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Books you wish hadn't been written
http://www.the-cbb.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=5183

Author:  LizzieC [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Books you wish hadn't been written

I was musing in the bath earlier (sorry, tmi ;)) about some TV series or film series that I wish had stopped at a certain point, meaning that they stopped when they were good or before they "Jumped the Shark".

It occurred to me that there were books I thought of in the same way, especially when they were part of a longish series like the CS. So I thought I'd ask on here and get your views.

Off the top of my head I'd say Redheads made it to the list (and is one I frequently skip on re-reads), and CGGU is right there at the top. I've never been able to view the characters the same again after reading it, however hard I try to expunge the book from my mind.

So which CS books or fill ins do you wish hadn't been written or, at least, you like to pretend don't exist?

Author:  Alison H [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

I've never actually read CGGU, but from what other people've said I don't think I want to - I shall eternally regret reading the dreadful sequels to Gone With The Wind and Jane Eyre and I think I might feel the same with CGGU!

I don't like most of the later Swiss books and rarely read them, but I wouldn't say they were so bad that I wish they'd never been written. There are some storylines that I could really live without, though - the ridiculously stupid start of Summer Term for one, Elisaveta's husband being killed off in a plane crash for no apparent series-related reason for another, and Madge's personality change from the lovely person she is in Tyrol to the person she's turned into by Ruey in general!

Author:  Sunglass [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

Adrienne does quite a bit of shark-jumping for me. The tone of the opening manages to be melodramatic and prim at the same time - the vicious concierge! the waif with 'pure' French and English about to be sold into possible prostitution! Robin unrecognisable as a Saintly Nun, complete with comedy plump moustached nun sidekick! It reads like something the teenage Joey would have torn up!

Why has no one from the CS or Freudesheim gone to see their beloved Robin, given that she's been three years in a neighbouring country, after years in a Canadian convent? Why does no one notice that Adrienne looks exactly like Robin until she gets her hair singed off? Why set up a melodramatic Secret of the Parental Locket situation and then not resolve it? Why does Robin speak like a nun extra from The Sound of Music? Why does everyone suddenly wear cloaks outdoors? Why does Miss Annersley suddenly give Len a lecture about the responsibilities of marriage involving doing your husband's mending and cooking his meals? Does she psychically foresee Len's sinister falling for the terrible Reg over some burn remedies?

Although, having said that, with all its faults, it's a thing of beauty compared to Redheads and whichever one is mainly about motorboats - is it Prefects? Which I suppose is appropriate for a thread on jumping the shark. Oh, and Feud. Predictably, the later Swiss books.

Author:  JayB [ Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:10 pm ]
Post subject: 

Some of the later CS books are poor, but I wouldn't say that I wish they hadn't been written. Most of them have something, however small, to recommend them. The plot of Redheads is silly, but I like Copper and her relationship with her (step)father. Adrienne is a bit of a drip, but her situation at the beginning of the book is different and interesting, and it's good to see Robin again.

I suppose Althea could have been combined with Prefects without any great loss. (I can think of one storyline that could have been dropped from Prefects :evil:) The chief point of interest about them is that they round off the triplets' school careers - there's not much else there to require two books to tell the story of one term.

Author:  Nightwing [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:22 am ]
Post subject: 

I guess really for me the CS jumps the shark after Reunion. At that point, we know that Reg and Len will end up together, there have been enough hints for us to guess what Margot's future holds for her, and Grizel is finally allowed to be happy (as is Yseult!). I think the books could have comfortably ended at this point. Having said that, I'm not going to say I didn't wish any of the originals hadn't been written!

I think the last few book vary in quality. Neither Adrienne or Althea are particularly strong heroines, nor did I find either of them particularly interesting. The opening storyline for Summer Term is ridiculous - I quite like Erica, but her backstory is silly, and there was no need for Marie-Claire, either. I think it speaks well for Joey and Jack that they could open their hearts and home to these two complete strangers, but when Joey says in Althea that she doesn't want any more children staying in her house she has my full sympathies!

