Saturday, 1 October 2016

GUEST BOOK BLOGGER!!!!! Book Talk -- Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Hi everyone! It's Pegasus! And with me today, I have a special book blogging guest: Dragon!!

Hi! I’m Dragon, Pegasus’s friend, and I’m doing a guest book talk today!
Recently, I reorganized my book shelf, and I realized how many books I have that I haven’t read yet. I decided to try and read all of them this year, and Understood Betsy, a book that I’ve probably had for 5 years, is one of the first ones that I’ve finished. Here’s a quick summary. 
At the beginning, Elizabeth Ann lives with her Aunt Frances, Great-Aunt Harriet, and hired help, Grace. The whole household revolves around her. She is extremely sheltered, lest anything upset the sensitive, “impressionable” little thing. Aunt Frances, the aunt who makes herself primarily responsible for the girl, tries to understand her entirely and protect her from anything which may upset her. Elizabeth Anne never has to think for her self- in school, she is always focussed on getting the answer right, and at home, she has her aunts to do everything for her. The little bubble that is her life as she knows it come crashing down when Aunt Harriet gets sick and she is sent away to live with the Putney cousins. She’s grown up hearing about how strange her “queer Putney cousins” are and how they don’t know how to raise children, so she is unsurprisingly terrified to go and live with them. When she first arrives, she is perplexed and terrified by some of their ways of doing things. Over time, though, she comes to accept and appreciate the freedom and responsibility she is given here. She learns to think for her self, and instead of weakly trying to do what her aunts want her to, she makes her own decisions and forges her own path. She starts to care for a younger girl named Molly, and on multiple occasions, her newfound abilities are put to the test, when Betsy must get them both out of difficult situations using her wits.
Elizabeth Anne, or Betsy, as she comes to be known, is an amazing character. Her transformation from shy, timid, and nervous Elizabeth Anne, to strong, independent, and capable Betsy, was realistic and believable. I got really attached to her throughout this journey, and I cheered along with her. The cousins who take care of her, Aunt Abigail, Cousin Ann, and Uncle Henry, were also really great characters. They were excellent role models, and an good balance between being caring and loving, but also giving Betsy responsibilities and not being overprotective (unlike Aunt Frances). The rest of the characters, including Molly, Ralph, and ‘Lias, were also well-developed and believable.
The author, who wrote Understood Betsy in 1916, is credited with bringing the Montessori form of education to America. These values of independence, critical thinking, curiosity, and joy of learning and living are found throughout the book, adding a layer of commentary on modern education and parenting that make this book an interesting read for young and old alike.
I loved this book, but if I had to identify something that wasn’t so great about it, I would probably say the ending. The ending was what I wanted to happen, but it was a bit too “tidy” and unrealistic. 
Although it may not be an action-filled adventure novel, I appreciated this book for the meaningful character development and heartwarming description of life in rural Vermont. Overall, I’d give Understood Betsy 4.8 stars. It’s well written and perfect for what it is, which is a sweet and simple story about a little girl. 

If you’re looking for an uplifting and heartwarming story that also has a layer of thought-provoking commentary on society, you should definitely try Understood Betsy.

Thanks for letting me pop by! Have an amazing day! 



  1. Wow! I loved this book too! Congrats on getting a guest blogger ;)

  2. Thanks! I have to say, our guest blogger was amazing! ;) I haven't read this book yet, but hopefully I'll be able to read it sometime soon. :) Thanks for stopping by!!