Monday, September 20, 2010

Betsy and the Great World

I own the combination books for the last six Betsy-Tacy novels. The very last book has Betsy and the Great World and Betsy's Wedding. The last books of the series and the two I had put off as long as I could stand were staring me down. Read me, they seemed to say, come on you know you want to.

I began to read Betsy and the Great World and after only two chapters I put it away. I didn't want to get too far into the book because I knew, as soon as I did, the pages would fly by and quickly I would be done. But the temptation didn't go away and I grabbed hold of the book and dove back into Betsy's adventures.

While Heaven to Betsy to Betsy and Joe covered Betsy's high school years this book breaks out into the adult world of Betsy. Dropping out of college Betsy departs to Europe for a grande tour of many countries. Of course, Betsy dives into an assortment of affairs. Missing her family and wishing she had never gone to Europe on some days but quickly dashing it away to enjoy the experience. Flirtations with different men or utter giving out utter refusals and of course making good friends along the way. The descriptions of the different countries she went to was interesting and inspiring. As a writer, I felt that urge to travel and experience other places for inspiration. I have always had this dream of taking off for a solitary vacation and staying at a Victorian bed and breakfast by a lake or a beach where I could write. Betsy is a little bit further along in this by escaping to Europe. (which I would love to do as well!)

But what was overwhelming in this book was the end of it. Betsy is staying in England when the start of World War I breaks out. The fear written from page to page, the apprehension and the anxiety. Waiting to hear if England would join into the fight and the scrambling of American tourists to the English isle was frightening to picture and read. Knowing that Maud Hart Lovelace based the Betsy books on her own experiences made it all the more disheartening to read. When I was at this point of the book it was just a few days after the 9th Anniversary of the September 11th Terrorist Attacks where I experienced my own level of horror on that day nine years before.

The book ended with an overall less then happy note because you know what was coming, you know that WWI is breathing down the necks of so many people, many of which are wonderful characters that are featured in the book and loved by Betsy. But there is the happier moment when Joe and Betsy correspond and their book long fight comes to a hopeful end.

Needless to say, when I was finished with this book I really couldn't fight off the temptation to read the final Betsy-Tacy book entitled Betsy's Wedding.

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