So, here I am in the throes of a month of Tuesdays posts looking at GAD-era YA novels and — boom! — here’s a YA novel on a Saturday?! What on earth…?
An orphaned young man who lives with his red-haired best friend’s family, all the while having adventures…yeah, okay, no, the Harry Potter similarities stop (and indeed, don’t even start — he’s not an orphan, his father’s just away a lot) there. But it’s interesting to reflect, as these YAGAD novels are making me do, on the format that adventures for younger readers take and how little the classic tropes have needed to change in the intervening decades.
Well, well, well, even at my time in life there’s still much to be learned. For instance, I did not know that Carolyn Keene, author of the Nancy Drew mysteries, wasn’t an actual person but instead a syndicate a la the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators authors (the key difference being that they never put any author name on the cover).
The thirty-first novel Freeman Wills Crofts published in his career was this novel for younger readers. Let that sink in a moment. Captain Dryasdust encroaching on Enid Blyton’s territory seems about as likely as Blyton herself trying her hand at Raymond Chandler’s metaphor-laden hard-edged novels of moral decay…the difference being that Crofts actually tried it.
January, month of rebirth and self-recrimination. For every resolution to improve there must be some frank assessment of what debilitated you in the first place, and so the month can take on a curiously Jekyll-and-Hyde aspect for some. So my Tuesday posts for this month will be a mixture of what is good and bad in my reading, and where better to start than a celebration of the previous 12 months?