Goodreads: Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
Series: Betsy-Tacy #4
Betsy, Tacy, and Tib are twelve years old and able to go downtown by themselves. In this book they see a horseless carriage, visit the library, and even attend the theatre!
For the first time since starting the Betsy-Tacy series, I found myself really invested in one of the books. I am still disappointed that not all the episodes in the book link up–for instance, Betsy goes downtown once to the library and we never get to visit there again–but the story possesses enough of an overarching plot that I was able to follow it with some interest. I was unsure whether I would try to borrow the next volume of stories from the library, but Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown has convinced me that watching the friends grow up will not prove a waste of time.
The episodes in this book, while gaining in some complexity, remain just as cliche as one would expect from having read the previous three stories. No one, I suspect, really ever doubts the outcome of the main plot. These are happy books and, by the end, all loose ends must be tied, all friendships renewed, all loneliness vanished. Watching it all happen, however, is a rather entertaining. It might be like eating candy–a fleeting experience of something sweet–but it’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon. Sometimes something sweet and light is just what one needs.
In this book we also see more of Betsy’s literary aspirations and I expect that, as she ages, readers will get to share her struggles and triumphs as she pursues her chosen career as author. Her works are still not as good as she thinks at this point, but it is always a pleasure to watch a character you have come to know grow up, gain experience, and find her way. I am actually looking forward to seeing Betsy submit more manuscripts until she finally receives that coveted acceptance letter.
Perhaps I waited too long to read the Betsy-Tacy books. The books clearly grow more complex as the characters age, and I find that it is easier and easier for me to care about what the characters are doing each time they grow a little older. The adventures of five-year-old Betsy playing in a piano box simply held no charm for me. But I expect that watching her go through high school, attempt to make a career, and find love will interest me a lot more.