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Book Report: The Railway Children

Your Humble Blogger was a huge E. Nesbit fan, back in my misspent youth. Or spent youth, anyway. I can’t really claim that reading E. Nesbit books was misspending my youth.

I have not been able to persuade my Perfect Non-Reader that these books are charming, though. It seems as though she is not fated to become a pathetic Anglophile like her father. Or maybe she will, only it doesn’t come out until later. Or maybe it will skip a generation.

There isn’t any reason for a kid to like The Railway Children, actually, unless that kid is already prepared to be charmed by Britishness generally. Unlike the fantasy stories, which have, you know, dragons and wishes and so on, The Railway Children has little in it to appeal to, well, anybody except a pathetic Anglophile. It was never among my favorites of her books, even when I was a lad. And yet, I found it both charming and moving, oddly enough.

And somehow the background plot, which I never remembered because it really has nothing to do with the book, is about a innocent man jailed for selling state secrets (and a foreign agitator abandoned by his political compatriots), all of which is made much less interesting than a broken leg or a birthday present. Which is how it should be in a book like this, I suppose.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,