The Westing Game
March 1, 2017
Betsy and the Great World & Betsy’s Wedding
March 16, 2017

Heaven to Betsy & Betsy in Spite of Herself

Quick Glance



This is the total number of incidents in this 704 pages book.

*As personal standards vary, please see the breakdown to determine what matters to you.

Author: Maud Hart Lovelace
Key Words: Fiction, Classic, Coming of Age, Girls, Romance

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Book Description:

Betsy Ray is loving every minute of freshman year at Deep Valley High - with new and old friends all around her ... not to mention boys! But most intriguing of all is the one she and her best friend, Tacy, dub "the Tall Dark Stranger."


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Sexual Content

Lust - 7 Incidents

A few girls wish they could have Herbert Humphreys as a beau.

Someone says that Julia is interested in “music and boys.”

A girl mentions she’s just practicing with the other boys she’s “courting” until her Tall Dark Stranger comes along. A discussion on how a girl is supposed to act with boys follows.

A boy takes a girl’s arm protectively as he begins to have stronger feels for her then just friendship.

“‘You ought to come see me oftener,’ said Betsy, giving him a radiant smile. Dog that I am, she thought. Pin had veered to Winona. He didn’t belong to Bonnie any longer. He wasn’t Betsy’s rightful prey. But she was too reckless to care.”

A boy’s “tone was caressing and moved his arm slightly as though with a little encouragement he might become sentimental.”

“Harry had taken Julia’s arm possessively, and in his eyes was a look her sister knew well.”

Making Out/Sex - 7 Incidents

Two boys kiss a girl on her cheeks at the same time. Then another boy kisses her. (There is mistletoe hanging at the door).

A boy and girl are dancing and then suddenly he holds her tight and kisses her. She is upset.

“She would never forget Tony kissing her under the mistletoe even though now, to her continued amazement, he was just like anyone else … all the magic gone.”

Mentions mistletoe and kissing.

Boys try to kiss her (holding mistletoe) but Betsy ducks.

A man mentions that it’s leap year and teases Betsy about asking him for a kiss.

Mentions a lady and a Crown Prince having quite an affair.

Miscellaneous - 11 Incidents

This book has many guys and girls going out together, having beaus (sometimes several at once), trying to attract boys, dancing and thinking guys are handsome. (Book takes place in the early 1900s).

“Worrying about how to fill their training bras.”

Mentions corset covers.

Mentions “dancing girls” in a nickelodeon.

Julia (the older sister) “preferred one completely devoted swain, but she always tired of him and went on to another, indifferent to the sufferings of the discarded one.”

A girl puts on her prettiest underwear and “pinned starched ruffles across her chest to give her figure an Anna Held curve.”

A “slinky Paris gown.”

“She had a rounded bust above a very slender waist.”

A grandma is wearing a dress which “buttoned tightly over an imposing bosom.”

A young man and girl are dancing, “she put out her hand: he took it in a large strong grip. Both of them smiled.”

A boy tries to hold a girl’s hand but she says she doesn’t do that.

Illustrations - 5 Incidents

a girl wearing a petticoat

two girls wearing petticoats

two boys kissing a girl

two girls playing at a Ouija Board

a girl wearing a petticoat


Mild Obscenities & Substitutions - 45 Incidents

dickens, phooey, gosh, hallelujah, heck, by gum, pooh, darned, bosh, darn, gosh sake, shucks, oh fudge, durn

Religious Profanities - 35 Incidents

Wish to goodness, goodness, Gee, heavens, golly, for heaven's sake, Hully Gee, for Pete's sake,

Violence - None

Conversation Topics - 13 Incidents

Betsy is a little vain, worrying about how she looks, “Every time she looked into a mirror Betsy hoped to find that her looks had changed.” (This is sprinkled throughout).

This book has many guys and girls going out together, having beaus (sometimes several at once), trying to attract boys, dancing and thinking guys are handsome. (Book takes place in the early 1900s).

The maid’s beau is a bartender.

Mentions how women in Deep Valley didn’t wear rouge (not proper) except for Miss Mix who “used it unreproved.”

“They drank wine … but don’t forget you’re a minister’s daughter.”

Julie and Betsy want to switch churches and go to an Episcopalian one instead of their parents’ Baptist church. The girls eventually ask their parents permission, discuss it and go to the Episcopalian church.

Mentions Halloween a few times and there is a Halloween party in Chapter 15. At the party they would “try in magic ways to peer into the future” such as by counting seeds in an apple, etc.

The father smokes a cigar.

There is a Ouija Board and it is a main object in several chapters.

A boy (a main character) smokes cigarettes and hangs out with bad influences.

A girl isn’t sure whether she should go to the theatre on a Sunday but decides her father would say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do!”

Regarding a beau: “Betsy started reforming Phil. He smoked. He smoked a pipe. He was the only boy in Betsy’s circle who smoked, except behind the barn. It was a wonderful evening when Phil gave his pipe to Betsy.”

Positively discusses “play-acting,” pretending to be someone you’re not.

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