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 Post subject: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 29 Jun 2017, 10:55 
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I read somewhere that sending Joey over to Canada for a couple of books was an experiment by EBD, to see how the series would work without her. I'm not sure if it was at the request of the publishers, or her own idea.

Anyone know if this is true? Also, how would the Swiss books have fared without Joey? Personally, annoying as she could be at times, I do think the books where she was meant to be in Canada and only communicated by letter were a bit flat. She did bring something important, and a real sense of continuity, to the series.


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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 29 Jun 2017, 14:30 
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I didn't know about EBD thinking of writing Joey out of the series when the school went to Switzerland. I do think Canada was the forerunner to writing Madge out. I think possibly EBD had thoughts about moving the school to Europe. The San would go too and I don't think there was ever any doubt it would be Joey and Jack who would go as opposed to Madge and Jem.

I don't agree that the books where Jo was in Canada are flat.The Wrong CS was the very first CS book I read at the age of 10 or so. I obviously liked this Joey-less book enough to seek out other CS books. When reading Wrong , I remember thinking it very odd all the talk about a character who was not even there. I still very much like Wrong despite its mad plot and Shocks is OK and Bride Leads is good.

I think that after Jo left school she shone in the family scenes - in her interactions with Madge and she, Robin and Daisy worked well together. She also worked well with Peggy in the book of that name.

Frankly, really going into it, I don't think Joey worked so well in Switzerland. Her communication with non-family girls - except possibly M-L - was contrived and took something away from the role of Hilda. When Joey drops into the school I find it irritating.

The triplets were not rounded enough or interesting enough characters to dominate the books in the way in which they did after M-L left. I think if Joey had not been there to back them up EBD would have had to look to other characters. She might also have developed other staff to whom Hilda could naturally go to for advice such as Nell for instance. Nell was really dropped at the expense of Joey .

The standard of the books was never even from the beginning and from Switzerland, this was maybe more noticeable but it was after Theodora, when Mary-Lou left, that they started to bomb more frequently and that might have happened regardless.


Last edited by Audrey25 on 29 Jun 2017, 14:50, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 29 Jun 2017, 14:49 
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There's certainly a lot of experiments with writing characters in and out around the later English books, maybe even the bus crash that kept people away for a term or so could be included in that. Certainly a lot of characters do get shuffled out once the school moves to Switzerland. But I don't think EBD wanted to write Joey out, if she did then Island would have been the logical book to experiment in.


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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 29 Jun 2017, 22:30 
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If she was thinking of writing Joey out of the story then it failed.Instead we lose Madge and gain much more of Joey from that point on, and that gain often does not help the story line in anyway.
I do think the Swiss books show a decline, one has to wonder if EBD 's obsession at that point with Joey also had a hand in that decline.She could have fleshed out the triplets much more, given them life and character, and also made more use of some of the other girls, like Jo Scott, Erica, the two Sams, good potential just gone to waste, instead of forcing Joey into every situation.


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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 30 Jun 2017, 04:12 
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I also think part of the issue with the Swiss books is the timing of the books. Excluding holiday books, we get 12.5 books in Tyrol which cover ~9 years in story time, 9 Armiford books over ~7 years, 7 Briaval's books in just over 2 years, and 25 Swiss books covering eight years. So we get 10 books with Joey as a student, 20 with Mary-Lou and a whopping 41 with the triplets. So it's no wonder that triplet-centred storylines get stale!

In the early books, up until about Island, I'd say, Joey is a fully three dimensional character who experiences growth and change. By the Swiss days, though, she's become static, and a lot less nuanced. The Maynard family does serve a useful purpose through the series, though, allowing readers to figure out when a book is set from the age of Joey and her kids.

I think the books did need school-adjacent characters; people like Madge or Joey who interact with the school without being employees. It keeps the school setting from being too restricted, and gives outside perspective and adults who aren't mistresses in the storyline. In Tyrol, we have people like the Maranis and Mensches, and the Pfeiffen family, Ted Humphries, visits by Dick and Mollie, then Gisela and Gottfried. Then we have Joey and Jack and the La Rochelle crowed, Dr Marilliar, and later the Christys and Kester Bellever. But by the Swiss era it's almost all Joey - Hilary Burn and Biddy O'Ryan live nearby, but are very much secondary to Joey. Winnie Embury is brought in, but she only appears in person once, and is mostly someone Joey visits.

