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 Post subject: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 01 Jul 2012, 12:20 
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Throughout the series Joey remains a vital character, from young schoolgirl herself, working only at lessons she likes and playing tricks on her friends, to a kind of mentor figure to the Chalet School girls. She is presented as a wife, mother of 11, adoptive aunt to many, an eternal school girl, a well-read author, as well as many other things.

Do people tend to like or loathe Joey? Why? How does Jo change over the course of the series?

As a couple, Joey and Jack are very devoted to each other and love each other. When Joey receives the news that Jack is dead (in Highland Twins, although he doesn't actually die) Joey isolates herself until she finds hope that Jack is alive. What would have happened if he had died? Is this a normal reaction?

Joey is the mother of 11 children and counting, not to mention the adoptees she picks up. EBD portrays her as a very good mother. However, her boys start at boarding school in another country from a young age, whereas the girls start at school right next door. This isn't the first time she's separated from her offspring in a different country, she (reluctantly!) agrees to send Margot to Canada with Madge. What does this say about her parenting style? Would she be considered a good parent in the eyes of today?

Joey is also presented as the eternal schoolgirl, playing slidey mats and other active games with her children, and keeping up with Chalet School hanes. What do you think of this? Is this realistic? As a child, did you like this? Or, would you have liked this?

Joey's books seem to be well-loved by everyone. But, what do you think of Jo's initial struggles with writing as a young adult? And do you agree with Prunella's criticisms of the books - should Joey use less slang? Would her books really be that well-known?

Anything else you want to add?

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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 01 Jul 2012, 13:47 
I love Joey as a girl. I htink she's extremely well-written and believable, with both good and bad points. Like many of Elinor's girl characters, Joey demonstrates her knowledge of girls - how they act and speak, and why they do things in a particular way.

As an adult, Elinor still draws Joey brilliantly - she couldn't be anything other than what she is, and her character is consistant. But, I'm quite afraid of Joey-the-adult. She's too confident and loud. I woudln't be naturally drawn to her as a person in RL - I think she'd be trying to 'advise' me all the time, and I'd really hate having to deal with Big Dogs who don't obey. In They Both Liked Dogs (just got and started, but no spoiler, so read ahead if you want!) the extra bit is by Ruth jolly, wondering how well Bruno and Rufus reflect their trainers, Bruno had Madge and Rufus had Joey of course, and her reasoning is compelling ...

So, thinking of Joey as a human Rufus, I'd really find her hard to be around!


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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 01 Jul 2012, 17:05 
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I don't think that Joey would have coped very well as a young adult if she hadn't married Jack so soon. Even when he's lost at sea is very traumatic for her; though it would be for anyone put in that position - especially when she's grown dependent on him.
I suppose that's not entirely her fault; what with all the mothering she's had as a child due to being delicate, and then also she rebelled against it - Rivals is a good example when she's soon recovering quickly from when she's turned the corner after being ill with pneumonia.
Joey later in the seriel is a little far-fetched, though inspite of her long family&books she would find it lonely lving in such a place - the school is the one place she can find suitable adult company whilst Jack is at work. But what other school would have someone always popping over - let alone living next door?

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Last edited by emma t on 01 Jul 2012, 18:49, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 01 Jul 2012, 17:53 
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Joey as a girl is wonderful, but EBD doesn't draw her so well as an adult - she tries to make her too perfect. I think that if we can find the character she was meant to be, she'd be a lovely person, but I think EBD tries too hard to show this, and it rather has the opposite effect. Nevertheless, I like the adult Joey.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 01 Jul 2012, 18:32 
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Like everyone else, I think young Joey is a lovely character, with a realistic mix of faults and good qualities. As a young wife and mother too she's realistic, sometimes on her dignity and sometimes still a schoolgirl.

I think I'd have found her too much if I'd met her in Switzerland, and the way everyone else defers to her is irritating. The eternal schoolgirl becomes a bit wearing. Most adults are still capable of silliness when with close friends, but most aren't trying to be fourteen again.

