Looking for Enid (Portobello)
Eileen Soper’s artwork of the Famous Five adorns the dust jacket of Duncan McLaren’s personal response to Enid Blyton. Inside, enthusiasm bordering on mania abounds and we could happily leave this misadventure there. Alas, children, we encounter a cacophonous hotch potch of nostalgic reverie, sub-chapters of ‘spoof’ Blyton, and baggy, simplistic theories. Padded with lashings of paraphrasing and a great deal of ‘speculation’, McLaren’s freewheeling, self-indulgent narrative recounts his journey, actual and emotional, through the landscapes of ‘fabulous Enid’s’ life.
McLaren’s major interest seems to lie in trawling, tabloid style, the mysteries of Enid’s private life in general, and sex life in particular with a misjudged and awkward manifestation of this being his imaginings of her line in pillow talk. A comparable oddity would be a book called Famous Five Get Terminal Illnesses! But that book was never written. Sometimes, that’s best.