The Quiz

©2013 Nim Gholkar All Rights Reserved

‘You always say you are a book-lover, Mum. Here is a quiz for you’, my eleven year old daughter piped up as I snuggled next to her on the lounge,dozing off after a hard, long day at work. It seemed as though I had yawned a million times already. I could barely keep my eyes open, let alone participate in some literary challenge.

‘Not today, darling’ , I said, trying to rub the sleep out of my eyes.

‘C,mon, mum. Be a sport. Let’s see how much you remember’.

With half shut eyes, I took a sleepy  glance at the book she had been reading for the past half hour. Enid Blyton’s ‘Mallory Towers’. One of my favourite series from childhood, but then again it was something I had last read more than 25 years ago. She had to be joking. I was going to be quizzed on a book I had read when I was younger than she was??????

‘Can we do this tomorrow, first thing in the morning, when I am wide awake and my memory is a lot better than when I am half asleep?’ I asked, hopefully. But no….the quiz was going to happen NOW.

‘I am going to see how many characters your remember from this book’, my daugther said with all the smugness of someone who has read the book only a few minutes ago and so is familiar with all the names unlike her poor mother who was going to have to dig deep into memories formed a lifetime ago.

‘Ok’ I said, yawning. ‘Let’s give it a go. Ask away’. I had practically zero hopes of remembering a single character from one of my most cherished childhood novels.

‘First question. Who is Bill?’

I smiled a sleepy smile. ‘Let me see. Was Bill’s full name Wilhelmina? She loves horses and has seven brothers’.

My daughter looked up sharply, an eyebrow arched in surprise. ‘Muuu-uum, how did you know?’

I shrugged. ‘Keep asking’ I muttered with another huge yawn.

‘Ok, who is the main character in Mallory Towers?’

‘Darrell Someone or the other. I forget her surname’

‘Yes, Darrell Rivers. You get half a point’. (woo-hoo)

‘Next question: who was Darrell’s younger sister?’

This was tough. I stared up at the ceiling, struggling to remember. ‘Ummm….Sally?’ I asked, tentatively.

‘No, mum. Sally was Darryl’s best friend, not sister. The sister is Felicity’.

Hellooooooo…..at least I remembered Sally as part of the entire cast, even though I had got her relationship to the main heroine wrong. But sadly, no points for that answer!

‘Bet you won’t know this one, Mum. What do you remember about Clarissa Carter?

I sat up straighter and could feel myself actually beginning to enjoy this. ‘I don’t remember much, but I do know she had braces and some kind of a heart problem’

‘Correct’.

And so the quiz went on for several minutes. I got many right and some wrong, as was to be expected, considering I had not read Mallory Towers for so many years. At the end of the quiz, my daughter put aside the book and stared at me with a mixture of awe and amazement.

‘Wow, mum, even half asleep you remember so many characters.’

That one statement set me thinking. Book-lovers might forget the actual story line of their favourite novels, but one seldom forgets the truly wonderful characters woven by all those amazing writers we grew up reading. I looked back , sifting through my memories and tried to recall all my favourite novels over the years to see if I could remember the protagonists. Sure enough…..whether it was Noelle Page from Sidney Sheldon’s ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ or Jo from  Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women’, whether it was Rudolf from ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’ or Mr Darcy from Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’…..it is delightful to realise that some personalities will never be forgotten through the passage of time.

So, my fellow book lovers, I would love to hear from you about your favourite unforgettable book characters…about the ones that made the greatest impression…..the ones you will never forget!

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