Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Adventurous Allens

I became interested in the Adventurous Allens series when I came into possession of the original artwork for one of the books. The Adventurous Allens series is a five volume series written by Harriet Pyne Grove. The author's name sounds like a bad pseudonym, but Harriet Pyne Grove was apparently a real person, and that was her real name.

1. The Adventurous Allens, 1932
2. The Adventurous Allens Find Mystery, 1932
3. The Adventurous Allens Afloat, 1932
4. The Adventurous Allens Marooned, 1932
5. The Adventurous Allens' Treasure Hunt, 1933

Like the other lesser-known A. L. Burt books, the Adventurous Allens books are extremely scarce and hard to find. It is difficult just to find the books, let alone the dust jackets. For comparison, these books are harder to find and scarcer than the first five Girl Scouts books by Virginia Fairfax. These books are probably equally scarce as the sixth volume in the Fairfax series.

I have been in-between series for a few weeks now and have been at a loss for what to read. I did not think I had any complete sets of unread books, until I realized that I had all five Adventurous Allens books.

I had not read any of them yet since Harriet Pyne Grove's writing style is a bit odd and kind of like that of Lilian Garis. I read some of the first Adventurous Allens book awhile back, but I had trouble getting into it because Grove's expository information is poorly written, making it difficult to understand. The most important part of a book is the beginning in which the author gains the reader's attention. Bungle that part, and the book will never be read.

This is how the book begins:
That first great adventure of the Adventurous Allens, the odd undertaking that led to all the rest of the adventures sought, enjoyed, endured, or met by them, was, from an adult standpoint, adventurous indeed. But it happened because at the time nothing else offered which seemed either profitable or endurable. It was a happy, if temporary solution of present evils; in other words it appealed to them as a great lark, in which they might forget sore hearts and all that had meant to them the security of home, the friendships and fun of school like, and their future dim, but expected opportunities.
That paragraph would scare off most readers. That would be why I had not read these books yet. Since I am somewhat desperate to have a set of books to read, I am ready and willing to deal with it right now.

The Adventurous Allens series tells the story of the four Allens: Philip, Nancy, Jimmy, and Marjorie. Philip is 19 and in his third year of college. Nancy is 18, and Jimmy is 15. Marjorie is around 12. Their parents died six years before the beginning of the story. Their Uncle John became their guardian and cared for them for the last six years. Uncle John recently died in a car accident, leaving the young people orphaned.

An employee of Uncle John's company stole a large sum of money, and much of the Allens' inheritance has to be used to pay off the debts. Actually, the Allens choose to use their inheritance because they want to do the right thing in their uncle's name, which just shows what upstanding young people they are. How can the reader not like them? They set a good example.

Since the Allens use much of their inheritance to pay off someone else's debt, they find themselves in need. They arrange for the sale of their uncle's property and decide to set off on an extended camping trip in two old delivery vans found on their uncle's property. The Allens explore the West and visit several national parks, including Yellowstone. They have a few harrowing adventures along the way.

I have too many thoughts for one post, so I will continue with my thoughts on Grove's writing style and the quality of the text in my next post.


Connoisseur said...

LOL Harriet Pyne Grove!
I enjoy your posts on series books i've never even heard of before, and I enjoy them more when they're on series I have!

beautifulshell said...

I've read one HPG book - maybe The Strange Likeness? - and it didn't really grab me. That might have also been to it being a one-off...I tend to like series better than stand-alones.

Jennifer said...

I usually hear bad things about Harriet Pyne Grove's books, which has kept me from collecting any of her books aside from the five Adventurous Allens books. I had to collect the Adventurous Allens books due to owning the one piece of art and liking the art very much.

I am afraid to spend money on books that may not be good, especially since I prefer books with jackets, and Grove's books are very scarce in the Burt editions with jackets. I welcome any thoughts anyone has about her books. In one of my previous posts on this subject, I recall someone mentioned liking one of her books that had been read.

I would have liked to have placed all of my thoughts about the book in one post, but it ended up a bit long. You will get to read the rest of my thoughts at midnight Central time when part 2 goes up.