Blow out the Moon and other boarding school stories

Among the books I recently picked up for my library was Blow out the Moon, by Libby Koponen (2004). I was at my local independent bookstore, which was having a clearance sale, when I should have been at work, so I was scooping up books based on their covers--Blow out the Moon has just come out in paperback, but I like the hc cover (at left) much better! I was pleased to see, once I unpacked everything, that I had come home with a book about an American girl who goes to an English boarding school in the 1950s, when her family moves to England.

It is based on the true experiences of the author, and it is filled with little sidebar snippets of old photographs, notes, letters etc. from the life of the narrator (but not necessarily the author--I am a bit confused on this point. Anyway, they look real). All this extra stuff distracted me, but I bet a lot of the 10 year old girls who are, after all, the intended audience, liked this aspect of the book. Things started off strong, with the exciting move to England, and Libby's first dismal experience of English school life, but once Libby was sent to boarding school (at the shocking age of 8), everything was so idyllic I was not quite as interested. But again, girls younger than me may well find that half of the book incredibly appealing for its fantastical otherness.

Libby Koponen has a great web site: http://www.ifyoulovetoread.com/ with lots of pictures!

I'm a hard core fan of English boarding school stories, and this was an interesting comparison. My fondness for English school stories began with my extensive reading of Enid Blyton's school stories as a child. I found myself at the age of five at a British school in Portugal, being told in rather unfriendly tones--"You stand there with her--she's another American." So, like the Libby who narrates this book, I found myself becoming more fiercely American than I had been before (like Libby, I wouldn't sing the British national anthem). Enid Blyton was about the only author available in English in northern Portugal at the time, so I devoured her St. Claires and Mallory Towers books. About 10 years ago I discovered, through the yahoo group Girlsown that there are many other wonderful school stories out there -- by authors such as Antonia Forest, Evelyn Smith, Josephine Elder, and Margaret Biggs. My husband has built more bookcases.
Here's a basic guide to some of the better known writers: http://www.gatewaymonthly.com/girlauthorb.html

1 comment:

  1. Students of Boys boarding schools have very good academic records. These schools hire skilled and experienced tutors to educate students. Schools organize so many events and encourage students to participate.



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