I don’t remember exactly when I first read Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. I was eight or nine years old, and I seem to remember reading a Scholastic Book Club edition. It might have come from the neighbor next door, who was two years older and a prolific reader. She gave away books she finished reading, and I was often the happy recipient.
Almost 40 years later, I was at one of St. Louis’s book fairs, looking for old editions of The Hardy Boys, when I spotted an old edition of Understood Betsy. I remembered the story, and into my shopping cart it went. It has sat on a bookshelf, unread, for almost 20 years. And then I picked it up and read it.
It tells the story of Elizabeth Ann, a little girl living with aunts in a Midwestern city. Both of her parents have died, and she’s been reared by dear Aunt Frances for almost all of her nine years. Aunt Frances is a doting character, so doting that she nearly smothers the little girl in love and affection. She tells Elizabeth Ann about her distant relatives, including the dreaded Putney cousins in Vermont.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.
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