Redshirt Knitting's Reviews > Ramona Quimby, Age 8

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
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's review
Jul 22, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction
Read in July, 2011

Wow! I loved the Ramona Quimby books when I was a kid. (Who didn't?) But I'm pretty sure the last time I read this book, I too was 8. Reading it as an adult is a completely different experience.

The book is still hilarious, but it's an entirely different set of jokes that cracked me up. The book is thick with a deadpan humor that's obviously meant to appeal solely to adults. Mad props to Beverly Cleary for writing something that is literally fun for all ages.

On the darker side, I had forgotten how Ramona's interior life is filled with worry, anxiety, and dread. This didn't seem unusual to me when I was eight, because I was, too. I think Ramona is normal in this, and it's only the prejudice of adulthood that makes us believe that children's lives are careless and worry-free. The reality could not be farther from the truth.

I had also forgotten that her working-class family was constantly plagued by financial concerns and the odd disaster. At one point their car's transmission dies, and having it repaired is a major hardship on the family.

In this book, Ramona's father has quit his job as a grocery store clerk in order to go back to school to earn his teaching certificate. To help make ends meet, he works nights shifting grocery inventory around a cold storage facility. Reading the book as an adult, I was just as engaged by the adult dramas taking place at the edges of the stage as I was by Ramona's story.

This is an incredible work, and all the more incredible for seeming to have been effortlessly written. I am green with professional envy, and thrilled to have had such an amazing experience re-visiting a childhood love. (Because let's face it, most of the time when you re-read something you loved as a kid, it turns out to be pretty crappy.)
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Rachel You nailed it! I just re read this myself. I remember my parents having these same financial struggles as well, so I really felt like Ramona was my Allie. Reading about people with money problems sort of soothed me, it made me feel less alone. I loved these books. I want to re read the series. I remember she gets a haircut no wait her sister wanted some haircut but ended up getting something horrible- they went to beauty school! Oh memories.

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