Series: Betsy-Tacy #1
No little girls the same age as Betsy Ray live on Hill Street until the day Tacy arrives. Betsy and Tacy soon become fast friends, enjoying picnics on the bench, playing store in their piano box, and calling on the neighbors. The greatest adventure of all, however, comes when a new girl moves into town.
I had a copy of this book as a child and I felt much about it then as I do now–I feel that I ought to like it, but somehow I fail to connect with the story. It seems like a charming little thing, a story set in days gone by featuring the idyllic childhood of a couple of friends, one of whom aspires to be a writer and makes up adventures featuring herself and her comrades. One might almost mistake it, from the summary, for an L. M. Montgomery book. But something vital is missing, the something that makes L. M. Mongtomery’s works feel timeless to me. That something is a little like the heart.
To say so seems almost sacrilegious. I realize that many have grown up with these books and love them dearly. Betsy, Tacy, and Tib are, to some, friends. The volume I borrowed from a library–a compilation of the first four books in the series–indicates as much with its various introductions from authors like Ann M. Martin and Judy Blume. Both attest to how much they loved the Besty-Tacy books and to how the Besty-Tacy books shaped them. But when I read Besty-Tacy, I felt nothing.
I just did not care that Betsy and Tacy played in a piano box or that they took a walk up the hill and sat under an apple tree. I suppose these events should have been significant to me, perhaps reminding me of my own childhood or making me reflect on the innocence of children or on the joy of childhood imagination, or something. But it didn’t. I continued reading the book with the hope that some spark inside me would come alive, but I read in vain.
I think, in part, this is because nothing much happens. One expects that the children would have a fight or get into some sort of scrape, but they seem to live perfect lives. Even when they do something somewhat naughty, no one really seems to care. A little scolding in vaguely referenced and that is all. It seems as if there are no stakes in this story and that these ideal children could not be real.
I feel badly about not loving Betsy-Tacy, almost as if there must be some sort of defect in me for not seeing what so many others have seen–something in this story to love. But there it is. I plan to continue reading the series just in case something happens later that helps me to see the light. Unfortunately, I do not expect much.
*This post is part of the Year of Re-Reading Challenge being hosted by Lianne at Caffeinated Life.