stranger hanging round the library, she does nothing to scare them off or increase security.

In fact, the minute she was told there was a strange woman asking about Flavia Letton, she should have called Copper's father, let him know the gang had tracked her down and they could no longer keep her.

Miss Annersley is so inert in this book, you wonder if she was asleep.

_________________
It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how - Dr Seuss


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Feb 2018, 13:13 
Offline
Discovering that JMB lives next door
Discovering that JMB lives next door
User avatar

Joined: 20 Dec 2016, 13:46
Posts: 131
Location: West Midlands
This is such an odd book. I think EBD was trying her hand at a new style, possibly because traditional school books were going out of fashion. I'm not sure the experiment worked!

The book really contorts itself to overcome various plot holes, and it feels strained. After Tom's sojourn at the school, why on earth could Copper not be known in school by her nickname, especially given it was for safety reasons rather than the indignity of a flowery first name! How anyone could think a bowl haircut was enough to protect her identity I don't know.

As others have said, the generational feud at the end is nigh on impossible to follow, and utterly pointless as it adds nothing to the story.

I also boggle at the idea that the school did not demand a police escort back to Britain for Copper at the first signs of wrongdoing. I agree with MaryR and Joyce, Miss Annersley does not show to good effect in this book.

I wonder if the feedback on this book was such that EBD reverted to type with a bang for the remaining books in the series.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Feb 2018, 17:06 
Offline
Getting all excited!!
Getting all excited!!

Joined: 17 Nov 2011, 02:45
Posts: 906
Although we criticise the school for not calling-in the police, that's not a "failing" that is confined to this book - it is common throughout the CS series (and within children's literature as a whole). If the School (or whoever) called-in the police on every occasion they should, there would be no story. It is, perhaps, more obvious in this story since the police are themselves part of the plot but it is an element that needs to considered in the light of the EBDverse rather than RL.

I am one of the people who feels this is a rehash of the plot of "Princess" (where, incidentally, the police are not called in and no protection provided etc etc). It's been mentioned that many of "school" elements are missing from Redheads and the same is true of Princess.
The plot in Princess is a pretty unlikely one but the Ruritanian Royalty storyline was not uncommon then (or even now) which makes it seem more believable (as we are used to it). It is also true that most of us have no real experience of Royalty so that fantasy and unlikely stories about them are easier to accept. In the same way, to an average 10-yo, the "guns and drugs" elements of Redheads would be well out of their experience. It would "just" be an exciting story without the horror that we see as adults. We should remember that Cosimo ends up dead and that there is the potential of violence to Elisaveta - both of which are reproduced in Redheads.

In many ways the events in Redheads seem like the "space" background to the Ruey story - an attempt at updating the series. Whether that's the result of EBD herself or the result of a publisher thinking school stories are passé and EDB trying to cater for their wishes - we'll never know.
EBD did write adventures stories but they aren't among her better books, and I think her problems with that kind of story is part of the issue here.

(Incidentally the oddness of the villains buying a train ticket might be considered in the light of the audience for the books. Whilst he guns-and-drugs element is outside the experience of most 10-year-olds, rail travel is not. Including bilking the train company is undesirable as it's something that a child might have the opportunity to do and you don't want to be seen to be encouraging criminal behaviour.)


Although the family history is long-winded, it also is a very EBD element. She almost never portrays her "villains" as irredeemably bad, and she usually provides some kind of explanation for poor behaviour (often a bad upbringing), and encourages empathy for such characters. Obviously, the "bad" characters who attend the CS tend to end up redeemed!


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Feb 2018, 04:50 
Offline
Dashing off for your part in the play
Dashing off for your part in the play

Joined: 30 Jan 2004, 00:07
Posts: 1014
Location: Taiwan
This books reminds me of the EJO's "The Camp Mystery", which takes place at a school summer camp in Switzerland. It involves industrial espionage, kidnappings, a father setting of of the students up as bait (without warning the school), plus parents encountering the school by chance and leaving their children at it on a whim. It ends with a Guide troop adopting an orphaned girl who has no documents and doesn't know her real name or identity, and taking her across international borders.

At no point does anyone involved say "Hey, maybe after the first kidnapping we should have closed down the camp and had the targeted student put in protective custody.'

