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Betsy in Spite of Herself (Betsy-Tacy) Paperback – April 2, 1980
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Top Customer Reviews
Such is the case with Betsy (or shall I say, Betsye) Ray. After a visit to Milwaukee to see her stylish friend Tib, Betsy(e) swears off her girl-next-door reputation and resolves to be more Dramatic and Mysterious. This works for her to an extent; she manages to snag Phil Brandish, the most eligible bachelor in the eleventh grade. But she gets to wondering whether she and Phil have as much in common as they think. And what does Joe Willard, her fellow aspiring writer and friendly competitor in the annual essay contest, think about all this?
The plot of a book like "Betsy in Spite of Herself" seems almost to be a rite of passage in a teenager's life. Unfair as it may be, given that this book precedes many others I've read of this sort, I found myself rolling my eyes a few times. (I winced the first time I saw that detestable "e" tacked onto Betsy's signature. And every time after that, too.) It doesn't help that Betsy's reinvention doesn't occur until halfway through. We're taken from a fun but disjointed first half to a rather long detour in Milwaukee to a fairly cliché high school situation. After the great pacing of "Heaven to Betsy", I was disappointed.
But I gave this book a good rating anyway. The biggest reason is that I just adore the characters- Joe Willard, particularly. I don't know what's the matter with Betsy. I mean, a seriously attractive guy that talks about nothing but books? I'd be giggling and asking people to pinch me. But Betsy isn't me. She's her bubbly, cheery, romantic self, and I love her for it. And let's not forget Tony, Tib, Cab, Mr. and Mrs. Ray . . . You wouldn't believe the friends you'll make in these books.
And the best part? You can keep them for four more books after this. And after, if you like.
Although these efforts allow her to ensnare rich, handsome Phil Brandish, Betsy soon discovers that she's pretty bored acting as a trophy girlfriend. By the end of the book, she's back to scribbing in notebooks, acting silly with Tacy, and penning ridiculous songs for the school recitals. Of course, she doesn't ENTIRELY abandon her new-found womanly wiles...after all, there's that cute Joe Willard to think about...
This book includes a thrilling description of Betsy's Christmas holidays with the Tib's family in Milwaukee. As beautiful as this city is, though, it's still no match for Deep Valley. Fortunately, Tib is hatching some secret plans to return to her childhood home, much to the delight of Betsy-Tacy readers everywhere.
Of course, you shouldn't read this book without reading the preceeding books in this series. WARNING: once you enter the beautiful world of Betsy-Tacy, you will be hooked for life!!!!
This book shows an important part of adolescence - trying on other behaviors, personality traits, colors, and haircuts. And of course, new friends and boyfriends. It's hard to figure out where your own personal limits are (especially at 14). Sometimes, I think it's hard for kids to even realize they are trying out a bunch of things to see what works, and not just doing stuff because it's "cool". Betsy presents a great example of going too far, and how it's ok to go back to home base.