Saturday, July 03, 2010

Fitting In

From Betsy in Spite of Herself by Maud Hart Lovelace. It's near the end of the book when Betsy is looking for that guy, Joe. She checks the library (the most likely place to find him) and he's not there. The librarian is telling Betsy about Joe (a teen-age orphan who needs to support himself) and why he doesn't hang out with the other kids so much.

He has to work for a living. And being barred from the usual things high school students do, the things requiring money and time, he takes refuge in books. He not only reads them, but he dreams about them. He sees himself as the heroes he admires. He is confident that he could behave as Ivanhoe did, or Marco Polo, or D'Artagnan.

He isn't a boy who pities himself. Not at all. He has to work, but he makes that an adventure. He would really like to play football or baseball after school, but he can't. He has to go to [his job]. So he just makes plans about playing them in college. It helps that, when he has a spare hour and can play, he is better than average.

His routine is quite satisfactory to him but only because he puts out of his mind the things he cannot have. And they are the boy and girl pleasures. If he let you draw him into your Crowd, he would be constantly embarrassed. He would be forced to admit that he isn't, perhaps, quite so lucky as he thinks he is. Don't you see, Betsy? Living as he does now, he doesn't mind shabby clothes. But he is a proud boy. He wouldn't like coming to call on you in shabby clothes. When you urge him to come he gets desperate. He just has to be rude. Don't you see?


  1. I lived and breathed these books when I was a kid... another one of her great books is _Emily of Deep Valley_. When my girls were preteens and a bit older, the age when pity parties are most troublesome, I got a copy of that book... and we read it, over and over. They each profited from Emily's story of not getting the life she desired at first.
    Crista-babe was home for a day a few weeks ago and I pointed out a few of her books that were still here... _Emily..._ has gone to stay at Crista's house for now. I guess big girls still need a good book! One without vampires and wizards...

  2. Thanks, Brenda. Sounds like a book we should put on the to-read list for when we're done with Betsy.