The cover of the Spanis version with illustrations by José Correas
Enid Blyton, 1942
The Famous Five series was one of my favourite reads while being in primary school. I remember being immediately hooked in the adventures of the five main characteres: Anne, George, Dick, Julian and Tim. They were two girls, two boys and a dog. George is an independent, rebellious, sulky girl that preferes the freedom boys enjoy than the restricted role of girls at that time. So she cuts her hair short, dresses like a boy, do what boys do, row, swim, and makes people call her George instead of Georgina. This behaviour causes her many problems, specially with her parents. One example of it is Tim, her mongrel brown dog, that she wasn't allowed to hold, but nevertheless she keeps it in secret in a friend's house.
As in many other series written by Enid Blyton, the plots of the Famous Five are set in a romanticized English contryside, pointedly rid of any kind of technology. Their stories were plenty of exotic features for a Spanish child from a city: secret passages, smugglers' tunnels, old wrecks, ruins of castles, ginger bread, bacon and eggs for breakfast, mattresses of heather... But besides all these, the feature that amazed me the most was the unlimited freedom the Five enjoyed in every book: they could wander, row, bike, swim or even camp for days totally on their own. It seemed like heaven to me.
I couldn't afford to buy all of the 21 volumens of the series, but fortunately I could borrow them from the library of my school. Later, bit by bit, I managed to buy many of them to reread them as many times as I would wish. Today, 14 of them still remain at my parents' house.
As an adult I would never try to read them again in Spanish because I know that once vanished the blindness of the childhood engenuity, I would feel bitterly disappointed by the easy plots, lack of complex characters and the over sweet kindness and fellowship of the Five. But, what if I give them a go in English? Some of those flaws, lack of complexity or literary merit, would then turn into strong points that would make the reading easier for me. I choosed to start with the first volumen to remember how everything started and remarkbly enough I still enjoyed dim excitement from the past reading again the adventures of my old friends. To be honest, I cannot say I won't read any other more!!