So it's almost always Joey who has the friend who writes her about the new girl, and she's the one who visits the school, or encounters students on walks, or hosts visitors, or has amusing incidents at the pantomime, or provides advice and an ear for Miss Annersley, or has serious talks with new girls who need reforming, or brings over treats.

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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 30 Jun 2017, 08:00 
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I think there was room for Joey: as Jennifer said, the characters who aren't actually at the school play an important role in creating the Chalet School world. But she's shoehorned into pretty much every situation. That's EBD's fault, not Joey's, obviously :lol:. And it makes other characters look weak. The answer to everything is to ask Joey. Someone says that Joey "understands girls". If experienced teachers at a girls' school find it difficult to "understand girls", then maybe they should all be looking for a career change! Why would Miss Carthew write to Joey, whom she'd have remembered as a teenager, rather than to Madge or Miss Wilson (I forget if she and Hilda were at the school at the same time)? Why does Joey have to be at Spot Supper?

It doesn't just make the staff and prefects look bad, for being unable to manage without rushing to Joey for advice - it also makes Joey look like an embarrassing sitcom character who's always hanging around her old school because she's got no life outside it. Even Joey herself objects in the end, when she's asked to have Althea to stay! It's not fair to her either!

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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 30 Jun 2017, 10:59 
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Yes, I agree, Joey's constant hanging around the school starts to look a bit daft by the time she's a middle aged mother with teenage children.

In the early days it made sense. The school was still very much a family affair and, during the war years, there was a sense of people sticking together and Armishire becoming a place of refuge for characters like Simone, Marie, Giselle and Frieda.

But once the war was over and all of those characters had moved on, Joey began to look more and more like somebody stuck in a complete rut, mentally unable to detach from her schooldays.

Most of the new pupils would have had little or no connection to Joey so her descending on them and becoming overly involved in their lives and problems started to feel ridiculous.

As another poster has said, EBD should have concentrated on creating stronger second generation Maynards, Bettanys and Russells to take centre stage, with Joey providing a nice sense of continuity but in a way that would be realistic for a busy mother and writer who had long left her own school days behind.

Instead, apart from Bride, we get a set of very insipid girls constantly playing second fiddle to their mother/aunt, and dragging down the quality of the later books as a result.


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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 30 Jun 2017, 12:06 
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In the Swiss books she invites new girls to tea which is a nice idea, but after that she would have no further dealings with them, unless they are friends of the triplets or daughters of old girls. There must have been hundreds of girls by the end of the series who had met Jo only the once.


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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 01 Jul 2017, 13:03 
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Alison H wrote:
Why would Miss Carthew write to Joey, whom she'd have remembered as a teenager, rather than to Madge or Miss Wilson (I forget if she and Hilda were at the school at the same time)?


I think she and Hilda are at the school together for a couple of terms, (Lesley mentions it in her fill-in). However Miss Carthew was a contemporary of Nell Wilson and worked fairly closely with her for the two-three years they were together. They were both there in Princess and Head Girl.

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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 02 Jul 2017, 10:05 
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EBD did try, at times, to rein herself in. I am always surprised that Joey wasn't around when Richenda was so badly injured at the dentist's. Instead, she was right out of the way in England. That left Hilda etc to get on with the job that was properly theirs, and they do it extremely well. But in Richenda's case, if Joey had been around, having her involved wouldn't have been out of the way, as Richenda had just spent the weekend with her, and had talked to her in some depth about her relationship with her father.

And, after her initial intervention with Ted, Joey didn't really have much involvement with her either, and knew nothing about the crisis till it was all over.


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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 02 Jul 2017, 21:24 
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I like Joey's involvement in Richenda. She's kind and helpful without being OTT. And she could reasonably have said no to having Richenda for half term, since she wasn't well. Her later intervention with Prof Fry happens 'offscreen' and we don't hear about it in detail.


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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 04 Jul 2017, 20:44 
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A thing that always puzzled me is why EBD decided to make Doris have flu when Mary-Lou was injured.I know it was probably just her obsession to have Joey to the fore but surely it would have been more realistic to have Joey looking after Margot and have Doris there, but perhaps supporting her if necessary.