I'm going to buck the trend and say that I've always really liked Redheads - OK, the crime-thriller influence is silly, but the series hadn't had a good kidnapping plot since Princess! :lol: And Copper is likeable character - perhaps, if the series had continued, she could have trumped Jack Lambert and gone on to be Head Girl (or maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part...). Challenge is also interesting for the fact that we get to see Nancy step into the role of Head - letting us know who Hilda's successor is likely to be - although I don't think she could have been that much younger than her?

ETA: As an aside, why did Copper have to be Flavia when Tom got away with being Tom? You can't tell me for a second that was a short form of Lucinda Muriel, or whatever her name was!

Author:  jennifer [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:45 am ]
Post subject: 

I am not a general fan of fill-ins or sequels in general, and tend to avoid them on general principal. For me, no matter how well it's written, they aren't 'real'. For older books, they also have the problem of tone - even a talented author who does a lot of research can't duplicate the feeling that a book has from being written from a particular time and place and culture.

From a series perspective, I think it jumped the shark at about Redheads.

Author:  Lottie [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:29 am ]
Post subject: 

Alison H wrote:
I've never actually read CGGU, but from what other people've said I don't think I want to

Exactly my feelings about it. However I've read and enjoyed all the other fillers/sequels. Although I think some capture the flavour of the originals better than others, but that's hardly surprising. Some of the later Swiss books do get a bit repetitive and unbelievable, but I wouldn't be without them - they're part of the series which I've loved for forty years! :oops:

Author:  JB [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:04 am ]
Post subject: 

I agree with Sunglass's comments about Adrienne. All that long lost relative stuff makes my head spin and isn't necessary.

I don't think that I wish any of them hadn't been written but I think that the good ideas in the last books are stretched very thinly to take the series to the point where the triplets left school. I do like Redheads but from that point on, I don't reread the books properly, it's just a quick skim.

I hated CCGU when I first read it but i've recently read it again and I didn't find it so bad. It's just so unremittingly bleak. I could have believed that some of these things happened but it's just too much to accept that nothing good happened to anyone.

Author:  JayB [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:17 am ]
Post subject: 

Quote:
....Nancy step into the role of Head - letting us know who Hilda's successor is likely to be - although I don't think she could have been that much younger than her?


Nancy is younger than Jo and was still a schoolgirl when Hilda was Head in Tyrol. She's still some way off forty in Challenge. I think there must be at least twelve years between her and Hilda.

I like the idea of Copper being Head Girl. I think she'd have been a good one. She's very steady and sensible - a Jo Scott type.

Author:  JS [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:32 am ]
Post subject: 

I found CCGU completely wild when I first read it as I wasn't familiar with drabbles etc (only found the board in the last year) so hadn't been 'broken in' as it were.

I did enjoy it for its (as I saw it) taboo-breaking, in a sense - but it has coloured my re-reading in some ways.

It's impossible to see Reg in anything but a sinister light having read CCGU, for example, and it was the first time I realised it probably was a bit odd to have a mother-of-however-many shrieking over the exploits of middles at her old school.

Author:  alicat [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

Call me a pedant if you like but the thing that irritated me most about CGGU wasn't the content but the style - especially the fact that all the way through the punctuation is outside the speech marks!!! tho perhaps it's just that my copy is badly typeset.....

once I'd waded through the first few chapters, which seemed to have been written with the aim of making every improbable thing happen that ever could, I actually quite liked some of it, particularly the way made me think about how women's roles and lives have changed so much since the 1950s.....

I haven't read many of the GGB fill-ins, but did find some of them made me feel as if 'my' characters (yes i know they're EBDs not mine but hopefully you know what i mean) were wrong somehow - a bit like seeing the film of a much-loved book and finding people didn't look like how you'd imagined them....perhaps cos they are set in the EBD time frame and so on.

having said that I've got endless admiration for people with the imagination and talent to actually write a whoe fill-in...and any drabble, come to that...and wouldn't want people to stop writing them.

