Friday, November 6, 2009

original gossip girls

The original Gossip Girls return, as an article in this week's New York magazine says of Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy books. Born in 1892, Lovelace wrote 10 novels following turn-of-the-century best friends, Betsy Ray and Tacy Kelly from age 5 to adulthood. "Think Serena and Blair of Gossip Girl with lower hemlines and smaller budgets."

HarperCollins is reissuing three of the books with forwards written by author Meg Cabot, columnist Anna Quindlen, and crime writer Laura Lippman. Meg Cabot (think Princess Diaries), said in the NY Mag article, "In an age when teenagers openly discuss blow jobs, she found Betsy's concerns about, say, holding hands with boys oddly empowering. Plenty of girls today are freaked out about sex...these books allow them to slip back into a world where it wasn't expected."

I admit, I've yet to read these, I was more into Sweet Valley Twins when I was in junior high and high school, but I especially like any books about young women that are "female empowerment books", as Anne Quindlen says.

Maybe it's a testament to getting older, but I find taking a step back to when things seemed simpler...refreshing. If you ask me, there are too many examples, be it with t.v. shows or current books, in which teens are having sex and drinking. Yes I watch the new 90210 sometimes, and even The Vampire Diaries, which I blogged about recently, but although I find them at times to be entertaining, it bothers me that they show kids hanging out at bars and drinking like they're adults - where is the innocence! When I lived in New York City a couple of years ago, I went to dinner with some friends one night on the Upper East Side, where very obviously underage kids (15, 16) were being served liquor. The waiters were happily bringing pitcher after pitcher of Sangria over to their table, and when my friends and I confronted our waiter about it, he simply turned around and walked away - we didn't get such great service after that...

So yeah, what you see in Gossip Girl obviously really does exist.

As Quindlen points out, "...the mores of the two girls (in Lovelace's books) may be antediluvian, but their goals are modern." The article goes on to say that the Betsy-Tacy books are currently quite popular, but I'm curious to know if the readers are older, nostalgic women who were fans when they were kids, or if actual teens-of-today are reading them? I predict that my two teenage nieces are about to get a package from Amazon...

(Pick up the Nov. 9th, 2009 issue of New York Magazine to read more. "Original Gossip Girls- The Return of Maud Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy Books", written by Alexandra Lange).

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