Saturday, 16 November 2013

the wind in the willows

I read The Wind In The Willows while up in Lewis - a copy in the house there. I knew I could finish it elsewhere if I didn't there, but I finished it there (on Friday 30th August).

I was pleasantly surprised, as I had got an impression of it as an annoying, childish book, rather in the vein of Winnie The Pooh (which I started years ago, while at university, and hated - full of selfish characters every one of which I hated; children, of course, being fundamentally and inherently selfish, don't take against books like that for that reason; one of those books which really don't work if you didn't read it as a child I suspect) - not least I guess because the character which has permeated through into popular culture most is the monstrous, selfish Toad, and the familiar episodes being the ones in which he appeared.

I was only reading it because it was on some of the 'best books' lists I'm working through (which is why I'll have to have another stab at Winnie The Pooh again, anticipating that it won't take long). But I enjoyed it; predictably, the character I liked least was Toad, and his behaviour, both in general and to his friends, I found appalling. But it was well-written, not twee, and not too flowery (the other impression I'd got was that it was full of descriptions of wonderful nature, which it wasn't really), and I liked the other characters and their relationships.

Coincidentally, there's a series on CBBC just now, All At Sea, which I hate with a passion for just those kinds of reasons - main child character does monstrous selfish things (in, importantly I guess, a realistic setting rather than a cartoony/heightened setting) which are really unpleasant to friends, family and everyone alike, which are supposed to be funny but which just aren't, and conclude in mild punishment and little consequence of the vile havoc wrought. A child of my acquaintance just thinks it's very funny and doesn't understand what I'm banging on about.