PBOTD 8th November: Joanna Cannan - I Wrote a Pony Book

Joanna Cannan's I Wrote a Pony Book (1950) is a poignant read. The heroine, Alison, has a fairly grim time at home with deeply unsympathetic parents, and school ("in the sodden and unkind Midlands") doesn't appear a great deal better. Alison's problem is that she doesn't fit in with the way that people think she should be. While she's away at school, she decides to write a pony book, but the creative process does not run smooth.

Her school friends prove to be distinctly unhelpful, and it isn't until she makes friends with the similarly outcast Tamsin, that things perk up. Both girls are obvious outsiders: it's pretty clear that Joanna Cannan didn't think that school life fostered the creative at all. The girls achieve their writing, and illustrating, in Tamsin's case, because they meet each other, and not through anything the school contributes. Discussion isn't welcome in lessons - Alison makes the mistake of disagreeing with one of her English mistress's opinions, and is taunted for it.

Alison is possibly Joanna Cannan's most put upon heroine, but she treats her situation with the customary Cannan grit, and no matter what other people think of her, she works solidly towards her aims.

I Wrote a Pony Book is one of my favourites Joanna Cannans, and if you've never read it (because it's not the easiest, or cheapest, title to track down), you'll be delighted to learn that Fidra plan to republish the book late next year.
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