Friday, July 23, 2010

Ramona, Beverly and Me

As an adult, pre-motherhood, if you asked me what books I most enjoyed growing up, I certainly would have named Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, among others. But I don't know if I would have named Beverly Cleary.
Not that I didn't enjoy her books -- and I think I read every single one, including lesser known titles like Ellen Tebbits and the earlier, more dated Henry Huggins.
But it has been reading Cleary's books to the girls that has really brought home the genius in this writer. I can't get through a Ramona book without tears, just because Ramona is so real. The agonies of growing up are all there. And I wonder how Ms. Cleary managed, as an adult, to channel the internal life of a child with so little static.
I think, as a kid, I just took that realness for granted, because how could anyone not know what it was like to be a kid? As an adult, it blows my mind.
So yeah, I'm looking forward to taking my girls to the new Ramona and Beezuz movie, you bet.
But here's something else I'm excited about -- Beverly Cleary is still alive!
Two different friends emailed or posted this article today, sharing some of the 94-year-old author's thoughts on the new movie and her participation in its making.
In the past few years we've lost two of the authors I'd most wanted to meet in my life: John Updike and Kurt Vonnegut. Think I'll get a chance to meet Ms. Cleary?
Hang in there, dear lady.

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