Beany Malone, sometimes it just seems as if she isn’t getting the message and keeps making the same mistakes. Well, I know I make mistakes so why should I hold Betsy to a higher standard? Plus, I understand one needs human angst to make a good story.
For me, BWAJ is one of my favorites, partly because it was the last BT book I read. My childhood library, housed in a lovely yellow building in Newton, MA owned copies of every book except Winona’s Pony Cart and BWAJ, even Emily of Deep Valley and Carney's House Party (I knew more about Vassar than my high school friend who went there). I found Winona in a small library in Chappaqua, NY where my grandmother lived (I also found Cousins by Evan Commager in that library, which I loved and recommend to anyone who can find it). But in the days before online card catalogues, there wasn’t much way to investigate interlibrary loan. One day, several years after I had read the rest of the books, my mother and I went back to the branch of the Boston Public Library where I had got my first library card. Unerringly, I found my way to the L books and there was a beautiful hardcover with dust jacket copy of BWAJ just waiting for me. The children’s librarian, whose name was Judy Lieberman, was delighted for me to find a book that meant so much to me, and in later years teased me that I checked it out so much she should just give it to me. I started reading it in the car driving home, and my mother and sister read it the minute I was done (some things never change - when my sister finished the new Sarah Dessen this weekend, she handed it to me without a word).
So perhaps my long wait for this book is one of the reasons I am so fond of it. Moreover, while we will come to aspects of the book that may cause concern, it is also full of the things we love about Deep Valley: the parties, the dating, the characters we love, the clothes we admire, the teachers we dislike, the assignments we meant to get to, the fudge, but best of all the way the Rays rally around each other in times of crisis.
[From time to time avid Betsy-Tacy fans conduct a group read of the beloved books by Maud Hart Lovelace - let me know if you would like to join us online.]
The BWAJ images are copyrighted to HarperCollins.