Sunday, September 28, 2014
Reading Through History: Betsy's Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace (1955)
The early books of the series set me up to expect warmth and comfort from every story about Betsy. Oddly enough, it is this final book, which should wrap things up nicely, that has left me feeling the most uncertain and least satisfied. While I could relate to Betsy's concerns about learning to cook and keep house, I had a hard time buying into the speed with which the wedding itself was planned. I also didn't really believe the ease with which Joe is able to find a job. There is also something very wistful about the ending, where the men are preparing to join the armed forces. Though Lovelace's biography suggests what probably happened to each of the characters, it is still unsettling to end the series without knowing definitively that Joe comes home from war and that Betsy has a child of her own. For me, this is one of the few books for which a neatly tied up ending would have been acceptable, and I was surprised and disappointed not to get one.
It was a pleasure to see Tacy, Tib, and the others as adults, and to see how their friendship matured with age. Especially delightful is the sequence during which Tacy and Betsy try to get Tib married off, for fear that she will be an old maid. It is reminiscent of many of the capers they involved themselves in as children, which is a nice touch. I just wish there had been more of these cozy, carefree storylines and less heavy adult themes. Perhaps I just don't want fictional kids to ever grow up!