_________________


Ring the bells that still can ring; Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything; That's how the light gets in
Anthem: Leonard Cohen



Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Feb 2018, 02:20 
Offline
Receiving support from the form
Receiving support from the form
User avatar

Joined: 25 Feb 2007, 15:45
Posts: 653
Location: Australia
Victoria wrote:
Although we criticise the school for not calling-in the police, that's not a "failing" that is confined to this book - it is common throughout the CS series (and within children's literature as a whole). If the School (or whoever) called-in the police on every occasion they should, there would be no story.


Oh yes, absolutely it is a plot device that is rehashed constantly.

And I agree it shows up worse in this book because not only does the school fail to call them neither does Val's mother who must have been distraught for the whole 6 days her daughter was missing.

Soapies like Home and Away have the 'not calling police' either but they at least give a good reason like there's a corrupt policeman or they've been framed before by them.

EBD's reason is that the school is dealing with it and is desperately hoping the kidnappers will return Val once they realise they have the wrong girl.

_________________
It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how - Dr Seuss


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Feb 2018, 06:54 
Offline
Dashing off for your part in the play
Dashing off for your part in the play

Joined: 30 Jan 2004, 00:07
Posts: 1014
Location: Taiwan
It's pretty normal in kids' adventure books to need to get the adults out of the way somehow so the children can save the day - it's hard to catch kidnappers, find buried treasure, and engineer daring rescues when there are responsible adults ready to step in and deal with things. The triplets rescue of Cecil is a prime example - mother out of town, father at work, one of the servants away, the other hysterical and the phone out. Or in Rivals, when Joey rushes off because the mistresses are away, and there is imminent danger.

And I can handle the idea, particularly when phones and cars were less common, that immediately rushing to the rescue would be more practical than sending for the police.

But here, it's the responsible adults who are ignoring the safe, logical, practical thing to do in favour of wishful thinking and harebrained schemes. And there's no immediate need to rush to the rescue - they have *days* to wait, with no idea if Val is safe, dead, or being abused.

I was re-reading Dorothy Sayers Gaudy Night the other day, and it's repeatedly agreed that it's important to keep the authorities out of things, and keep things quiet, while they try to track down the person sending nasty notes, threatening people, and vandalizing stuff, for the sake of the college's reputation. Even when it almost leads to someone's death. It takes on a very different tone than the author intended when we look at all the truly horrible stuff that various institutions have covered up to save their reputations, at the cost of the safety and well-being of individual members.

_________________


Ring the bells that still can ring; Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything; That's how the light gets in
Anthem: Leonard Cohen



Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Feb 2018, 13:38 
Offline
Stumped by Lower Four's quiz
Stumped by Lower Four's quiz
User avatar

Joined: 27 May 2006, 13:28
Posts: 998
Location: SE England
Given the school's history, the more likely explanation would have been that Val had got stuck on a mountain, and the mountain rescue team would have been the people to call.

I think EBD must have developed an enthusiastic interest in family history in later life, in succession to her earlier enthusiasms for folk music and dancing and Guides. Not surprising, I suppose, given her long term interest in history. Nowadays she'd probably be researching her own family history, but it wasn't so easy in her lifetime.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Feb 2018, 14:09 
Offline
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
User avatar

Joined: 15 Oct 2004, 13:57
Posts: 7972
Location: Manchester
jennifer wrote:

I was re-reading Dorothy Sayers Gaudy Night the other day, and it's repeatedly agreed that it's important to keep the authorities out of things, and keep things quiet, while they try to track down the person sending nasty notes, threatening people, and vandalizing stuff, for the sake of the college's reputation. Even when it almost leads to someone's death. It takes on a very different tone than the author intended when we look at all the truly horrible stuff that various institutions have covered up to save their reputations, at the cost of the safety and well-being of individual members.


That seems to have worked right across the board, and it is frightening. People at Establishment-type institutions would not have wanted the authorities involved because of the risk of damage to the reputation of the organisation and individuals, and people from the less privileged sections of society would have found it difficult to trust the authorities because they were seen as part of the Establishment. With so much emerging now about what was covered up in so many organisations, worldwide, it does take on a very different and horrible note, as you say.

