Cheryl in CC NV's Reviews > Betsy Was a Junior & Betsy and Joe

Betsy Was a Junior & Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace
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Sep 19, 11

Read in August, 2011

Well, I'm going to stick with these. But gosh Betsy and her big sister Julia are indulged. And it shows. I do not like Mrs. Ray - she's doing her best to teach them to be materialistic and shallow. Everything's lace this and feathers that. And let's form a high-school sorority so we can be even more exclusive than an ordinary club. And let's not try to get to know Tony for who he is, or to be honest with him, because obviously the only thing that should matter in his life is what Betsy thinks should matter, which is, mainly, Betsy. Julia's broken at least a dozen hearts and everyone still thinks she's wonderful.

Betsy doesn't even really care to know her two oldest friends. Tib, the most competent and fearless girl in the whole school, took Betsy's advice (that Christmas in Milwaukee) to be cute and flirty and delicate, and she's still doing it - not being true to herself, or to the boys either, at all. And Betsy and Tib think that Tacy is in trouble because she doesn't want to date yet - but they don't really listen to her, or respect her.

I adore Margaret. I do hope we get to learn what direction her adult life takes.

Sure, Betsy has a good heart. But she's utterly heedless. If she does learn about someone else's challenges, like not being able to buy the latest fashions or being ill, she thinks about it for a few moments at a time over the course of a few days, as if it's a dime novel she's reading, and then she goes on her merry way disregarding the reality that most people face. Mr. Ray is a good man, but I think he should have worked a bit harder to instill his values in his wife and older girls.

Ok, that's my rant about the characters and content. The writing style is graceful and engaging; the plot develops naturally and (mostly) plausibly, the supporting characters are individuals. It's not a bad book - but it's one that's very hard for me to actually like.

ETA: I just read a biography of another possible role model for girls, from history... Did you know that Georgia O'Keeffe is actually a few years *older* than Betsy and her gang? Feminism has quite an interesting history.... Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O'Keeffe
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message 1: by Darlene (new)

Darlene It's fun to read your reviews on these books. I read them all when I was in fifth or sixth grade and was addicted. I do remember being disappointed in the girls as they grew older. I thought it was because I was a kid and they were becoming grown-ups. I think I may just have to go back and read them again, as a sort of grown-up. ;)


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