Sunday, 22 September 2013

A new book genre: the ‘big family’ genre

When I was a kid, I loved reading books about big messy families.  Being an only child, it was a window into a life I would never have and one that I yearned for.  Now I look back, I unconsciously gravitated towards friends who had big families.  I loved getting to stay over at their houses and feeling like one of the kids.

I think I liked the idea of having a ready-made gang to go on adventures with.  One of the families I was friends with, they had a huge garden which backed onto farmland and I remember we would just wander out into the countryside with their dog and spend the whole day exploring.  It was like stepping into a novel for me!

Here are some of my favourite ‘big family’ (yes, it’s a genre!!) books.

The “What Katy Did” series by Susan Coolidge

I had to google these ones.  I had an idea in my head that it involved a large family but I couldn’t remember exactly- and yes it does!  I really adored Katy and her adventures.  Despite being written in 1872, Katy was relatable and I loved the journey her character goes on.

“Seven Little Australians” by Ethel Turner

This is Katy’s Australian counterpart.  This story has more than a few similarities.  I remember harbouring quite a crush on the older brother, Pip :)  This story follows seven (Australian) children in their adventures around their house and estate wonderfully called Misrule.  It is honestly such a fantastic book- but is seared into my young mind as having the most traumatic thing to ever happen in any book ever.  The ending is a tearjerker to say the least.  At least if you read it, you will be forewarned.  Just picture little 10 year old Laura reading a cute book about children having fun, not aware that something awful will happen at the end of the book, and then BAM!  Definitely a life changer!

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis

Whilst not a large family by the standards of the previous books, the Pevensie children do hold a special place in my heart.  Unlike the other children who had adventures around their house, the Pevensie children went on adventures in another world!  I spent many hours in Narnia, by reading the books and indulging in some INTENSE make-believe sessions.

The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton

I really loved these books, mainly because I saw a lot of myself in the character of George.  She was an only child who got to be part of a family bunch of crime-solving kids.  And she had a dog.  And whilst I wasn’t as much of a tomboy as her, I certainly wasn’t going to be stuck doing the dishes like old Anne!

(I now really want to re-read Famous Five books and drink lashings of ginger beer whilst I do so)

Can you think of any “big family” genre books that I missed that I might like?  There is one omission in my mind: Little Women.  I just couldn’t get into that book at ALL.  The movie with Winona Ryder and Christian Bale is FANTASTIC though!


Sarah Bluett said...

I absolutely LOVED Famous Five books, and, like you I really want to read them as an adult... And have lashings of ginger beer... And perhaps scones with cream and jam : )

Abigail said...

Will be adding these to my reading list. As an only child as well, I know exactly what you mean. I used to go to my friend Lizzy's house and was "one of the kids" (she had three siblings). We would jump on the trampoline and go exploring in the woods behind her house and play Nintendo and set up "Haunted Houses" for each other in her basement.

Re: Little Women. I TOTALLY agree. I read the whole book, but no need to reread. The MOVIE however is WONDERFUL! I watch it every year. Somehow, it's a Christmas movie to me, despite taking place over many seasons.

I will e-mail you back soon!!

Danielle said...

Perfect reads! I love big family books, too. If you haven't, you seriously need to read Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes. Forget the movies -- these are actually true stories and they're HILARIOUS.