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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 04 Jul 2017, 21:01 
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Doris isn't a very interesting character. I don't think EBD found her very interesting, either. She's offscreen for a lot of Three Go, and I don't think we actually see her or hear her speak again after that, do we? We just hear about her.

The main thrust of the story was the suspense about whether Mary Lou would recover and Emerence's remorse. I don't think Doris being there would have added anything to story, and instead would have slowed it down.


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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 05 Jul 2017, 03:41 
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With regard to the last two posts, firstly Joey never seems to be available to help Margot. The other time Margot really needed her after the fall-out from Theodora, Joey is giving birth to her 10th and 11th children and, far from helping is not told anything.

Secondly. as for Doris, I like her. She is a normal, regular, quiet mother. So restful after all the superwomen running around.


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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 05 Jul 2017, 08:08 
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In Theodora, I think EBD wanted Mary-Lou, who was leaving at the end of that term, to go out with a bang, so she sidelined Joey with a difficult pregnancy. Mary-Lou did her best with a very difficult and complex situation. The one who let Margot down was Jack, whose reaction was to refuse to speak to her for weeks afterwards :roll:.

It's strange that EBD prefers to show Joey intervening in everyone else's problems, rather than helping her own daughters. Len goes to Hilda for advice about marrying early, which seems very odd. Who asks their headmistress for advice about boyfriends :roll: :lol:? And Margot doesn't speak to Joey about becoming a nun. Both girls are making huge decisions, which will affect their entire lives, at a very young age, but we don't seem them speaking to their own mother, who's supposed to be so understanding, about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 05 Jul 2017, 09:58 
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Alison H wrote:
It's strange that EBD prefers to show Joey intervening in everyone else's problems, rather than helping her own daughters. Len goes to Hilda for advice about marrying early, which seems very odd. Who asks their headmistress for advice about boyfriends?


She disguises it by pretending she's asking about Josette. Though Hilda is clearly bright enough to know what she's talking about.

Her advice is good and sound but I really wish she had added a line about seeing more of life first, gently hinting at seeing other men so she can compare etc

Even a basic "You are off to uni soon and the first time away from home, new experiences and new friends etc so maybe don't make any rash decision that will tie you down."

JayB wrote:
Doris isn't a very interesting character. I don't think EBD found her very interesting, either. She's offscreen for a lot of Three Go, and I don't think we actually see her or hear her speak again after that, do we? We just hear about her.


EBD just desperately wanted Joey to be front and centre so she sidelines Doris which is a shame. The poor woman comes across as almost uncaring. Even when ML is in recovery and Doris MUST have gotten over her own illness, she doesn't bother to visit.

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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 05 Jul 2017, 15:02 
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Doris could have come into her own in the accident, showing she is a strong caring woman had EBD wanted it.
Instead we again get Joey there by the bedside, whilst she ignores the needs of her own young daughter, Margot.


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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 05 Jul 2017, 15:57 
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I think this is another way of EBD showing that Mary Lou is 'the chosen one'. Even when Joey's own child is ill, Mary Lou is the one who gets to have Joey sitting by her bedside, desperately worried about her.


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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 05 Jul 2017, 19:19 
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I've always felt that others could have been there as well, allowing Joey to actually go and see her own child who is crying herself sick.Hilda could have sat with ML, Jack was always there, understandably,and its not as if the two buildings are miles apart.


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 Post subject: Re: Did EBD intend to write Joey out of the Swiss books
PostPosted: 06 Jul 2017, 01:50 
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I feel so sorry for Margot in that situation. She's actually made what, for her, is pretty important step - she was tempted by Emerence, but was able to fend off her devil and manage to say say "no". And, as it says in the book,

Quote:
Like Emerence, she had cried herself ill. She was very highly-strung and the shock had upset her badly. Emerence had contrived to tell both the Head and Matron
that it had not been Margot's fault and they had both been very kind to the child, but she wanted her parents desperately badly and they had been too much occupied with Mary-Lou to come.


It was literally a case of needing one of her parents to leave Mary-Lou's side during the *five days* that they spend waiting, come over to the school, give her a hug, and talk to her for a bit. Then even after ML comes to, Joey is sent to bed for a nap, and Jack comes over to the school.

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