Author:  Liz K [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:14 pm ]
Post subject: 

Totally showing my ignorance here, but what is/where will I find CGGU??

:? :?

Author:  Caroline OSullivan [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Liz K wrote:

Quote:
Totally showing my ignorance here, but what is/where will I find CGGU??



It's The Chalet Girls Grow Up: A Sequel to the Chalet School Series by Merryn Williams
There's normally copies on Ebay and Amazon

Author:  Liz K [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:35 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you.

Author:  janetbrown23 [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:13 pm ]
Post subject: 

"Leader" was the beginning of the decline as far as I am concerned. It and Feud are my most disliked of all the books. It didn't stop me buying all the rest of the series as they came out though. Shame that in those days I didn't realise the value of the dust wrapper.

Author:  Amanda M [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:54 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm going to confess to being another one here who likes Redheads, I think it's one of the better later books. At least the storyline was original. It's hard to remember sometimes what the plots were about in The Two Sams or Prefects, at least you can remember the storyline from Redheads!

For me the series jumped the shark from The Two Sams onwards, but I do find things that I like about all the books, so I wouldn't not read the later books.

I did read CGGU and hated it - I think my copy's gone to the charity shop.

Author:  LizzieC [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

Sunglass wrote:
Adrienne does quite a bit of shark-jumping for me.


My goodness, you're right. If I'm completely honest I'd pretty much blocked Adrienne from my mind, to a large extent because of all the things you mention that bug you bug me too. The thing that really gets me about Adrienne is the ending though! It seems to be some sort of unwritten rule about the later books that noone can "just" be orphaned, but has to be related/connected to the school somehow, even if it isn't immediately obvious.

Author:  Maeve [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

Liz K wrote:

Quote:
Totally showing my ignorance here, but what is/where will I find CGGU??


There's a chapter of it on the transcript site if you want a sample.

Author:  Alison H [ Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:10 am ]
Post subject: 

I don't mind Redheads that much. It's good to see Gaudenz getting to be a hero :D , and, as Amanda said, at least it's original.

Wins the Trick is largely a re-run of the Mystic M storyline in New and Feud is to some extent a re-run of Rivals and elements of Bride. As for Adrienne turning out to be Robin's long-lost cousin (on her dad's side, when we've always been told that Robin was the image of her mum), the two Sams turning out to be each other's long-lost cousins, Erica's mother appointing someone she'd lost touch with over 20 years ago and had only known for a few months anyway to be her daughter's guardian and, to cap it all, Professor Richardson literally vanishing into thin air ... :roll: ! Oh, and then there's Ros Lilley's unexplained disappearance! I like Reunion, though, and Jane, and Challenge is at least a bit different.

I think I said this in the last "jump the shark" discussion, but once Mary-Lou and co leave there isn't really a successful group to take over from them. Ros, Jo Scott, Francie Wilford etc fade into the background after Ruey, no-one seems to like Jack Lambert & co, and Ailie Russell's gang sadly don't feature as much as it looked as if they might. I never feel as if I "know" a lot of the characters in most of the later Swiss books the way I "know" most people in the earlier books.

Author:  jennifer [ Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:59 am ]
Post subject: 

Caroline OSullivan wrote:
Liz K wrote:

Quote:
Totally showing my ignorance here, but what is/where will I find CGGU??



It's The Chalet Girls Grow Up: A Sequel to the Chalet School Series by Merryn Williams
There's normally copies on Ebay and Amazon


It's also, um, very different from the other fill-ins and sequels, featuring plot lines like domestic abuse, infidelity, insanity, suicide, and drug abuse. :shock: Definitely not a kids' book.

Author:  Miss Di [ Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:19 am ]
Post subject: 

I couldn't read the canon books for months after I read CGGU. It was so horrible and yet so plausible.

