Reviewing the Classics #5: The Railway Children
I’m pretty sure I already mentioned this somewhere, but I first read this book when I was sick. I’d always ask my dad to bring me some books from the library (because even then, I couldn’t stand being bored), and one time this one was part of the pile one of the many times I had a throat infection. Basically: I read it, re-read it, and fell in love. Absolutely, whole-heartedly. I now even own 2 editions of this story. And naturally, I’ve got my eye on at least 3 more editions 🙂 Anyways, this is my review of The Railway Children!
Imma go to Goodreads for this one: “T the comfortable lives of three well-mannered siblings are greatly altered when, one evening, two men arrive at the house and take their father away. With the family’s fortunes considerably reduced in his absence, the children and their mother are forced to live in a simple country cottage near a railway station. There the young trio — Roberta, Peter, and young Phyllis — befriend the porter and station master. The youngsters’ days are filled with adventure and excitement, including their successful attempt to avert a horrible train disaster; but the mysterious disappearance of their father continues to haunt them.”
Now, apart from the part where all of that sounds so awfully cliche, that is actually a pretty good summary.
Although their mother, the old gentleman and the Russian person take up quite a bit of space throughout the book, the real main characters of this book are definitely Roberta, Peter and Phyllis – The Railway Children. At the beginning of the story, they are described as middle class and quite happy. They seem to have the perfect family and are just living together in London, going about their lives. When their father is taken away, however, they have to move and adapt to quite different circumstances. From well-off middle class London to poor country side, at times struggling to even get food, their lives are nothing like what they are used to.
The three children excel, however, at thriving even in those changed circumstances. They learn to amuse themselves at the railway, with the people and nature surrounding their house, and they prove themselves to be quite a bit more than just the kids from London.
The oldest of the three, Roberta, is 12 years old and is nicknamed Bobbie. She’s definitely the most persistent of the three, and definitely has a mind of her own. Peter is the one who’s most interested in trains, and wants to be an engineer when he grows up. He is regularly described as quite sharp-witted, but is at times a bit too couragous. I mean, really, stealing coal? Not his smarted move – even if he didn’t know it was stealing. Phyllis, the youngest is quite a bit more naive than the other two and is at times seen to have quite the temper. In other words: the three siblings were clearly made to sort of represent the quintessential collection of siblings. Somehow though? It works.
Something that really struck me throughout this story, is how vivid the language is. Throughout the various chapters, there’s is constantly something happening, which was quite the pleasant change from many of the slower books I’ve been reading more recently. Sure, that might largely be due to the fact that it’s aimed at children. However, it also made for an altogether very pleasant reading experience for me. The first, as well as the 4 following times 🙂
If feel like you might want to read this one now as well (which I would obviously recommend) you can find it at The Book Depository (affiliate link)!