Having said that, I wasn't critical of Joey when I read the books. I took her as EBD intended her to be taken.

I think EBD tried too hard to keep her involved. The move to Switzerland would have been a good time to allow her to fade into the background a bit. Freudesheim needn't have been right next door to the school!

One of the problems with having Jo next door to the school and so much involved in school affairs is that she knows every detail of her daughters' lives. They have no space of their own to grow and make mistakes. I wouldn't have liked that when I was in my teens, but I suppose the triplets didn't know any different.

I think Joey's struggles with writing are realistic - it's her instant success that is less so. Although some authors were published at the first attempt when very young - Georgette Heyer was one.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 01 Jul 2012, 18:39 
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I think Joey as a schoolgirl is a very well-written and believable character.

However, as an adult she's just too much. EBD seemed to want her to be everything to everybody, so she was supposed to be very giddy and schoolgirlish but also very wise and maternal, no-one was ever allowed to say a bad word about her, and she was consulted about everything by experienced teachers who could surely have dealt with the issues themselves. I also find her overbearing and tactless: her constant remarks about how everyone should have big families and she had more children than anyone else must have been very upsetting for people who wanted children/more children but were unable to/never got the chance to have them.

She's so much better as a schoolgirl: her relationships with Madge and her friends come across very well, as do her love of some subjects and dislike of others, and her genuine interest in the area. Some of the scenes are just wonderful, like the one in which Madge tells her that Jem's got engaged and she gets the wrong end of the stick, thinks he's got engaged to someone other than Madge and starts going on about what a pig he is :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 01 Jul 2012, 19:45 
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I like Joey as a character. I like that EBD writes her with flaws even though she's the main character, at least in the earlier books. I even like her as an adult, though I admit that she can become a bit much sometimes! As Mrs Redboots says, I think that EMD didn't write her that well as an adult; I get the feeling that by that time she was too invested in the character to feel that she could risk showing her with too many flaws, with the result that she ends up being unrealistic. But I still seeing her as having a good heart and a genuine desire to help people and I reckon she'd be a lot nicer in real life than she appears on the page, just for being a real person. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 02 Jul 2012, 06:01 
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JayB wrote:
I think Joey's struggles with writing are realistic - it's her instant success that is less so. Although some authors were published at the first attempt when very young - Georgette Heyer was one.

I'm currently in the midst of a reread of Sally Watson, whose first book (1954; would have competed favorably with Joey's "historicals") was not only published on the first try, but accepted with no changes -- though there are some bits she finds embarrassing in retrospect.

I enjoy Joey throughout, though I think she does suffer from her role as a fixture holding the series together in the later, more formulaic period. Sale theme, check; naughty middles scene: check; Joey cameo: check. Still, some of the complaints about her older self still strike me as odd, e.g. the simultaneous grousing about her perfection and her faults. Also, I've been lucky enough to know and admire a few women who managed to achieve maturity, including more than adequate parenting/mentoring skills, without losing their joy in "schoolgirl" pursuits or their imaginations. OK, sooner or later it becomes physically difficult to climb a tree or maneuver a slidey mat, but I see no reason that mature should equal staid.

It also seems absurd to me to conclude that Jo is "always bouncing over" to the school. I think the most I've ever counted are five interactions in an entire term. The fact is that, once she leaves school, the genre limits us primarily to the school aspect of her life, despite the hints that she also devotes untold time, energy and thought to her family, writing, friendships and religion. Even most of the holiday books are centered on characters the age of the target audience; we're very fortunate to have Rescue.

In general, I think I'd enjoy Joey's company quite a bit. That doesn't mean we'd never be annoyed with each other. On my side, there'd be the odd snapping over the self-centered teenage moment here, or the foot in mouth there, and likely I'd sometimes feel like poor colourless whatshername in contrast to someone with Jo's charisma. But overall, I imagine she'd be a caring and loyal friend.

