Goodbye Ramona, Hello Margaret
This week, the ChickieNob and I finished the final Ramona Quimby book. I got choked up reading the final pages of Ramona’s World, which came out long after I had finished with the Ramona books. It felt a little bit like the cat ears Ramona puts on her Qs, a little extra since the series originally ended for me with Ramona Forever.
That morning, before we read the final two chapters of Ramona, we placed three books on the floor. (We originally had Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsburg in the running too, but we decided to read that with our book club along with the From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler so we could do a author comparison. So… er… if your kid is in my book club… that’s probably what we’re reading this year… surprise!)
It was time to read Judy Blume.
Sure, we had read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing with the Wolvog and Super Fudge. But when I say Judy Blume, I’m talking… Judy Blume. Like read-with-your-mother Judy Blume.
She chose to start with Are You There G-d, It’s Me Margaret. The Wolvog was getting together with a friend, so we swung by the organic market and bought Vietnamese summer rolls and popcorn. I told the cashier that we were on our way to read our first Judy Blume. She leaned over the counter and peered down at the ChickieNob, giving her that “you’re a woman now and will one day need to buy tampons because of it” smile as she invited her into the sorority. “Aaah, starting with Margaret. A good choice, a good choice.”
We then settled ourselves at Starbucks. As the barista made our drinks, I told her that we were right on the cusp of reading Judy Blume. As in, it was going to happen in her store and it was going to happen in the next ten minutes. “Oh my G-d!” she shrieked, adding extra whipped cream to the ChickieNob’s chocolate frappuccino. “Enjoy it, honey. Those books will teach you everything.”
And then we said goodbye to Ramona after those last two chapters, kissed the cover of that book, and slipped it back into my bag. “We’ll visit you,” the ChickieNob promised, her eyes already focused on Margaret.
You know how people talk about losing themselves in a good book? We lost ourselves in that book. Nine chapters later, we emerged, the ChickieNob finally understanding the chant, “I must I must I must increase my bust.” (Plus, she got a whole run down of how bra sizing works as well as my first bra story). We talked about periods and religion and friendships and girl drama and crushes and peer pressure. We ate an entire bag of popcorn. Like one of those bags that is meant to last you a few days? We ate it in one sitting while we read. Or, more accurately, we tried to eat it, except the ChickieNob was so engrossed in the story that she kept missing her mouth. So we had to pause to clean up the floor.
I’ll read Then Again, Maybe I Won’t with the Wolvog one day, and Iggie’s House with both of them. But right now, it’s just me and the girlie, talking about boobs and life.
The ChickieNob is very lucky to be growing up with a lot of Aunties, some actual family and others fictive kin. Some have daughters, but most of them don’t. All are women and are willing to have frank conversations with her, answering any questions that pop up. I like that there is a sorority of women who step in and out of her life, influencing it, cheering her on. I think it goes a long way to mold the woman I want her to become; the sort who will turn around and do the same for the next generation.
So thank you, to all the women who help shape the ChickieNob (including all of you) and to Judy Blume who kicks off a good conversation.
And your favourite Judy Blume book is…?
(And feel free to suggest a non-Judy Blume book you think the ChickieNob must read in order to understand Life… with a capital L.)