Friday, September 10, 2010

"The Education of Bet" reviewed

Book: The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Release Date: July 12, 2010  

Bet is sixteen, very intelligent, but only knows as much as her limited education will allow. In Victorian England, girls aren't allowed to go to school. 
Will is also 16, and though not related by blood, he and Bet act like brother and sister. In fact, they even look like brother and sister. And though they're both raised under the same roof, by the same kind uncle, Will has one big advantage over Bet: He's a boy, and being a boy means he isn't stuck in the grand house they call home. He gets to go out into the world--to school. 
But that's not what Will wishes. He wants to join the military and learn about real life, not what's written in books. 
So one night, Bet comes up with a plan. She'll go to school as Will. Will can join the military. And though it seems impossible, they actually manage to pull it off. 
But once Bet gets to the school, she begins to realize the education she's going to get isn't exactly the one she was expecting

It's a book review! Ya! I finally have a review i can post on here after seemingly so long. Anyways.... I love a good gender bender and "The Education of Bet" certainly delivers. The book is set in an undisclosed period of time in the 1800's. My guess is sometime in the very late 870-1890's. I believe this because Bet mentions Dickens whom wrote the majority in the 1850-60's before dying in 1870. Also the fact that Bet's only complaint in dress is a corset. Therefore it's obvious the book is set after the hoop skirt trend of the 1860's. Trains haven't made itself to be known yet therefore i don't place it anytime in the late 1890's. But i'm getting off of the point here.  The book centers around Bet and, as the excerpt clearly states, her adventures in an all male school parading as Will.  The book is rather short at 186 pages and thus you really don't get info into her daily life or happenings at the Betterman's academy.  The shortness of the whole thing is really my chief complaint. I really enjoyed reading the story and didn't want it to stop. It was like letting someone have a bite of chocolate cake and then whipping the rest out of their hands. I wanted to read more about Bet's adventures as Will and her attempts to keep her feelings about James secret. I also wanted to see more interaction between Bet, Mrs. Hunter, and Mrs. Smither's. The whole issue of women's rights was at the authors door step and the only she did was jump on it once, ring the door bell, and then run away.  As my endless complaining clearly states i thought the book too short (Yep we've seen that tree before in this review).

Final rating: 4 1/2 bunnies. Great writing that left me wanting more. Unfortunately, the author didn't deliver the  pizza or nummies as the buns would say.