JUST PLAIN BETSY by Helen F. Darlnger


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Our town, from corn fritters to the school concert--and the manuscript could have come from the attic trunk: it can't be the present (too simple and pure), it isn't the past (no period detail, no perspective). In a loose chain of chapters, connected chiefly by Betsy's attempt to save money for a lute, Ellen a rich boarder from the city arrives (""what if she gave herself airs""), Betsy is cheated out of fourteen cents at the local fair, handles various emergencies (an unruly busful of younger children, a boy caught in a trap, a sudden fire in school) with aplomb, and caps her character reference by foregoing an expensive concert and donating three dollars to her brother's prom fund. The trouble with this is not only the naivete (Betsy is thirteen), but the paucity of plotting-in-depth: when Ellen departs without regrets after having become a complete member of the family, the author slides over her defection and Betsy's disappointment. Too little, too late.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1967
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World