_________________
We really must stop eating like this ...

Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.

http://setinthepast.wordpress.com/




Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Feb 2018, 14:19 
Offline
Deciding to learn Russian
Deciding to learn Russian
User avatar

Joined: 03 Jan 2010, 22:35
Posts: 2317
Location: Berkshire, England
JayB wrote:
I think EBD must have developed an enthusiastic interest in family history in later life, in succession to her earlier enthusiasms for folk music and dancing and Guides. Not surprising, I suppose, given her long term interest in history. Nowadays she'd probably be researching her own family history, but it wasn't so easy in her lifetime.


If she had, she'd have been in for surprises when she looked into her father's other offspring. She may have known about her older half-brother, but unlikely she knew about the younger one,


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Feb 2018, 21:36 
Offline
Receiving support from the form
Receiving support from the form
User avatar

Joined: 17 Nov 2005, 21:21
Posts: 641
Location: On the sofa
I can quite understand Miss Annersley's being angry with Val for having gone to the San to see her brother without permission. And back in the day, you wouldn't have had counselling if you'd been drugged and kidnapped - that was just too bad, get over it!

The thing I really liked about the book is the bit where Inspector Letton says, quite frankly, that he can't really afford to let Copper stay at the Chalet School after the end of term, but he'll try to let her have a year there. That's a refreshing change from all the parents who seem able to pay for the school out of small change....


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Feb 2018, 22:21 
Offline
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
User avatar

Joined: 15 Oct 2004, 13:57
Posts: 7972
Location: Manchester
I'd forgotten that - that's a very interesting point. EBD does point out in Oberland that sending someone to school in Switzerland is very expensive, and that's only for one year, but then it gets conveniently forgotten about later on. Most of the girls who stay in Carnbach supposedly do so because their parents are worried about them being so far away, not because of cost. Dimsie, and Gwendoline in the Malory Towers books, and the Robinson children in Noel Streatfeild's Gemma series, all have to change their plans because of the death or illness of the family breadwinner, but even that doesn't seem to affect anyone in CS-land.

_________________
We really must stop eating like this ...

Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.

http://setinthepast.wordpress.com/




Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 04:43 
Offline
Discovering that JMB lives next door
Discovering that JMB lives next door
User avatar

Joined: 02 May 2012, 14:32
Posts: 126
Location: Melbourne
I grew up on a diet of Enid Blyton's advenyire books, so I didn't blink an eye at the insanity of this! I really liked Copper, she is such a nice, down to earth school girl. I also really liked seeing a strong father/daughter relationship, which we don't see much of in the series (maybe Veta and her father?). This remains one of my favourites of the later books- I don't really enjoy reading about horrible horrible Jack, or the rather colourless, somewhat forgettable other protagonists like Adrienne and Althea.
Having said that, even when I read this closer to the target audience age, I was bewildered by *why* Copper wasn't allowed a nickname, unlike eberyone in the history of the school. I also fully agree that the treatment of Val post-kidnap was incredibly unfair. The "act like it's nothing" attitude has its precendent earlier in the CS, so I didn't take issue with that; the blaming Val for being kidnapped I found grossly unfair. Yes she was in the wrong by sneaking out, but she is not remotely to blame for being kidnapped! That kind of victim blaming makes me uncomfortable.

_________________
"You mean imagination boggles?" I inspected my imagination. He was right. It boggled


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Sep 2018, 03:07 
Offline
Being rude to your sheepdog

Joined: 26 Aug 2018, 20:53
Posts: 44
Sorry for adding to an older thread, but I’m getting caught up on the fabulous discussions!

I agree that Val was unfairly treated. Yes, leaving without permission was bad but nobody asks to be drugged and kidnapped. It’s a horrible way of treating her. And the torment her poor mother must have suffered!

I’ve only read the Armada PB, and I assume that it was cut, but when Val is returned to the school I found it astounding that Miss Annersley poured out Copper’s story to the man who returned her. There’s no indication that he’s not part of the gang or that he’s trustworthy.

