Claudia has always been close to her grandmother, Mimi, so she needs the help of her friends in the Baby-sitters Club to deal with Mimi’s death.
Claudia and the Sad Good-bye by Ann M. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow this was such a surge of childhood memories for me! Pulling it out of storage, I read it in response to the Project for Awesome perk toward Decreasing World Suck, and enjoyed the exclusive podcast by John Green and Rosianna Halse Rojas. I’d recommend it to anyone.
The Baby-Sitters Club. Such a big part of my reading experiences as a child.
I have the entire First Scholastic Printing collection and then some. As a monthly subscription service, I remember receiving a plastic handled book bag each month, the nostalgic logo. All featuring the next 3 books in series, along with a few perks each time I mailed in my payment, usually in cash and some change at I think 12 years of age or so? I remember saving, likely my baby-sitting money for them. Then properly reading them in the little window nook of my bedroom where BSC posters and banners hung alongside with Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey, and kitty cat calendars.
Loved the recap of characters at the beginning, setting the stage again for Kristi’s Big Idea, made for such a flashback, remembering a lot of the details! Even down to Claudia’s Christmas earrings, her sister’s name, all the characters, Mary Anne’s cat, the journal entries and distinguished handwriting, how the meetings were conducted, I could go on.
The story depicts the departure of a loved one as implied by the title, which being #26 in series, I think was less shocking to me when I initially read it as a child. I do recall the series tackling difficult topics. Finding a bit of solace and relief in them as my life was definitely not spared from many sorts of tragedies. Celebrating the fun in youth and also pulling at the deepest of heart strings.
I was no stranger to already experiencing many of the complex emotions through circumstances not much different than what was portrayed in many of the books, so the deeper connection reading it a second time around was double the reflection for me.
And I realize after reading and then listening to the podcast, how one, a book like this would be both intense, yet fitting and applicable for someone as myself, a child, in a relatable form, yet second, in much the same way not a shared experience amongst my peers which is strange to think about how others lives have been spared and absorbed in fictional form and how John and Rosianna view them in particular in comparison. I loved hearing their perspective on this book and series.
The connection of those who enjoyed reading this series as a child is strong. The nostalgia runs deep.
Recognizing how careful, yet unrestrained in the telling of a complicated story of bereavement in this book, along with general family values, responsibilities, traditions, life stage, change, personal growth, childhood to adulthood, mental and emotional maturity, and even fun, pop culture references and daily preteen to teen activities.
Life and life’s vulnerabilities. Joys and disappointments.
Definitely the short, staccato styled writing to match with the thought process of straightforward thinking in a childlike manner appropriate for the audience directed in series.
Tone and Voice
I find the tone incredibly interesting. This mix of heavy topic, coupled into the perspective of I think what is considered now middle grade to young adult, though to me I always thought of moderate reading of chapter books being middle grade of more like 4th-5th, just summer entering 6th, and young adult early 20s, with some type of gap that this series would have fit into at the time they were published, so I don’t know where that would stand today as young adult themes I see in modern times seem less adult-like and more life stage of teen never really wanting to grow up. But the straight forward, crisp, and direct descriptions of feelings and circumstances make for a very resonating tone and distinguished voice that I think is unique to any books I’ve read up until now actually, whether in character distinction or sub genre, which I find fascinating.
The free spirited creative nature of Claudia’s character and response to circumstances was very beautiful and attractive to read about. A perfect theme and character to match as an expression of how one might grieve and find creative process as a display of emotion and fond memories in remembrance of a loved one.
Character display explores the complex emotions, ones a child might react with as well as reconciliation met with intense resulting trauma and dramatic events, in addition to a subplot that averts a potentially destructive bi-product of unsettled intrapersonal and interpersonal resolve.
Even though needing to be packaged up for singular book completeness, for what may also be open to revisiting in subsequent series in much the same was quite satisfying to me.
I will definitely have to reread the entire series someday.
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Here is my coaster collection from Life’s Library Book Club and the fundraising event: