Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Adventurous Allens Part 2

I gave the premise for the first book in the Adventurous Allens series in my previous post. I was unable to get into this book the first time I tried reading it due to the poor writing style. I was successful this second time, probably because I had already previously read the first 60 pages and remembered what I had read.

This book has about the most mistakes of any of the old juvenile series books that I have read. I have to wonder whether the book was even edited at all. Perhaps Burt published Grove's manuscript as it was sent to them. The book has misspelled words and missing quotation marks. Not only that, but Grove was overly fond of using unnecessary quotation marks.

I had to read some passages multiple times in order to understand them, because of the poor writing. In some cases, I had to ignore the fact that I did not understand what I was reading so that I could keep going.

This sentence on pages 50-51, reproduced exactly as it appears in the book, is confusing:
The two boys used the vacuum cleaner for Nancy as director of household affairs; and when everybody was tired, dishes and everything else could go, Nancy said, though they were "still there," when at last attention had to be turned in their direction!
Say what? I guess they put off doing the dishes when they were tired, but the dishes were still there, and then they had to do them after their other work was done.

From page 150:
Jimmy and the "bike" which was not a bike scurried around, gathering up various good things to eat and was warned not to lose the list which Nancy had given him.
Ignoring the fact that the sentence is very poorly structured, how am I supposed to know what a " 'bike' which was not a bike" is supposed to be? I had no idea, so I kept reading. It was a few chapters later that I finally figured out that the bike was the vehicle that Jimmy drove in the book, which was a small delivery van. At least, I think it was a small delivery van. Grove did not adequately explain the large and small delivery vans, so I really do not know exactly what the young people were using. It also did not help that Grove kept calling the large one a car.

I was taken aback on page 130 when Charles Curtis appeared. I did not know who he was, yet all of the Allens knew him quite well. I knew he had to be one of the Curtises from earlier in the book, so I went back and saw his name mentioned in passing on page 88, not enough to be remembered by the reader, which is why his appearance on page 130 nonplussed me.

Innuendos are always fun, and this book delivers a few good ones. From page 139:
Philip refused the offer to have him meet some young lady and join Charles and William with their ladies in dinner and later pleasures.
Yikes. I thought this was a children's book.

I had trouble understanding what Uncle John's business was, since the word "firm" was used repeatedly. I kept thinking that it was a law firm until I finally learned that it was a department store. How about calling it a department store from the beginning?

In spite of the bizarre punctuation and failure to explain basic parts of the premise, I actually enjoyed this book a lot. My favorite books tend to be books that were published during the 1930s, so this book fits right in. Despite the faults, I enjoyed this book more than I enjoyed several of the Billie Bradley books. I had trouble getting through a few of those. This book turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

Perhaps the reason I enjoyed this book so much is because of how enjoyable it was to follow along with the adventures of the Allens, who are very likable young people. Philip, Nancy, Jimmy, and Marjorie have mutual respect for each other and get along quite well. Perhaps they get along better than one might expect of most siblings, but nevertheless, it made for very pleasant reading.

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