Sunday, February 24, 2008

Final Thoughts on the Betty Gordon Series

I finished reading the Betty Gordon series. The last books in the series are not as good as the earlier books, but this does not mean that the last books are not good. The earlier books are outstanding, and the later books are just good or very good.

Volumes 1 through 11 are the ones that I consider to be outstanding. Most of these books had me hooked immediately and held my interest from beginning to end. There is one instance in which I had trouble getting into one of the first 11 books, and this occurred in Betty Gordon at Ocean Park. I found Sally Cutler's description of her father's circus to be overlong and tedious. The description takes up all of Chapter 3 and should have been cut done to a couple of pages at most. In all fairness, the book is a children's book, and the description would certainly have been of more interest to a child. Otherwise, I have no complaints about the first 11 books.

Volume 12, Betty Gordon and the Hale Twins, interested me greatly until the Hale twins are abandoned and thrust into Betty's care. From this point, the book centers a bit too much on the toddlers, and Betty and Bob are forced to act like parents as they care for the children. Their responsibility rather hinders them in their adventures. This is why series book heroes and heroines normally do not have young children in their care.

I had some trouble getting into volume 13, Betty Gordon at Mystery Farm, because of the strong Kentucky mountain dialect, as stated in a previous post. However, the book greatly redeemed itself by the second half, and Betty had some splendid adventures in some spooky passageways. I will remember Betty Gordon at Mystery Farm as a very good book.

I also greatly enjoyed volume 14, Betty Gordon at No-Trail Island, but I do have a complaint with the plot. The one vital piece of information about the whereabouts of Mrs. Britton's missing papers is completely ignored by Uncle Dick, Betty, and Bob the entire time that they search for the papers. On page 37, Mrs. Britton tells them that her husband exclaimed, "Martha! Papers under—" just as he died. This information is never mentioned again as the young people search for the papers. It never occurs to them to search for the papers under something. They search in a haphazard fashion, and it is quite by accident that the papers are found on page 201, under something. Nancy Drew would have done better; at least she would have remembered Mrs. Britton's comment and followed up on it.

Volume 15, Betty Gordon and the Mystery Girl, is another story that I had a little trouble getting into and caring about the plot. It had a weaker plot than most of the books in the series, but I did overall enjoy the story.

I enjoyed the Betty Gordon series more so than the Ruth Fielding series. My primary problem with the Ruth Fielding series is that Ruth is too independent, so there isn't quite as much jolly interaction between Ruth and her friends as there is between Betty and her friends. Also, Ruth's best friend, Helen Cameron, tends to be a bit annoying at times, kind of like Penny Parker's best friend, Louise Sidell.

In closing, I would highly recommend the Betty Gordon series to other series book enthusiasts. I will add a Betty Gordon section to my series book site soon. I need to finish writing around five of the summaries. I enjoyed each book so much that I was more interested in reading than in writing summaries.

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