Miss Annersley performs poorly throughout this book. If she’s warning Len not to copy Jo’s behaviour in Princess then the sensible thing to do would be to take precautions and alert Inspector Letton.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Sep 2018, 07:49 
Offline
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
User avatar

Joined: 15 Oct 2004, 13:57
Posts: 7972
Location: Manchester
Don't apologise - it's great to have discussions revived and hear new views on them :D .

_________________
We really must stop eating like this ...

Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.

http://setinthepast.wordpress.com/




Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Sep 2018, 08:53 
Offline
Giving a Junior an order mark
Giving a Junior an order mark
User avatar

Joined: 21 Jul 2012, 16:53
Posts: 3307
Location: West London Alps
Nyota wrote:
I’ve only read the Armada PB, and I assume that it was cut, but when Val is returned to the school I found it astounding that Miss Annersley poured out Copper’s story to the man who returned her. There’s no indication that he’s not part of the gang or that he’s trustworthy.
But he was at school with Jack Maynard - of course he's trustworthy!! OK, sarcasm mode off - at least he's Edgar Barr, of Special Branch, rather than a random stranger. Yes, he could be another crooked policeman (or even an impostor), but in a children's book of that period you wouldn't be suggesting that too many of the constabulary were corrupt; it would also detract from the impact of Sam Manley's grandfather having been a corrupt policeman, which is a large part of the reason for the Letton/ Manley feud.

PS Allegedly there are no cuts at all to this in the Armada paperback edition, which is true of many of the last dozen or so books.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Sep 2018, 23:45 
Offline
Getting all excited!!
Getting all excited!!

Joined: 17 Nov 2011, 02:45
Posts: 906
Although in RL it would be horrifying (and inappropriate) to pass on such personal information to a "stranger" (and for Joey to tell people about Jack's patients etc), it is one method of informing us, the reader, while keeping the story moving.

I feel these have to be accepted as part of the necessary story-telling equipment.


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2018, 11:40 
Offline
Giving a Junior an order mark
Giving a Junior an order mark
User avatar

Joined: 21 Jul 2012, 16:53
Posts: 3307
Location: West London Alps
Victoria wrote:
I feel these have to be accepted as part of the necessary story-telling equipment.
Absolutely - and of course this has all become more of a consideration with the introduction of IT. In fact, there was probably just as much information kept on people before that, it just wasn't so readily accessed (or lost/ misappropriated).


Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2018, 12:18 
Offline
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
Rescuing a Junior from the lake
User avatar

Joined: 15 Oct 2004, 13:57
Posts: 7972
Location: Manchester
I think the worst one is in Reunion, when Joey blithely informs Mollie and Grizel all about Reg's personal finances :roll: :lol: . I accept that it's a way of conveying the story to the reader, but I think it could have been more carefully done sometimes. Joey discussing Reg's finances with Jack, as parents considering the prospects of a daughter's suitor, would have been more reasonable. Or Hilda and Nell discussing new girls' histories, rather than telling Joey all about them.

_________________
We really must stop eating like this ...

Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.

http://setinthepast.wordpress.com/




Top | End
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2018, 16:42 
Offline
Attending the Fifth Form Evening
Attending the Fifth Form Evening
User avatar

Joined: 04 Jan 2012, 06:47
Posts: 327
Location: North Carolina, USA
Alison H wrote:
I think the worst one is in Reunion, when Joey blithely informs Mollie and Grizel all about Reg's personal finances :roll: :lol: . I accept that it's a way of conveying the story to the reader, but I think it could have been more carefully done sometimes. Joey discussing Reg's finances with Jack, as parents considering the prospects of a daughter's suitor, would have been more reasonable. Or Hilda and Nell discussing new girls' histories, rather than telling Joey all about them.


Agreed. I can sort of excuse Jo for confiding her concerns in two close friends who at least we know won't blab, but talking to Jack would have been much better.

Going back to Redheads, I am fond of this book. Yes, it's bonkers and problematic, but it breaks up the monotony of stroppy new girls and long-lost relatives. It is nice to see a new girl who fits in at the school but causes drama in an original way. I at least give EBD props for trying.

_________________
"I -- I didn't think!" -- Carola Johnstone


Top | End
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 42 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

Board index .:|:. Slogging at Lessons :: Books .:|:. Special Sixth
It is currently 17 Dec 2018, 11:20

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group