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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 02 Jul 2012, 10:35 
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Quote:
Still, some of the complaints about her older self still strike me as odd, e.g. the simultaneous grousing about her perfection and her faults.

For me, the difference is that young Joey's faults are recognised as faults by EBD - her tactlessness and occasional inappropriate remarks or even outright rudeness, for example. EBD shows these as having negative consequences, or has the adults react to them.

Jo still has those faults when she's an adult, but it seems EBD, and hence the other characters, no longer recognises them as such. Adult Jo has faults, but EBD presents her as always right.

There are a couple of occasions when Hilda is irritated with Jo bouncing into the study in the middle of the working day. One of those I think is in Two Sams, and then it emerges that Jo is being hyper because she's worried about Phil. I think that's a very well written scene, but I wish we had more indications in the later books that EBD is aware of Jo's faults.

(I don't know Sally Watson; I wonder if perhaps she wasn't published in the UK? Or at least they didn't have her books in my local library.)


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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 02 Jul 2012, 10:58 
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You've expressed what I feel about the adult Joey quite beautifully Kathy S. I too know mature but playful adults who are usually a joy to be with, but can be a bit much at times.

(And you have introduced me to Sally Watson which I think may be a boon and a blessing. I'd never heard of her but there she is, on Kindle :D )

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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 02 Jul 2012, 11:01 
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I think we see Jo grow from an attractive child, naughty Middle, responsible HG (mainly) through to young woman, writer, wife and mother with a continuing interest in the school which is an important part of her life. It may not be everyone's idea of a well-rounded life, but it's what she wants. When the school reaches the Swiss era though, EBD doesn't really allow Jo to go any further or to grow. At the end of the series I see her as a frozen picture, looking exactly the same (earphones!) holding a baby (Claire) with two small children beside her which is an echo of the cover of Rescue which was 15 years earlier.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 02 Jul 2012, 11:01 
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I find some of the writing about Joey in the later books rather strange: I think EBD had got a bit obsessed with her. There are frequent remarks about how when Joey was at school she was always "butting in". She wasn't. That's not a criticism: there's no reason why she should have got involved in other people's business. However, we keep being told that she did.

Also, there does seem to be this idea that no-one can criticise her in any way, or say anything that could even be interpreted as a criticism of her. When Ailie says that she doesn't want to marry young because she wants to have some young, free 'n' single time first :D, we then have to be told that of course it was OK to marry young in Joey's case because Joey's different. The conversation was about some friends of Janice's (or possibly Judy's) who had boyfriends: there was no need to bring Joey into it at all.

Then there's the piece de resistance - the greengage jam incident in Feud :lol:. After Joey brings in a few jars of jam, we get Nancy declaring to the staffroom that Joey has been a great blessing to the school throughout all the days of its existence, followed by Wanda II declaring to her friends that (based on what she's heard from her mother and aunt) Joey and Mary-Lou are the only people in the entire history of the school who would think of providing a treat for everyone! It's obviously not Joey's fault that people react like that :lol:, but I find it too much.

EBD has other favourite characters too, but they aren't written about in the same way. For example, in New Mistress we see that, although Mary-Lou has many good qualities, there are also things about her which get on people's nerves. We get that with Joey in the early books, but it's missing in the later books.

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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 02 Jul 2012, 11:16 
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Quote:
After Joey brings in a few jars of jam, we get Nancy declaring to the staffroom that Joey has been a great blessing to the school throughout all the days of its existence.

And how would Nancy know? She was at the school in Tyrol for a year or two after Jo had left (and part of that time would have been when Jo was in India, wouldn't it?) then wasn't in close touch with the school again, as far as we know, until the move to Switzerland.

If someone had to say it, it would have been more realistic for it to be Rosalie, or Miss Denny, or someone else who had been with the school from the early days.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 02 Jul 2012, 12:42 
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I like Joey as a child and as an adult; she seems very real and there are things which annoy me about her as a child and different things annoy me when she's an adult. As a child she can be very tactless (but so can I!) but a true friend if she likes you! As an adult in the later books EBD makes Joey annoying in her very, very long list of 'good' traits so she becomes too good to be true. But I suppose that is off-set by the things we see as faults which EBD doesn't!

