Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thanksblogging V: I'm thankful for enthusiasm.

Maud Hart Lovelace has a cult following.

I was only vaguely aware of the intensity of that following until I staffed a discussion, led by author Mitali Perkins, of MHL's Emily of Deep Valley. Being more familiar with MP's work than with MHL's, I knew at least that the discussion would be a thoughtful one, and it was. But I didn't know how happy the thirty or so people in attendance would be. I heard an "I'm so happy!" from an attendee purchasing new editions of the Betsy-Tacy books, and the same phrase from another attendee who was just glad to be in a room with people who wanted to have a conversation about a beloved author's work.

I had no idea what they were talking about, and at the same time, I knew exactly what they were talking about. Replace a few details, and their discussions of Betsy, Tacy, and Tib could be mine about Anne, Diana, and Gilbert. They analyzed their favorite characters, wondered about their motivations, and learned about life from them, and it all sounded very familiar.

Less than an hour earlier, my co-worker and I did some comparing of our favorite children's books as we set up for the event. Anne of Green Gables was one of the first titles she mentioned, and I exclaimed almost automatically, "Okay, we're friends now!" I'm thankful that books eliciting that sort of reaction are pretty common. So common, in fact, that that doesn't make me weird.


  1. "I'm so happy" that our cult is getting such wonderful attention in the blogosphere lately!!! It's a good time to be a Betsy-Tacy fan. Thank you thank you thank you for hosting such a perfectly lovely event today - we had a wonderful time!

  2. As an L.M. Montgomery diehard, I wholeheartedly recommend you give the Betsy books a try. I didn't discover them until last year and they launched right up to Beloved status along with Anne.

  3. Jen, I'm so glad you had such a nice time. Everyone's joy for the subject really made the event what it was!

    Rachel, thanks! I think I'm going to have to check them out!

  4. Shoshana - thank you for hosting such a great event, we DID have a wonderful time. And, I continue to be impressed by Brookline Booksmith, your store rocks. You can hear me, Mitali and Melissa Wiley discuss our love for Maud Hart Lovelace some more tomorrow night at 7pm (and ask us questions) on my blog talk radio show, Book Club Girl on Air:

  5. I had the opposite experience. Betsy was the companion of my childhood and youth. Anne was a friend that I found when I was approaching 30. When I found Anne, I was enchanted by the phrase 'kindred spirits'. I immediately thought - Like Betsy and Tacy! To be sure, Deep Valley and Avonlea are different worlds, but they are kindred spirits too. Inhabited by vibrant youngsters, wise and pithy adults, and caring educators. Both DV and A are worlds where the common pain and joy experienced in youth are played out in a supportive background. The escapades are different, but the themes of family, yearning to be ones best self, and joy are the same.

    In 1995 when I searched the internet for 'Betsy Tacy' I shouted with joy when I found out that I wasn't 'The Only One'. Our self described cult has been a source of joy, comfort and silliness ever since. They have been there for me through job changes, out of state moves, death of DH. We are sisters that chose each other. Or, in Anne's words 'kindred spirits'.

    So for anyone looking for a new, joyous experience, recommend Betsy to Anne lovers. Or vice/versa!

  6. BookClubGirl, I'm so glad!

    CMPete, isn't it great when you realize you're not "The Only One?" Of course I knew there were other Anne fans when I first read the books, but the experience was mostly solitary. When the centennial created Anne-buzz a couple of years ago, it was amazing to see the other fans come out of the woodwork!