Friday, January 14, 2011

Flashback Friday: The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright

Jacki at Lovely Little Shelf has a great meme called Flashback Friday. It's a chance to showcase books you read as a kid or a teen that are still stuck in your head.

Ah! The books I read when I was young...

One of the joys of parenthood is the excuse to reread some of these wonderful old stories. One delightful book that meant a great deal to me when I was young was The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. Written in 1941, it was already a classic by the time I discovered it, and it has recently been re-released for another generation of young readers to enjoy.

The close-knit Melendy siblings—Mona, Rush, Miranda and Oliver (ranging from a young teenager to age five or so)— live in a rambling old house with their kindly but distant father and an affectionate housekeeper. Their mother is dead. The children are pretty well left to their own devices throughout much of the book, but adult supervision is always implied as being just beyond the door. They are very much individual personalities, but their loyalty to each other is unquestionable. The main plot-line of the book centers around a decision to form a club to fight the weekend doldrums. They resolve to pool their weekly allowance, then take turns receiving the whole pot. Saturdays are reserved for spending the money. The only rule is the money can’t be wasted but must be used for something significant.

Each Saturday is a different adventure. The book is fun to read because of the children’s joy in little things. They are at different life stages and make different types of discoveries about the world as they strike out in pursuit of their goals.

When I read first read this book, I wanted to enter the world of the Melendy’s, to join them on their adventures. I missed the family when the story ended. I don’t know how it escaped my attention that the book was part of a series. But my cluelessness then allowed me a very pleasant surprise when I went hunting for the book to read with my daughter a few years ago. Enright had written a Melendy quartet of books. And this time around, I read all four.

These books are wonderful for middle grade readers. If you’re older but looking for something well written and sweet about idyllic childhood in a bygone era, have a look at The Saturdays.


  1. Oh my gosh! I had totally forgotten about this book.
    My son is only a few months old but I'm already loving sharing some of my favorites with him. What I really cannot wait for is reading him the Narnia books. I love love loved them and hope that he does too.


  2. I've heard of Enright, but not of this book. It sounds great. Thanks for sharing the memories Susan.

  3. Great little blog, and your book looks good, too. I'll be back. :)