Angelina Justice's Reviews > The Education of Bet

The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
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's review
Sep 12, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: ya, historical
Read from September 11 to 12, 2010

** spoiler alert ** Aargh! Second time posting this review.

This is a nice historical "lite" with mild feminist leanings for the reluctant girl reader.

Unfortunately I wasn't terribly impressed. There were too many character contradictions. A girl who poses as boy to get an education, but accepts her "station" in life. A girl smart enough to be first in her class, but not smart enough to hide her girl gear with one of her two female secret keepers at the school. A girl who professes willingness to give up her dream of an education because the cute boy's feelings are more important.

And then the whole story feels rushed. It's as if someone did a hack job of the editing. Every time there is the beginning of any kind of tension it is rushed, skimmed over or resolved too easily.

A perfect example is when the school bully beats Bet after she bests him in a fencing match. One moment we're getting a bit of detail about how Bet is feeling and the details of what she is doing to him and the next we're getting a vague second hand telling of a fierce beating.

One of the best scenes in the whole book is when the same bully discovers Bet's girl gear in "Will's" trunk. A chase ensues and Bet/Will is cornered by the bully who believes that will is an "abomination." That scene was fleshed out, but the turmoil that ensues is kind of compressed and rushed.

My advice to the author....slow down and tell me more.

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Angelina Justice On the surface this is a pleasant and easy read. It is a great way to put historical fiction in the hands of a reluctant girl reader.

But it was full of contradictions. A girl who is willing to go through the machinations Bet did to get an education, wouldn't just accept her "station" in life. After getting the help of the two women in the school, why in the world would she risk leaving her girl gear in her own room? And as smart as she was, we're to believe neither she or the real Will ever had any idea they were siblings?!

The whole story was rushed. It ended up feeling like someone did a hack job of editing the story.

There were some great scenes, like the one in which the school bully finds her wig and doesn't yet know that she's a girl. The story needed more tension building moments that didn't resolve instantly or easily.

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