Friday, March 25, 2011

Elizabeth Enright's books

Product Details
Elizabeth Enright's Melendy quartet 
The Saturdays
The Four-Story Mistake
Then There Were Five
Spiderweb for Two
Going through a box of old books that we hauled from the middle school, I discovered a particularly old one with a vaguely familiar-sounding title, Then There Were Five.  I have no idea what was familiar about it, but I decided to carry it home and find out.  

This book, it turns out, was one of my favorites when I was young.  I am fairly sure that I read the book, and its companion volumes, a least two or three times a year throughout my middle school years.  I loved the characters, their antics, and their decidedly old-fashioned ways and language.  

Written in the 1940's, the four book set is about a family of four siblings who live in an older home with a cupola on the roof, called the Four-Story Mistake.  While their father is away away working for the government during World War II, the Melendy children--Mona, Rush, Randy, and Oliver-- spend an eventful summer in their new home making friends with other children in the countryside, especially the orphaned Mark Heron.    

S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders  
another favorite novel from my childhood
I wanted very much to be just like Randy (Miranda) and Mona: artistic, graceful, and grownup, able to dance, draw and write.  I even practiced reading and listening to conversations simply because Mona was adept at doing both at the same time.  As one in a family of girls, I also wanted brothers, and Rush and Oliver were just polite enough and brotherly enough to do quite well.  

Reading the book again at 51 is surprisingly fun and entertaining.  I'm finding that while I don't remember the story very well, small details bring memories flooding back.  If you've not had the pleasure of rediscovering a favorite book from childhood, I strongly recommend that you give it a try.  

Although I've thought of the characters over the years, I could not remember the title or the author and so could not find it.  I assumed that it was simply one of the many novels lost in my mind.  There are so many that I've read, that occasionally I even forget the story.  I suppose this means I'll have to return to more of those oldies but goodies!

Works cited: all book cover photos from

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