Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"I think she just knew her time had come"....BSC # 26: Claudia and the Sad Good-Bye

Memory Reaction

This was one of a handful of books I didn’t own, so I didn’t re-read it a million times. I think I didn’t want to read it over and over. It’s about someone dying, which is not exactly on the same fluffy level as the rest of the BSC books.

I do remember hearing Stacey’s perspective on Mimi’s funeral though. Was there some later Stacey book where we got a flashback to it? Maybe it was in those autobiography ones? Because I am pretty sure it was a different book, not this one.

Revisited Reaction

Claudia’s grandmother Mimi has been sick lately and has been having trouble remembering things or not making sense when she talks. She is admitted to the hospital, but the doctors can’t figure out the problem, and she goes home. Soon after, she faints and is brought back to the hospital. Again, the doctors can’t figure out what is wrong, but she starts to seem better. But before Mimi can go home, she dies in her sleep. It is very sad. (And I am not being sarcastic here, it really is sad). So, they have the funeral, Claud and her family mourn and do the whole stages of guilt thing etc. Eventually, Claudia makes a collage as a tribute to Mimi. Janine, gets the rest of the family to finally go through Mimi’s room and sort of make peace with things. Then Kishi’s find that Mimi had started her own obituary, and had even put down the correct date. Which is sort of freaky.

Meanwhile, one of the BSC clients, the Addisons asks Claudia to teach art to their daughter Corrie. Claud agrees (before Mimi died), and ends up setting up a whole “art class” for a bunch of the kids in the neighborhood. It turns out that the Addisons kind of suck as parents and just sign their kids up for as many classes as they can to give themselves free time. I am not sure how this makes her different than other BSC parents, though. Anyway, Corrie really likes art and she and Claudia bond. At the end Claudia tells Mrs. Addison she isn’t spending enough time with her daughter, and instead of firing her, Mrs. Addison listens to her.


  • Claudia outfit: “Lavender plaid cuffed pants with suspenders over a green shirt with buttons down the front, a matching lavender beret…and fleece-lined high-top sneakers…also I’ve got on earrings shaped like Christmas tree lights that actually blink on and off.” She is actually wearing this on the cover. Even the earrings.

  • Awe, this stuff is so sad. Mimi yells at Mallory and tells her to never take her shopping again, even though Mal has never taken her shopping. Mal is kind of freaked by it.

  • Early in the book Claudia and Mimi are cooking dinner and decide to make it a fancy dinner where they use the good china and eat in candlelight and all. I feel like they do that in several books…do people do it in real life?

  • Claud apparently has been cooking dinner mostly on her own because she is worried Mimi’s hands will shake too much while she is using a knife, or that Mimi won’t remember to wash her hands and/or the food. I want to know where Claud’s parents are when cooking is happening.

  • Just like when Mimi had her stroke, Claudia ends up canceling all her plans to visit Mimi in the hospital while her family still goes to work and school. Granted, she volunteers, but, again, where are her parents?

  • The Arnold twins take Claudia’s art class, and when painting, they both draw the same picture of a house. Aren’t we always hearing about how they really have different personalities? Why draw the same picture?

  • Corrie Addison wants to make a puppet of Nancy Drew because they are her favorite books. It should tell Claudia something if she has the same reading level as a 9-year-old.

  • There is this whole subplot where Mimi starts to give her stuff away – a china bird to Mallory, jewelry to Claudia and Janine, and she even has Claudia take plants into her bedroom. Again, sad.

  • So, we do hear about Stacey going to the funeral, and Claudia tells us what is supposedly Stacey’s version told to Claudia…but I still think I remember reading another version of it.

  • Claud mentions all this stuff about people not going to the funeral because they didn’t know Mimi (Mr. McGill, Watson, etc). But, seriously? You go to funerals for people you didn’t know well because you want to support the family that lost someone. I can sort of excuse Mr. McGill because he was in New York (and he and Mrs. McGill are on the verge of divorcing at this point, even if we don’t know that yet). But Watson? His wife lived across the street from Mimi for years, his daughter visits the Kishi’s house three times a week, he has brought Claudia on family vacations, and he doesn’t go pay his respects?

  • Claudia “doesn’t want to pay favorites” but she thinks Corrie’s art project is better than everyone else in her class. Corrie is also substantially older than everyone else. I mean, a nine-year-old vs. Jamie Newton and Gabbie Perkins? There are other kids in the class between those ages, but Corrie is still the oldest.

  • There are a couple points in the book where Corrie actually mentions having a different baby-sitter because her mom didn’t want to both Claudia with it.

  • Kristy mentions how she is happy Nannie moved in with her family rather than a housekeeper. So, do they actually consider Nannie their housekeeper and make her clean and stuff? What is with the treatment of elderly relatives in these books.

