Bessie Marchant How Nell Scored (n.d. [early 1950s])
Less a review and more of a 'I bet you couldn't get away with naming a children's book this nowadays'.
I bought How Nell Scored in Carnforth in the U.K., after touring the railway station where the classic weepy Brief Encounter was partly filmed. If I wasn't totally banned from buying anything that wouldn't fit into my one small suitcase, I would have come away with a lot more from this very nice bookshop. But how could I resist How Nell Scored? It truly deserves a place on anyone's list of Worst Book Titles.
How Nell Scored is a pretty awful book for young people. Or maybe a book for young people that is pretty awful? The writing style leaves much to be desired and the plot is flimsy. The setting is interesting in a ye olde colonies sense - New Zealand.
Nell lives on a farm (I note that she is not going to be educated at a decent school like her brother). She manages to rescue a couple of dubious types from a shipwreck. One of them is less dodgy and has a fortune in pearls concealed in his undies (I am being less delicate about this than the book). Nell is entrusted with the pearls (which she also stores in her undies, perhaps more aptly) since - COINCIDENCE! - their owner was actually on his way to find her oldest brother who had foolishly lent him money. Without the money being repaid, Nell's brother will lose his reputation. Etc.
Nell, whose sense of geographic direction is even worse than mine, sets off on a do-or-die mission to get the pearls to the bank before the other dubious character catches her. She lies in a lot of hay and spends a lot of time up trees. Bulls wish to gore her. She walks in circles and, unsurprisingly, is often hungry. Everywhere she goes, people have accidents. In a better writer, she'd be Carrie. Eventually everything turns out OK. This is how Nell scored.
Rating: Tosh. Love the title though.