My Problem with Pooh and Christopher Robin too.

Unexpectedly I came to see the (2017) film Goodbye Christopher Robin which tells the tale of the world famous Playwright and Author A.A Milne but most notably as author of Winnie- the Pooh. First published in the wake on the first world war in 1926, the film follows Milne known to his family as Blue as he returns from the first world war with shell shock or what we now may recognise as PTSD. Devastated by his time at the Somme Blue wants to write a book about war, encouraging peace for future generations; but that is not the story that finds him.

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Thanks to the decision to move his young family to the Sussex country side Blue started to spend more time with  his young son known to the family as Billy Moon and his beloved bear affectionately named Edward  (would later be re-named Winne-the-Pooh). I saw a video with the films director and he talks about how Blue and his wife Daphne were very much of their time, how it wasn’t uncommon to have baby and continue on with life as if nothing had happened only seeing the child for half an hour in the morning and evening. Looking at the relationship of Billy, Daphne and Blue through modern eyes is difficult and it is almost impossible not to judge their relationship. Billy Moon has a nanny Nou whom he adores and as the film unfolds I found myself wondering in a house or family like this when a child has so little access to their own parents who is really Billy Moon’s mother is it Daphne or is it Nou?

In later life a grownup Christopher Robin is even quoted when describing Nou as ‘Almost a part of me’ and they remained close for her entire life.

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Blue and Billy eventually get to bond when both Nou and Daphne are away from the house hold leaving the pair alone together with no choice but to either sink or swim. Blue eventually discovers what a bright and vibrant imagination his son has discovering the names of his favourite toys, which along with Edward Bear included Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore the depressed Donkey. They play together in the long hot summer days just Blue, Billy and his toys and Billy’s imagination that essence of childhood become the inspiration for A.A Milne’s most famous creation, his Winnie the Pooh stories. The Stories were an instant success, lifted up on the back of the tragedy of World War One ‘the country is wounded’ Blue cries to his wife Daphne in the film and with the help of Winnie the Pooh they could remember that life could be good again and life was worth living after all.

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But by writing about his son and his toys  Blue was effectively selling his sons childhood to the masses. The books were an instant stand out success and at one point Christopher Robin who was slowly but surely losing his identity as Billy Moon was named the most famous child in the world. Comparing it not just to today’s standards but famous children throughout history there are very few examples where child stars come off unscathed. Christopher Robin was more famous than his father A.A Milne and his mother was  not only the driving force behind commercialising Milne’s’ books also could see what a commodity her son was becoming. He would do interviews and photographs, signings; all the while Edward Bear had become Pooh and no longer just belonged to him but him and millions of other people all over the world. Billy Moon’s real problems started when he attended boarding school at age nine. It is depicted in the film but the real Christopher Robin had spoken of it many times in his books and interviews over the years that he was consistently bullied for being the child in his father’s books and poems he was pushed kicked and repeatedly pushed down the stairs.  He felt his father had ‘climbed on the back of my infant shoulders’ to forge his career leaving Billy without any identity and with no say in how famous he had become and he was famous for no real reason.

Eventually Billy Moon would shed his Christopher Robin identify all together when he joined the army and became Private Milne. He would survive the war and later marry his first cousin. This would cause great strain on his relationship with his parents one that was already full of emotional entanglements and resentments.

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Daphne and Christopher soon to wife’s father were brother and sister and did not get on and the marriage between the pair further strained his relationship with his mother who was a hard woman at times and is depicted as such in the film. As he grew into a man Christopher seemed to always looking back to his childhood his was filled with a bitter resentment towards the books and what they did to his life and was still angry at his father. He did not speak or see to his father until he was on his death bed and Daphne and Christopher would never reconcile.

Goodbye Christopher Robin did a good job of showing that Daphne and Blue were flawed humans and their relationship with him was fraught. But it ends right when a young Christopher Robin gets home from war, the viewers never gets to know how it ended for the family and how they would never be reconciled. How Christopher would never take a penny from the Winnie the Pooh franchise but eventually when he and his wife had a disabled daughter they were eventually forced to take some money to pay for her care  ‘For Clare’ I read  him say, which is both beautiful that he loved his child in a different way than his he parents loved him but tragic that he had to forgo his principles in the end and his wishes to separate himself from Pooh.

The origin story of Winnie the Pooh is a sad one but it got me thinking about the new Christopher Robin movie to be released this year. (2018) When you’re telling the story of an adult Christopher Robin who famously came to hate Pooh Bear shouldn’t how he really felt about his situation be addressed?

