Thursday, November 9, 2017

Dorothy Dale: A Girl of To-Day and the Tom Stetson Series

This post consists of some brief thoughts on four books that I read this summer.

I read the first Dorothy Dale book, Dorothy Dale:  A Girl of To-Day.  The book was published in 1908 and was written by Lilian Garis under the pseudonym of Margaret Penrose.

Dorothy cries three times and passes out three times.  She goes into hysterics over practically nothing.  This story qualifies as one of the "namby-pamby" old girls' series books.

Language changes over the span of 100 years.  On page 163, Dorothy and Tavia leave on a trip.  The girls feel homesick and miss their friends and family.  Tavia remarks that "it's creepy to leave them all."  "Creepy" doesn't seem right to me in this context, at least not by how most people use it now.  I had to look up the meaning of the word to figure out how I should interpret the passage.  In this context, Tavia means that she feels uneasy about leaving her friends and family.  That makes sense.

The text contains much unnecessary use of quotation marks, a practice that is representative of several authors of old series books.  It's extremely obnoxious and takes me out of the story.  I hate it.

I found this story rather uninteresting.  I own the complete set of Dorothy Dale books.  I might read them someday, but the series is not a priority.

I read the three Tom Stetson books.  The series was published by Whitman and was written by John Henry Cutler.

1.  Tom Stetson and the Giant Jungle Ants, 1948
2.  Tom Stetson on the Trail of the Lost Tribe, 1948
3.  Tom Stetson and the Blue Devil, 1951

The books are set in the jungles of South America near the Amazon river.  Tom, his uncle, and a native boy, Manolo, are the primary characters.

The first book is a little slow at times and has too much detail.  The ending is a cliffhanger, since Manolo has been abducted by a native tribe.

The second book is paced much better.  I enjoyed it a lot more, but I kept confusing the two tribes.  Interestingly, in the third book, the author confuses the two tribes, mentioning one when he means the other.

On page 35 in the third book, the text states that they do not know which tribe was Manolo's.  How strange.  That was figured out in the first book.  Apparently, the author forgot.

I enjoyed most of the descriptive information from early in the third book, but by page 120, it becomes too much.  Finally, the plot gets started, and the book is pretty interesting.  The story ends rather abruptly, and this is the end of the series.

Whitman books can be rather uneven in quality, and I have always been wary of them ever since I read the female movie star authorized editions of the 1940s.  The Trixie Belden series is the shining star of Whitman since it is an outstanding series.  Whitman also published some other books that are rather good, like Brains Benton.  Many other Whitman books are quite mediocre.

The Tom Stetson series is slightly above average as far as Whitman books go.  They are much better than the Whitman authorized editions but are nowhere near as good as Trixie Belden.

For detailed Tom Stetson reviews, please visit this blog.

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