June 9th, 2021

school stories

Revisiting the Chalet School

It must be years since I picked up a Chalet School book. Then, looking for something unchallenging to read, I started The School at the Chalet. Next thing I know, I’ve started a big re-read and am on the fifth book already. I’m hypercritical of these books, with their inconsistencies (even on the same page!), their bad French and German and potty rules (a bath and bed for a week for any girl who gets slightly wet). I’ve even written a prospectus, which begins:

PARENTS!

Tired of your annoying daughters?
Pack them off to
THE MOST DANGEROUS SCHOOL IN THE WORLD!


But the fact is that I’m absolutely loving this read through. Somehow all that routine (put the plumeaux over the balcony to air, throw your cubicle curtains over the rail), is rather soothing. I have a complete set of the books (all sixty-two!) and in so many different editions that I have a scheme of scanning all the covers to put on Pinterest. Oh, I feel tired just thinking of it. Here’s one photo of dozens I already have because I’ve sold so many over the years. I don’t know where I’d find spare copies these days and I notice that prices are going up again. This series began in the 1920s and is still gaining new fans.