Author:  Liz K [ Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:05 am ]
Post subject: 

Maeve wrote:
Liz K wrote:

Quote:
Totally showing my ignorance here, but what is/where will I find CGGU??


There's a chapter of it on the transcript site if you want a sample.


Thank you, I'll go and have a look.

Author:  Dreaming Marianne [ Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:29 am ]
Post subject: 

JB wrote:



I hated CCGU when I first read it but i've recently read it again and I didn't find it so bad. It's just so unremittingly bleak. I could have believed that some of these things happened but it's just too much to accept that nothing good happened to anyone.


JB sums it up for me. It sits on my shelf but I don't anticipate re-reading it again - too depressing. But, having said that, I always do imagine that being the future that the Trips especially - and OOAOML - fulfill. Especially Margot.

And I'll put in my vote for "Redheads" Love it.

Author:  Saffronya [ Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:50 am ]
Post subject: 

I just read the Amazon reviews for CGGU. I have to say... I don't really think so. Its just not Chalet School is it?

Ed to say, I like Adrienne! But the whole locket thing never beong mentioned again does annoy me!

Author:  Pado [ Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:50 pm ]
Post subject: 

I too stumbled on CGGU more or less by mistake and it shook the very foundations of my childhood love of the CS. After having found CBB and expanding my drabble horizons, I tried it again...and still had the same reaction. Even if I don't think of it as Chalet related, it's still not to my taste.

Author:  KathrynW [ Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:59 pm ]
Post subject: 

CGGU once kept me amused on a very boring train journey so I will always have a soft spot for it in my heart because of that. I think it's okay so long as you don't take it too seriously.

Author:  lizarfau [ Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:04 am ]
Post subject: 

What exactly does 'jumping the shark' mean? I think I know, but aren't completely sure! :lol:

With a few exceptions, I don't really like the Swiss books, but I wouldn't say I wish they hadn't been written. Different people do like different ones after all - I like Redheads, for example. And the series ends on a good note, with Joey's eldest daughters finishing their school days.

I think EBD's books were stronger earlier in the series because she skipped terms - this gave her characters time to grow. I think if she'd continued to do this the storylines wouldn't have grown so repetitive and the characters would have developed more naturally. But still ... term by term was how she wanted to do things by that stage and the publishers were obviously happy with it! And fans growing up with the books, too, I'm sure.

Author:  jennifer [ Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:21 am ]
Post subject: 

lizarfau wrote:
I think EBD's books were stronger earlier in the series because she skipped terms - this gave her characters time to grow. I think if she'd continued to do this the storylines wouldn't have grown so repetitive and the characters would have developed more naturally.


That's a good point. I would also add the fact that she wasn't personally familiar with Switzerland as she was with Tyrol (leading to the geography/history infodumps rather than interesting description), the school staying in a single location for that long - there are ~30 books in Switzerland, compared to 14 in Tyrol, 2 in Guernsey, 9 in Plas Howell, and 7 in St Briaval's. And, EBD had less contact with girls and teaching to keep her up to date.

Author:  Miss Di [ Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:55 am ]
Post subject: 

lizarfau wrote:
What exactly does 'jumping the shark' mean? I think I know, but aren't completely sure! :lol:


There is a detailed explanation on wikipedia. Here is the address to save my fingers retyping or even cutting and pasting - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumping_the_shark

Author:  MJKB [ Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:41 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank goodness someone asked what CGGU was!.
I don't regret any book written by EBD, but I would have to say that Prefects was pretty awful. It is the only Chalet book that I found impossible to read again. It was as if poor EBD knew it was to be her swan song and was determined to go out with a bang. If memory serves me right there was not only a terrifying storm but also a cliff hanging rescue which leads to an embarrassing engagement scene.
One of my favourite books in the series is New Beginnings. It is the only sequel written by a devotee that is completely faithful to the original. I love it.

