Friday, September 25, 2009

10 Reasons to Read Betsy-Tacy

The Betsy-Tacy books were written by Maud Hart Lovelace and were based upon her childhood and young adulthood in the early 20th century. There are four books about covering her years from 5 to 12 and these are suitable for all ages. The next six books cover her high school years, travel, and marriage and are suitable for 14+. (The reason? Well, Betsy can be a little silly about boys…but really, you’ll just appreciate them more if you’re in high school yourself or have been in it.) There are also 3 Deep Valley books about other people that Betsy knows. They are delightful books and worth reading again and again…and here are 10 reasons why.

1. The characters are hopelessly flawed but always learn from their mistakes and become better people. Which is so nice, yes? :-)

2. Betsy and Tib are a little boy-crazy but Tacy isn’t.

3. The characters have loving relationships with their families (and their fathers!) but it’s not sickly sweet or obsessive.

4. College and education are viewed as good and beneficial things. Most of the girls go to college and then get married.

5. Betsy learns to keep house after she’s married and makes it a priority. But, she doesn’t give up her writing to do so. They’re some of the few books I’ve read with a healthy balance between homemaking and having dreams and pursuits as a married woman.

6. Betsy’s life doesn’t end with her marriage: the wedding is in the beginning of the last book.

7. The books make a statement against sororities and fraternities which shows some greatness of mind on Mrs. Lovelace’s part, I think.

8. The characters eat so well! Warning: These books will make you hungry!

9. Betsy doesn’t like Elsie Dinsmore (and neither do I)!

10. They show that heartache (even over, (horrors!) boys) is normal and can be a beneficial thing to growing up and maturing.

And the 11th reason to read Betsy-Tacy is….

After a long sojourn in the world of “out of print”… the high school books are being re-released on September 29th! And Carney’s House Party and Emily of Deep Valley will be out next year!

So now instead of having to track them down on Abebooks and paying $25 for one paperback you can find them on for 11.99 (for 2 books actually). Dreeaming.... :-)

And if you want to know more about Betsy-Tacy follow these links:


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mere Decorativanity

In homeschooling circles these days, there seems to be an inordinate amount of costume making going on. One glance at a few young ladies blogs (who shall remain nameless, you can make your own lists) and you will read of making a new costume either for fun or for an event. Now, don't get me wrong, I like costumes and sewing; one of the few websites I visit regularly is The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes. I have made two or three reproductions—all of them to be used daily or for a special event. So, I know how fun costuming can be. However, all things can cross the line. Many times as I read these young ladies' blogs, that's all there is: costume making. (Oh, and a strange obsession with food too…but I digress.) And make-up…that's another puzzler. It just seems weird to me that people that laud the Victorian age would wear make-up…something that was taboo back then. Take the Botkin girls, for example. I've often wondered how long they spend every day on those hairstyles and their perfect make-up. Maybe you've never noticed, but I can tell you that their hairstyles look easy but are not simple at all. It can take hours to make your hair look so perfectly lovely with every strand in place or a little tousled in a perfect way—they must spend lots of time on it. Also, they obviously wear layers of make-up. They look like the sort of girls you could tease by saying, "We're out of foundation and eye shadow" and could really freak out about it. :-) I have not been able to find a picture of the Botkin girls in a non-made up state. Do you think they ever get really dirty or exerted? I mean, like have they ever gone kayaking, hiking, trail riding, and swimming all in one day? (I have, in that order; it was exhausting, messy, and totally fun. :-)) There’s nothing wrong with make-up (I wear it myself sometimes :-)) or styled hair but I really don’t think it should be so important to us. Also, I am growing tired of hearing about dressing feminine because ladies should be feminine. They should be yes, but I am sooo sick of hearing about it! There's nothing wrong with being a girly girl and there's nothing wrong with being a tomboy—I'm an even mix—but, there is something wrong with focusing so much on outward appearances. It doesn't seem that many young ladies are actually focusing on running a household, it seems to me that they are simply studying the art of looking perfect all the time. It makes you wonder…are they being trained to be just delicate ornaments hanging on their husband's arm? (Many people would say yes, and I agree but I like to ask rhetorical questions.) Why is being decorative so important to these young ladies? Why are some of them so wimpy? (You read things like: "I am terrified of bugs" "I hate math" "I don’t like the outdoors"… it would be funny if it was only occasional but it's to the point of being unnatural now.) It always reminds me of this quote, "If you feel your value lies in being merely decorative, I fear that someday you might find yourself believing that's all you really are. Time erodes all such beauty, but what it cannot diminish is the wonderful workings of your mind. Your humor, your kindness, and your moral courage; these are the things I cherish so in you." ― Marmee, Little Women, 1994. They, meaning the Botkin girls and other patriarchy influenced girls, quote the verse, "Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30. But they don't mean it. There's nothing wrong with being beautiful and trying to look your best but if that's all you talk about and present to others; it really is all that you care about and all that anyone will take away from knowing of you.