Rebecca Grace's Reviews > Ramona Quimby, Age 8

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beveryly Cleary
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's review
Jan 03, 12

bookshelves: children-s-books
Read from November 20, 2011 to January 03, 2012

I'm (re)reading this with my 8-year-old son right after reading Ramona the Pest with him. There's a totally different feel to this book, since Ramona the Pest was published in 1968 and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 was published in 1981. Each book reflects the era in which it was written: In Ramona the Pest, fathers are barely mentioned and all of the mothers are full-time homemakers. The children all walk to school every day, and Ramona's mother leaves her alone one morning to walk to school by herself, as a kindergartener, responsible for leaving the house at the correct time. Can you imagine anyone doing this today?!! Yet in Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Ramona is supposedly only a few years older, but now Ramona's parents are both working and her father is going back to school, Howie's parents are also both working outside the home, the kids ride a school bus to school, etc. It's as though Ramona was sucked through some kind of worm-hole right before feminism took off and got spit out on the other end.

Beverly Cleary's children's books are classics for a reason. My son identified with Ramona's joys and frustrations and loved both books; he didn't notice or mind the differences in the adult characters. To me, it was as jarring as it would have been for the first Harry Potter book to take place in modern England, and the second Harry Potter book to suddenly, inexplicably, be set in Medieval France. However, reading these two books sequentially like this really gives you a sense of how drastically American family life changed in just 13 years.

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