Author:  jennifer [ Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:48 am ]
Post subject: 

MJKB wrote:
Thank goodness someone asked what CGGU was!.
I don't regret any book written by EBD, but I would have to say that Prefects was pretty awful. It is the only Chalet book that I found impossible to read again. It was as if poor EBD knew it was to be her swan song and was determined to go out with a bang. If memory serves me right there was not only a terrifying storm but also a cliff hanging rescue which leads to an embarrassing engagement scene.


I'll give EBD a pass on Prefects (even that horrible engagement scene) as it is widely thought that large portions of this book (and possibly Althea) were actually written by Phyllis Matthewman.

Author:  tiernsee [ Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:36 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm joining the bandwagon of not being impressed with the later Swiss books - Prefects and Althea particularly bad. I also got annoyed with all of the "surprise" relationships which emerged between people (ref two Sams, Adrienne...).

Generally love the fill-in books - particularly India and New Beginnings. Have read CGGU - not terribly impressed by either content or writing but found it interesting as a possible (though in my opinion not likely) future for the school and pupils. I, too, never liked Reg again after reading this (though can't say I liked him much before!)

Author:  Pauline [ Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Books you wish hadn't been written

Hmmmm interesting!!!! I've just read this thread for the first time, and while not contributing anything new. I too read CGGU when it was first published, and like most I haven't had it off the shelf since. Oh yes I have I lent it to a niece who also likes CS with my hand written review in it, having said to her to read the book before my review. She agreed with me. I cannot believe that the triplets would change so much after the upbringing they had. Rebel yes, but turn so much against their beliefs and upbringing never. I don't think it would be possible having grown up in that era.

Just my thoughts folks, for what they are worth.

Author:  Lolly [ Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Books you wish hadn't been written

I know a lot of people loved it, but I could have done without Tom ...both the book and the character. I've always loathed the 'just as good as a boy' type of tomboy, and I found the book irritating.

Author:  Caroline [ Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Books you wish hadn't been written

That's an interesting point - I think I could quite happily live without Tom, Rosalie and Mystery - they are short, disjointed, have strange lopsided plots and weird "modern" things that don't feature in the other books (the whole film star thing in Mystery) and contain many, many EBDisms, thanks, presumably to being written retrospectively and for the annuals.

Having said that, I do like Tom as a character - she has a refreshing and original take on things, and manages to be a tomboy without being a bully.

Althea is my other least favourite, due to the massive plot holes and apparent missing bits. Merge the best bits of it with the best bits of Prefects and edit it properly and you might get one decent book out of it.

Caroline.

Author:  leahbelle [ Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Books you wish hadn't been written

Anything after Redheads for me just isn't worth reading. I don't much like Mystery, either.

Author:  JS [ Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Books you wish hadn't been written

I'm not mad on Tom, Mystery or Rosalie either. I found a copy of the original Rosalie paperback in a shop last week - it was 95, which I think is probably quite a good price. I was very excited to see it for the first time, but wouldn't buy it, on the basis that I don't think it's a very good book, even if I had 95 to spare!

Was that reasonable?

Author:  Caroline [ Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Books you wish hadn't been written

That was a very reasonable price, IMO - I won't say how much I paid for mine, but it was a lot more than that...!! Ouch!!

Had to have it, though - it was the one title I hadn't got in HB (well, OK, it's not a HB - original form, myabe?)

Colour me jealous!

Author:  Lesley [ Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Books you wish hadn't been written

Well my paperback of Rosalie was 1.75. :lol: Admitedly it was the Armada edition published in 1987, but even so!

Author:  Mrs Redboots [ Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Books you wish hadn't been written

Lesley wrote:
Well my paperback of Rosalie was 1.75. :lol: Admitedly it was the Armada edition published in 1987, but even so!

As, indeed, was mine!

Author:  JS [ Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Books you wish hadn't been written

Quote:
Lesley wrote:Well my paperback of Rosalie was 1.75. Admitedly it was the Armada edition published in 1987, but even so!
As, indeed, was mine!



And mine - which is why I know it's not a very good book. I'm having a nagging feeling I should maybe have bought it, though............

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