Christopher Robin Movie

I get it, this is Disney and this is the sentimental tripe we love, it has echoes of Robin William’s Hook to me and I’m sure it will be a box office smash. But where does the morality come in? The Little boy Christopher Robin is immortalised in book form destined to be playing with his ‘Silly old Bear’ forever but the adult man who grew up and away from Pooh does he stop mattering cause he’s dead? When did we stop caring about truth? Honestly I think that this movie is a morally bankrupt idea, and yes people will love it because it’s Disney but they will be loving a lie somehow I don’t think I will ever look at Winne- the -Pooh ever the same way again and that’s both a good and a bad thing.

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Children’s​ Books- My Childhood Favourites!

I was having a think about the books I read while I was growing up, the books that had a big impact on me not only as a reader but as a young girl growing up in Britain.

I know when people mention their favourite children’s books Harry Potter is often at the top of their list  but there will be no Harry Potter mentions here. Although the Harry Potter books were being released throughout my childhood I didn’t read them until last year! So that’s me, putting Harry Potter to bed… at least for the remainder of this post.

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What we love has children can have an impact on us for our whole lives, from music to film and everything in between youth is an impressionable time. Now I want to share with you my childhood favourites, the books I loved, the books that started off my never ending TBR pile, the books that started it all…

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol

Alice in wonderland

I have a life-long love for Alice and her adventures, that curious little girl who fell down a rabbit whole as stayed with me and I’m always finding new Alice re-tellings to delve into Splintered by A.G Howard being one of my favourites.

Goosebumps by R.L Stine

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Even now I love a creepy read and I’m sure Goosebumps was where it all began, spooky, spine-tingling reads and I’m sure the cause of some rather creepy nightmares.

Jacqueline Wilson Books

the suitcase kid girls in love

I adored Jacoline Wilson growing up, from Tracey Beaker to The Suitcase Kid Jacqueline Wilson writes great stories that also show children a world, or a situation that they may not have understood before. At the same time her books are relatable and full of great characters and hard-hitting drama.

Nobody’s Horse by Joanne Webster

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When I was growing up I was lucky to have a mother who was also I reader and I constantly searched her book shelves looking for some hidden gem. Nobody’s Horse was one of those gems, the story of a horse with no one to love and care for it. As a little girl who loved horses I read everything with a horse or pony on the cover  but Nobody’s horse was definitely a special read and I read that book cover to cover until the cover fell off and the pages were held together by nothing but tape.

The Beatrix Potter Stories

Peter Benj Jem

Beatrix Potter was such an interesting woman to be a writer and an illustrator in the time she lived was amazing for a woman of her era but she also did a great deal with the money from her books for conservation and the protection of British countryside. Her beautiful books were a childhood staple for me, I was fascinated and thrilled by the tales of Peter Rabbit and her other characters.

Ten Week Stables

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Another of my Mums old books, ten-week stables was another horsey adventure and is the type of story that makes any young child  think that anything is possible.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

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Another horsey book I know, but Black Beauty is such a classic, voiced by Beauty himself this unique narrative follows Black Beauty throughout his life. From when he leaves his home and mother and moves to his new home with his first owner. Each time Beauty is sold he gets a new life and sometimes not for the better. The story teaches children that not all humans are kind but when they are they can give love beyond measure, a beautiful tale of love and friendship.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

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There was always something so magical about this lyrical christmas story, when I hear lines from the famous poem now I am filled with nostalgia from Christmas’ gone, a book to read in a magical time of year.

I hope you enjoyed my Favourite Childrens Books post, what are your favourite books from your childhood? Let me know in the comments, happy reading everyone!

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Tag:Three Days, Three Quotes #2

Thanks again to Cat aka The Book Finch for tagging me for the Three Days, Three Quotes Tag!

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days.
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day.

I decided that for this tag I would pick my three quotes from my childhood faves, yesterday it was it was Alice in Wonderland today The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe. Keep your eyes peeled tomorrow and look out for childhood book and favourite quote number three!

Day 2- The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis

narnia the lion witch and the wardrobe

 “If you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing was ever going to happen again.”

C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe 

I have been taking part in The Problem with Susan Challenge to find out what went wrong with the oldest Pevensy girl. This involves reading and reviewing the series, to find out more about this challenge read A Problem with Susan- Always a Queen of Narnia? and my The Magicians Nephew Review.

My Tags

Cristina @  Tiny Obsessions

Astra @ A Strangers Guide To Novels

Nicolette @A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly

Happy Reading Everyone!

billie piper