Janet Lynch's Reviews > Understood Betsy

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1939773
's review

really liked it
bookshelves: kids-lit

Pollyanna and Understood Betsy are selections in my ongoing self study of the history of children's literature. I'm going to review them together because they are similar. Pollyanna was published in 1913 and Understood Betsy in 1916. Both are sweet, maudlin stories about a young orphan girl sent to be raised by distant relatives. Both Pollyanna and Betsy win over their caregivers and each help a neglected, abused orphan boy find a rich man to adopt him.

Understood Betsy has a quirky omniscient viewpoint, as if the author is telling jokes to herself that children won't understand. The novel is filled with fat, rosy cheeks and buckets of tears. Betsy has grand adventures through which she learns self-reliance.

Pollyanna plays "a game" in which she looks on the bright side of everything. This is fun at first, but too many examples of this makes it tedious. The author seems to invent characters just so Pollyanna can tell them to look for silver linings. Key final scenes are underdeveloped or missing; the final scene is especially cheesy with just a short letter from Pollyanna herself.

I'm wondering if 21st century girls would enjoy these books. I'm thinking yes.
flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Understood Betsy.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

March 4, 2020 – Started Reading
March 15, 2020 – Finished Reading
March 25, 2020 – Shelved
March 25, 2020 – Shelved as: kids-lit

No comments have been added yet.