  • Kristy tells Claudia she is using Corrie as a placeholder for Mimi, and doesn’t want Claud to forget about Corrie when she finishes mourning Mimi. That is pretty observant of her. It is too bad she is right…we don’t hear about the Addison’s again for ages.

  • Mary Anne and Dawn talk about how their parents are closer to marriage. Mary Anne says her dad doesn’t date anyone but Sharon, and Dawn says….her mom dates the “Trip Man” less than she used to. So, she is still dating multiple people and he is committed to her? Nice.

  • They also talk about how it is smart of their parents to not rush into a second marriage…you mean like getting divorced when your daughter is in seventh grade and getting remarried when she is in eighth? Granted, Dawn was in eighth grade a million times, but still.

  • Jessi talks about how she might audition for a role when the Stoneybrook Community Center performs Swan Lake. I am pretty sure this happens in the next book, so yea! Continuity.

  • Jessi also says the Community Center is “practically off-off Broadway.”

  • Claud feels guilty because she got annoyed with Mimi when she was sick and talked back to her. But, she and Mimi had a really good conversation the last time we spoke, and for some reason, I thought they fought. But maybe that was when she had the stroke.

  • The whole jinx thing: The BSC is always saying people “hook pinkies” when they say the same thing at the same time. When I was little, we would say, “jinx,” count to ten, and whoever didn’t get there first couldn’t talk until someone said their name.

  • The girls tell a bunch of "funny Mimi" stories, and I kind of wish we had gotten to see more of her.


Jannie aka girl talk read said...

I loved Mimi- this book made me sad.

Sadako said...

Actually I still read a lot of books that I read when I was really young so I can't really fault Claud for that. Plus, Nancy Drew rules!

Molly said...

"* Jessi also says the Community Center is “practically off-off Broadway.”"

...it's a fucking community center, are you kidding me?!

I felt bad for Mallory in this book - once again, she gets stuck in the awkward situations. It seemed like Mimi thought she was someone else, giving her things and yelling at her for doing things she hadn't done, when she really barely knew Mallory.

It seems fairly common for older people to know that their death is coming - it rarely seems to come without them being ready for it, if you get what I mean. My grandfather was never quite the same after my grandmother died, and in the weeks before he died, he kept talking about how lonely he was without her. In hindsight, we should have seen it coming. (He also left me with instructions to look after his grave after he was gone not long before.)

...damn I miss my grandparents.

Anonymous said...

I hooked pinkies, said "jinx," and counted very fast to ten. The person who counted to ten first, supposedly, was obligated to buy the other a Coke.

maria said...

I don't think I read this book. I didn't want to read about Mimi dying.

Corrie Addison comes out again in one of the mystery books. The one with Claudia and the museum break in. In that book, she brings Corrie and the Arnold twins with her to the museum. She mentions how Corrie loved art and blah blah blah. Since I never read this book, I had never heard of Corrie.
Now it all makes sense.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

Sadaka: Well, I am the one with the BSC blog, so I can't really fault Claud for reading Nancy Drew either. But I do read other stuff, too.

SJSiff said...

I remember feeling bad after this book because Louie dying seemed sadder than Mimi...I hope because, at the time, my dog had just died while my grandmothers were still alive. Or I'm a horrible person, I don't know.

Caroline said...

I haven't read this one a lot, either. When I'm in the mood for a BSC book, I don't want one about death. That's probably why I don't read Kristy and the Snobs that much, either.

Jen said...

This book came out about 2 months after my grandfather died and I read it all the time for about a year. I actually ended up having to replace it because I wore the binding/cover out!

I always thought this was one of the most well-written BSC books, albeit the saddest :|

I thought it was strange, though, that girls called the relatives/friends to tell them about Mimi's death. I could understand Janine calling since she's 16, but I found it less believable that Claudia would have. Maybe that's just me, though.

MsJess said...

I loved the funny mimi stories! The one where they were supposed to go out for fancy japense food but get stuck eating pizza which mimi had never hard was so cute.

I think Claudia had a fight with Mimi before her stroke so Claudia felt guilty about causing it somehow.

Anonymous said...

The retelling of Mimi's funeral from Stacey's perspective is in Welcome Back Stacey, in Stacey's new Stoneybrook bedroom at the end of the book. Man, I didn't have to look that up!

Anonymous said...

I lived with my grandmother and we were really close too so at the beginning of BSC I kind of related to Claudia on that point. And when my grandmother died, even if I was twenty by then, I remembered this book and the one where Mimi has her stroke, because I felt so guilty for not being patient enough with my own grandma in the months before she died. So I guess those early books were pretty realistic...

Haids said...

"I thought it was strange, though, that girls called the relatives/friends to tell them about Mimi's death. I could understand Janine calling since she's 16, but I found it less believable that Claudia would have."

When my grandpa died I was 14, and I had to be the one to call the relatives and let them all know, because my parents were both at work when it happened. So I had to tell my mom that her father had passed away as well. It was awful. I think AMM actually did this one right.