Monday, January 7, 2013

The Baby-Sitters Club #26: Claudia and the Sad Good-Bye

Mimi hasn’t been herself lately. She keeps mixing up her words and getting confused a lot more often than she did right after her stroke. One day Claudia goes upstairs while Mimi starts dinner and an hour later, she still hasn’t started because she forgot. On another day, she almost makes Mallory cry after yelling at her about the time they went dress shopping, which never actually happened.

Claudia tries to make her feel better by suggesting they fix a candlelight dinner for the family. While serving the soup, Mimi makes a comment about not feeling good and passes out at the table. They call an ambulance and she spends a few days in the hospital. The doctors cannot figure out what’s wrong with her, but they give her a blood transfusion and she gets to come home.

Mimi seems a little down when she comes back and doesn’t act like herself. Claudia starts getting sick of constantly taking care of her, and when Mimi asks her for something to read right before a BSC meeting, she gets annoyed and snaps at her. Claudia and Mary Anne start an art class for kids after Mrs. Addison calls for art lessons for her daughter Corrie. The classes go pretty well, but Corrie is always the last student to leave and the first to get there, and she never takes home any of her art projects.

While holding a lesson in the basement, Mimi starts walking down the stairs. Claudia helps her down and goes to get her a chair, but she passes out on the floor. She winds up back in the hospital, and once again, the only thing that works is a blood transfusion. Mimi starts talking about what she wants them to do with her things. After she goes home one night, Mimi calls and talks to her about her paintings.

The next morning, Claudia wakes up and hears her parents talking in their room. When she goes to check on them, they tell her that Mimi died the night before. She calls the BSC members and asks them to come over for their meeting even though the other girls want to cancel it. They end up sitting around and sharing Mimi stories all night. Claudia realizes that she can’t handle seeing her painting of Mimi in her room. She moves it under the bed and then tucks it away in the attic.

Everyone, including Logan and Stacey come to the funeral. They share some more Mimi stories, but Claudia still feels uncomfortable. She gets excited about going back to school, but she feels worse when everyone ignores her because they don’t know what to say. She starts spending more time with Corrie, until Kristy warns her about filling the hole Mimi left with someone new.

The next time they have an art class, Mrs. Addison shows up early and says that she needs to drop Corrie and her brother off with a sitter at the ice show so she and her husband can have an afternoon alone. It pisses Claudia off because that’s all they ever do and she finally tells her how Corrie feels. Mrs. Addison is a little embarrassed and ends up going with her kids to the show.

Claudia finds Janine going through Mimi’s stuff and completely explodes. Her parents call a family meeting and she admits that she feels like Mimi gave up on them. Janine shows her something she found in Mimi’s jewelry box, which is an obituary that she wrote on her own that listed the exact date of her death. They decide to donate some of her stuff and turn her room into a guest room. When they start going through her stuff, they find that she actually labeled some of the things for them.

Claudia works on a new collage devoted to Mimi’s memory. After showing it to her friends, she shows her family. They want to hang it over the mantle, but she asks to put it in Mimi’s room. On the last day of the art class, the kids reveal a huge collage that they made for Mimi and she says she’ll hang it in her room. Then, she goes upstairs and gets her painting to hang back in her room.

*This is one of the early mentions of Stacey’s parents fighting. It gets so bad that Mr. McGill decides to stay in NYC and work instead of coming to the funeral.

*It seems pretty realistic that Claudia would want to tell Mary Anne, Stacey, and Kristy herself, but it seems like she would want to tell Mal too, especially after comforting her after Mimi yelled at her.

*Do a lot of people have the funeral at the cemetery? Stacey comes directly to the cemetery where they have the ceremony and then bury her. All of the funerals I’ve been to took place at a funeral home and then we went to the cemetery.

*What is up with Mary Anne’s dad and Dawn’s mom???? In this one, Sharon is still dating Trip, but in just a few books, they get married.

*I love that Claudia points out how bad and huge the collage the kids made is, and yet she decides to hang it in the guest room without asking her parents.

*Janine ends up hanging out with the BSC and coming to meetings because she doesn’t want to be alone, which I find realistic.

*How would Mimi know the exact day that she would die? She had to have wrote it several days before she actually died since she was in the hospital for a few days.

*Claudia tells her friends about Peaches and Russ. It’s funny that between this book and when they move to town, all of her friends somehow met them despite them never visiting.

*I had something similar happen to me. My grandfather died the day before my 21st birthday party, and my mother completely flipped out on me for wanting to go ahead with my party. I didn’t know how to explain that I needed to have my friends around me.

*This is easily the saddest BSC book ever. Despite having read it multiple times and being way beyond the demographic, it made me cry yet again. I wonder if Martin knew how long the series would continue, if she would have kept Mimi around a little longer.

*The nine-year-old fourth grader who owned this book took two days to read it, and then didn’t bother filling out any more of the information in the back.

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