I grew up loving the Ramona books. I remember a particular love for Ramona Quimby, Age 8. As the youngest of 3 kids, I absolutely identified with Ramona. She had good intentions, but being good was absolutely no fun. Ramona wanted, more than anything, to be grown up, but growing up was just too hard. Explaining her actions to others was even harder. Ramona rocked the bunny ears on a library trip. She loved squishing her new rain boots in fresh mud. She wanted so badly to pull Susan’s perfect ringlets (Boing!) She embraced all that was loud, messy, fun. And she was adorable. As a kid, I always thought of Beezus as a fussy and bossy know-it-all with no imagination. She couldn’t even come up with her own stories!
Lately, my kids and I (mostly my two boys) have been reading through some of Beverly Cleary’s books. They loved The Mouse and the Motorcycle, as well as the accompanying Saturday Morning Movies from the 80s (You can watch them on Netflix!). I picked up Beezus and Ramona to see if they would like it. As I read the opening chapter, I suddenly saw these two sisters in a new light. Beezus speaks to my boys. When she gets annoyed at having to read another story to Ramona, they nod their heads. When Ramona throws an impromptu party, they know what it’s like to help clean up messes their sister made. They completely understand how hard life can be when you have a baby sister.
Their baby sister is loud and embarrassing. She wants to wear clip-clops (princess shoes) to the store and carry her stuffed kitty with her, dragging it on a handmade leash. And worst of all, no one understands because all of the adults think she is ADORABLE.
I still completely relate to Ramona. I will always be a baby sister. But I love how motherhood sheds some new light on beloved books and characters. Which makes me wonder, are you a Beezus or a Ramona?
Have you re-read a series lately that, because of motherhood or fatherhood or adulthood in general, has changed your perspective on the characters?