Betsy and the Great World & Betsy's Wedding - Maud Hart Lovelace, Vera Neville

We finished the last of the Betsy-Tacy books last night, and I can’t help but think it’s the end of more than just this series. My daughters and I read all ten books together, and, even though there are a couple of random “related novels”, this may be the last one we read together. We loved these books, individually and as a group. We talk like Betsy when we are feeling silly, and we burst into laughter at how we sound. We cried with Betsy, but most of the time, we laughed. In the later books, we sometimes yelled at Betsy, when she was being pig-headed or stubborn or selfish. It is amazing to me that a book written in the 1940s could be relevant in so many ways today. We could laugh at how old-fashioned it was, with the hair-dos, clothes and songs we did not know, and yet, there was always something modern about Betsy. Betsy grew up in the early 1900s, but she went to college, and, even more amazing, she traveled. When she graduated, her parents insisted that if she was going to be a writer, she needed to travel “the Great World”. So Betsy set off alone (with occasional chaperones) to Europe, where she traveled for almost a year. Her trip was cut a bit short by the war, but we were cheering when she finally came home to her beloved Joe.

 

Our trip with Betsy began when she was five, and we finished when she was about twenty-five. We raced to finish this last one, but, really, I did not want it to end. We are looking at the start of Middle School soon in our house, and I know that the time when my 11 year-old will sit and listen to ten books she didn’t choose is probably long past. But I have a pretty good track record for picking winners, so maybe, if I get a slightly shorter series (or even one long book?), there is still a chance. In the meantime, my husband (the Harry Potter reader) is chomping at the bit for his chance, since I have hogged the reading time for a while now. He’s got Watership Down and a few others on the bedside, ready to go. Time for me to check out those summer reading lists.