I tend to see them as 2 different people to be honest; partly because my first books were the Armada 3-in-1 with Jo Returns, New CS and Three. The cover had a picture of Mary-Lou and Joey Maynard. Even reading those three books and some others it took me a long time to realise Joey Maynard and Joey Bettany were the same person... :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 02 Jul 2012, 23:55 
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Like others, I prefer youthful Joey - although much of that could be that EBD's writing seems to deteriorate by the time the school gets to Switzerland.

As a child, I think adult Joey would have been very attractive to me - my own experience included no adult who was famous, encouraged sliding around on the floor, or made one feel comfortable immediately.

As an adult....well, given that she's a major shareholder in the Chalet School, no doubt everyone is "encouraged" to think well of her.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 03 Jul 2012, 15:07 
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I always liked Joey Bettany, but disliked Joey Maynard from the word go. Maybe it was because the transition was missing. Exile is a great book, but so much seems to happen. In one of the holiday books, Oberland I think, she keeps referring to her children as Brats which always makes me think she was a terrible mother.


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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 03 Jul 2012, 15:32 
ChubbyMonkey wrote:
I think I've said before that I don't think Bruno is badly trained at all. Some dogs will always bounce up and try and be friendly to new people, just as some dogs will always shy away; if Bruno gets down and calms down when told, he's surely the very opposite of badly trained? He obeys commands.


But he either doesn't obey his training not to jump all over anyone and everyone, or he's never been taught not to do this ...


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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 03 Jul 2012, 15:44 
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When I was young I only had the first seven books, so all I knew was young Joey. I never liked her. This is mostly because even at that tender age I could see that I was supposed, intended, wanted to like her - that she was EBD's favourite - and I resented that! I don't like feeling manipulated by an author, and I fiercely resisted it.

Also I think I didn't like her because she was very similar to me - quite pushy, intense reader, young writer, good at languages - and either I felt competitive or, in more complex fashion, didn't like myself too much and therefore didn't like those elements of me I could see in her!

As an adult I can view her with much more balance and equanimity and say that I do quite like the young Joey character, but not as much as I like some of her contemporaries - Juliet is probably my favourite, thanks to her interesting complexity, and I also like Simone very much indeed, because I can sympathise with her. So these days I'm pretty indifferent to Joey as a youngster, though I think she's a good character, reasonably well-balanced with qualities and flaws, although still pushed by the author as an "ideal" child, IMO. I don't mind her as a young adult (I've read as far as Tom now), as she's quite fun and entertaining and I'd probably have enjoyed her company in small doses, and I don't really know her in the later books. I feel, though, that EBD never stopped trying to make her everyone's favourite, and I still feel the urge to push against that.

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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 03 Jul 2012, 16:21 
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ChubbyMonkey wrote:
Would you have had her beat it out of Bruno so he was a cowed and scared dog who didn't want to greet people?

No, but I would have had her keep him away from her guests until she knew whether they would like to have a very large dog jumping up and slobbering all over them.

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 Post subject: Re: Joey Bettany/Maynard
PostPosted: 03 Jul 2012, 16:33 
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I have to agree with JayB. As a child I was very nervous of dogs and the sight of a large, albeit friendly, jumping up at me would have terrified me. I am better now, but still prefer to be 'introduced' to dogs first before any jumping takes place. My daughter was traumatised when she was very young, by a dog leaping onto her pushchair and licking her. All the silly owner said was no need to worry, soandso won't hurt her, he's only being friendly. (that statement really, really annoys me :evil: ) for the next 5 or so years she screamed every time a dog came near her, and even though she is 20 Usually flinches when out and dogs are out, not on a lead. Only my brother buying a puppy 8 years ago made her feel happier around dogs in peoples' houses.


Last edited by Jools on 03 Jul 2012, 18:04, edited 1 time in total.

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