Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Depraved Deep Valley

It's all over the place: lovely reissues of the high-school-and-beyond Betsy-Tacy books are coming out soon. People keep discovering Betsy-Tacy for the first time; just this morning I was giggling at a blogger who mentioned averting her eyes from a Wikipedia page for fear of Betsy in Spite of Herself spoilers. (It's hard to believe there was ever a time when I didn't know every word of that book.) This post is, in fact, part of a Betsy-Tacy Reissues Blog Tour. But I'm afraid you all might be getting a little tired of glowing reviews and nostalgia. (I did that before, anyway.) "We need a new angle," I said to Laurie. And she suggested something like this.


1. They drink and smoke. Gossip Girl: every room has a decanter of brandy, every party has a keg, and Chuck Bass loves a good cigar. DVHS: "Pompey has discovered wine!" Bonnie shrieked. ..."What's more, I'm going to smoke a cigarette as soon as we get to the pond."

2. They date duds just because they're handsome. Gossip Girl: okay, this is pretty much the plot of half the episodes. DVHS: "'Oh, I adore that strong, silent type.'...Betsy was rapturous. 'Really? Maybe I like him better than I think I do.'"

3. They cheat at school. Gossip Girl: Chuck pays people to take his tests. DVHS: "Know what I do when I don't have my lesson? I yawn. Clarke always has to yawn back and when she gets started she can't stop. It slows things up a lot."

4. The teachers go after students. Gossip Girl: Dan unwisely gets involved with incredibly annoying young English teacher Rachel. DVHS: "Passing mimeographed instructions for herbariums, [Mr. Gaston] asked Betsy softly, 'Has your sister left for the university?' 'Not yet,' said Betsy. She tried to throw into her tone the implication that Julia couldn't bear to leave Deep Valley because it held Mr. Gaston."

5. They get spoony. Gossip Girl: This one time, Serena kissed Nate at a party. DVHS: "And just as Julia had warned her he might, he tried to act spoony. She put her hand into her coat pocket for warmth, and his hand followed."

6. They crash parties. Gossip Girl: Dan and Serena storm the Kiss On the Lips party. DVHS: "'Say, I hear the juniors are having a dance. Strictly for juniors. Seniors are urged to keep out.'"

7. They procrastinate. Gossip Girl: Dan never gets around to writing his next New Yorker-quality short story because he's too busy flirting with lovelies. DVHS: "Betsy was scornful. 'There's no law about going to bed the night you have to make a herbarium for botany.'"

8. They pull pranks. Gossip Girl: Serena gets the janitor's key and throws an after-hours pool party at school. DVHS: "I spread the tar."

9. They have frenemies. Gossip Girl: Blair has the power to ban girls from eating yogurt on the steps of the Met. DVHS: "...the attraction she held for the opposite sex kept her from being very popular with girls...'Let one of our beaus see much of Irma and...good-by! He's gone, just as though he had been dashed against a rock.'"

10. They gossip. Gossip Girl: "What's the difference between gossip and scandal? So glad you asked. Anyone can commit a minor indiscretion and generate a day's worth of buzz, but in order for gossip to birth a true scandal it requires the right person to be in the wrong place." DVHS: "He's going around with a perfectly awful girl."


Stay tuned for my next post, "Top 10 Ways Anne of Green Gables is like Queer As Folk".


Wendy said...

By the way, here's the schedule of reissues events around the country:

9/30 Aliso Viejo, CA at the Aliso Viejo Library http://egov.ocgov.com/ocgov/OC%20Public%20Libraries/Library%20Locator/Aliso%20Viejo

10/3 Mankato, MN at the Betsy Tacy Houses www.betsy-tacysociety.org

10/3 Mesquite, TX Borders http://www.borders.com/online/store/StoreDetailView_541

10/23 Bainbridge Island, WA at the Library http://www.krl.org/index.php/bainbridge-island this date is still a bit tentative

11/7 Highland Village, TX Barnes and Noble http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/3010339-8

11/8 St. Paul, MN at the Red Balloon Bookshop http://www.redballoonbookshop.com/

4/17/10 Dallas, TX, Dallas Heritage Museum http://www.dallasheritagevillage.org/

Unknown said...

Seriously? I'd pay money to see you compare Anne and Queer. Good times, good times!

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Who said the Betsy-Tacy books have no relevance for today's young readers? This cracked me up.

Go read a Betsy-Tacy book now and draw your own comparisons! :)

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Ha! I just picked up a Betsy-Tacy book for the first time and didn't even know about them being reissued! Excellent timing. Now I must look for all that juicy gossip. And spoony? Really what is that?

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is priceless!

Rowena Zimmermann said...

Oh my. You have found my guilty pleasure--the brain candy that is GG! Go Serenate!
Now I'm drawing all sorts of inappropriate parallels in my mind with BT....

Liz B said...

Best Betsy Tacy post ever.

I bow to your genius.

Joelle said...

I've never read GG, but oh...Betsy! My hero! Very funny. Perhaps I should re-post my piece about what I learned about writing from Betsy on my site. It's on the fan site, but I haven't had it on my website in ages, if ever. I'll go do that right now!

Anonymous said...

Always loved Betsy books, especially since I live in Mankato.

Jeanine Sallos said...

Loved it, Wendy and Laurie!

trish said...

Wendy, first I have to apologize for taking so long to leave a comment. I read your post and ran out of time to comment.

This is SO AWESOME! I see why people love these books so much: because they're timeless! Comparing them to Gossip Girl makes them very relevant to today. It's kind of surprising how much things can change, and how they can still remain the same. :)