Sorry Enid, but this is what 10 year olds really talk about.

As a little light reading, and also as it is on the 100 Greatest Novels list and I’m not taking Tristram Shandy into the bath (I might drop him and he wasn’t cheap), I have just started The Pride of Miss Jean Brodie. The book opens on a scene of a group of school girls in the 1930s, I couldn’t help but immediately draw comparisons between the Brodie set and Enid Blyton’s creations. Of course there’s a massive different between writing about an age group, and writing for them, but I know I’d have put up with Blyton more happily if the Famous Five had conversations like this –

You know,” Sandy said, “these are supposed to be the happiest days of our lives.”
“Yes, they are always saying that,” Jenny said. “They say, make the most of your
schooldays because you never know what lies ahead of you.”
“Miss Brodie says prime is best,” Sandy said.
“Yes, but she never got married like our mothers and fathers.”
“They don’t have primes,” said Sandy.                                                                                               “They have sexual intercourse,” Jenny said.
The little girls paused, because this was still a stupendous thought, and one
which they had only lately lit upon; the very phrase and its meaning were new. It
was quite unbelievable. Sandy said, then, “Mr. Lloyd had a baby last week. He
must have commited sex with his wife.” This idea was easier to cope with and
they laughed screamingly into their pink paper napkins. Mr. Lloyd was the Art
master to the senior girls.
“Can you see it happening?” Jenny whispered.
Sandy screwed her eyes even smaller in the effort of seeing with her mind. “He
would be wearing his pyjamas,” she whispered back.
The book also immediately made me laugh as the girls are talking to some boys, and being set in Scotland, three out of the five are called Andrew, just like Ireland is not short of Marys. In my part of Scotland men are often called Alexander, Andrew of John. There’s a few more modern names around these days, but I’m pretty sure we won’t be running out of Andrews or Alexanders any time, ever.
The edition I’m reading is one of the many books I once got for 10p each. That still goes down as one of the happiest days of my life. Childbirth and graduation are all well and good, but 10p a book may well never happen again. Here is it perched on many of the other books I’m reading right now. I’m going to need a bigger bedside cabinet.
bedside book pile
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