Friday, August 25, 2017

Patsy Carroll #3 Golden West and #4 Old New England

In Patsy Carroll #3, Patsy Carroll in the Golden West, Mr. Carroll has some kind of case involving a film star.  He won't say what, and the girls are left to speculation.  However, Mr. Carroll takes the girls with him as he goes to the Golden West to take care of this mysterious business.

On page 6, Patsy is described as "Titian-tressed."  This might be the first time that I have seen a character's hair described as "titian" aside from Nancy Drew.

This book is completely boring and incoherent until page 135.  It's totally pointless.  Up to that point, the book consists of one silly conversation after another with inane comments or pointless speculation about the film star.

On page 139, the premise is finally explained, which should have been done no later than page 10.  I began enjoying the book on page 139.  I recommend that readers skip the first 130 to 135 pages of the story and begin reading there.

In Patsy Carroll #4, Patsy Carroll in New England, the Wayfarers travel to New England on a vacation.  And it's not worth my time to try to write anything else.

This book is so boring!  It consists of conversation after conversation about a bunch of nothing.  Ugh.  I probably read around half of the first half of the book and then gave up completely.

The writing style is horribly confusing.  All four books were written in an old-fashioned style that is difficult at times, but this book is worse. I was strongly reminded of Lilian Garis and Harriet Pyne Grove during the parts of this book that I did read.

Here is an example of the Harriet Pyne Grove-esque writing from pages 80 and 81.
But that evening at the hotel no incident occurred to justify Patsy's hope in some actual, interesting coincidence.  No one appeared in the dining room, in whom the Wayfarers might have professed personal interest, and later in the exchange, in the lounge and in the big old-fashioned parlors, the combination of passe toilette and antiquated musical talent, that did things to the poor, helpless piano, all combined to convince the girls that a summer stay in Boston was entirely a period of stern necessity.
Really?  Let me run the other way.

On page 174, we learn that the group will rent a vacation house for $150 for one month.  $150 in 1921 money is approximately $2000 now.  The Carroll family has serious money to spend on vacations.

And it was at about page 174 that I gave up.

Three of the four Patsy Carroll books are way too long with generous use of silly conversations included in order to lengthen the lame plots.  The second book was the only one that did not excessively drag for me.  Even parts of it dragged, but it read quite well.  The second book is the main one I would consider reading again.  I could also see reading the first book again, since it wasn't that bad.  This series should have ended with two books.  If it had, I would have a much higher opinion of the set.

I have one book with dust jacket, and $1.50 is printed on the spine.  The average series book of the time cost no more than $0.50, so $1.50 is terribly expensive in comparison.  Using an inflation calculator, $1.50 is $31.40 in 2017.  Even more expensive children's books, such as the Harry Potter books in hardcover, sell for no more than $20.00 on Amazon.  Even those books can be found for considerably less in the secondhand market.  So $31.40 would be pretty expensive for a modern children's book.

I have this theory that the books were written and published for rich girls.  Setting the cost at $1.50 precluded girls of modest means from purchasing the books.  Patsy and her friends have a supercilious view of many of the other characters, most apparent in the second volume in their treatment of the "darkies."

At the beginning of each book, Patsy behaves in a childish fashion, determined to get her way about whichever vacation she is planning.  She is quite unlikable in those scenes.  Patsy and her friends have converse endlessly about the most inane things, and they behave much like rich girls who have little sense.

At the same time, Patsy is portrayed as quite capable, but she does behave in a very silly fashion during many scenes.  While I do like Patsy and her friends during parts of the books, I cannot stand them at other times.

Even though the series is highly flawed and difficult to read, the early blue books are very nice and worth having for those who like early series books.  They are handsome volumes that are nice to look at and enjoy.

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