Sunday, May 30, 2010

Billie Bradley and the School Mystery

Goodness! Was it in October that I last read a Billie Bradley book? I took a detour into the Twilight Saga, Percy Jackson, and the Secrets of Nicholas Flamel books, so that is why it took me so long to pick up the next Billie Bradley book. Not only that, but I was thoroughly bored with the last Billie Bradley book that I read.

I just read Billie Bradley and the School Mystery and completed it in just over 24 hours. I liked it a lot and enjoyed it much more than the previous title. In this book, Billie befriends a new girl from Oklahoma, Edina Tooker, whose rough and tumble ways hardly endear her to the sophisticated girls at Three Towers Hall. The girls openly laugh at Edina's clothes. Billie vows to make over Edina, with or without her friends' help. Since Billie's friends proclaim their reluctance, it appears that Billie will perform her task without their help.

As is typical of Syndicate books that feature characters from the Wild West, Edina speaks with an exaggerated dialect. I noticed an inconsistency in it that I have also noticed in other Syndicate books.

On page 19, Edina yells, "Hold fast! Never give up the ship. I'll git up to that there shelf if it takes a leg!" On page 21, just moments later, Edina states, "I can't get you down there all by myself." First, Edina says git and then she says get. Consistency, people! A character speaking in an authentic dialect does not randomly switch between two pronunciations of the same word!

On a side note, we don't all speak like that in Oklahoma. I have no doubt that I have a strong accent, but I say get. Generally speaking, those of us who live in the greater Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas are less likely to say git, warsh, and squarsh than people who live in the rest of the state. The accents tend to be stronger in the more rural areas.

To go back to the book, this one is set entirely at Three Towers Hall. The storyline centers around Edina's makeover, mean girls, and suspicion of Edina for theft. Billie's friends turn against Billie for a time, and I felt like I was reading of the conflict between Nancy, Bess, and George from the Nancy Drew book The Sign of the Twisted Candles.

The antics of Billie and her friends constantly remind me of the Beverly Gray series. The mean schoolgirl theme reminds me of the Dana Girls' conflict with Lettie Briggs and Ina Mason. Ina Mason is called Lettie's toady in the Dana Girls series just as Eliza Dilks is called Amanda Peabody's toady in the Billie Bradley series.

I felt like I was revisiting several familiar series as I read this book, and that is a good thing. The Stratemeyer Syndicate books that preceded the Nancy Drew and Dana Girls series paved the way for those series and are well worth reading.


melodious b. said...

It's great to see a book-based post from you again!

Jennifer White said...

It has been awhile! What messed me up is getting bored with volume 7, then reading other stuff, then reading nothing at all for the past few months.

The worst thing that can happen when reading a series is getting bored during one volume, and I mean b.o.r.e.d. I could not make myself continue for seven months! The only reason I finished volume 7 was because I took it to work this week and used it to pass my final minutes until I could leave for summer break. I was so bored at work on Friday afternoon that a boring book was actually useful!

beautifulshell said...

speaking of books again, i'm almost done reading the madge morton series, and i really like it. then again, i like most of the altemus series, but this one is short, so it's not much of an investment.