Big changes are coming for the Quimby family in book lucky number seven of the “Ramona Quimby” series!
Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ramona had grown tired of spending time after school in the care of her friend Howie Kemp’s grandmother, having to mind Willa Jean and getting in trouble for whatever the younger girl does. Those hours are made worse by the arrival of Howie’s Uncle Hobart, who has returned from his time in the oil fields of Saudi Arabia. He drives Ramona nuts with his constant singing of “Ramona” (Ramona, I hear the mission bells above Ramona, They’re ringing out our song of love). After getting in trouble for another one of Willa Jean’s wrongdoings, Mr. and Mrs. Quimby decide to allow Beezus and Ramona to stay home by themselves, citing that Mrs. Kemp could spend time with the visiting Hobart. This change seems to suit the girls well, with a minor scrape when Ramona calls Beezus “pizzaface,” which upsets the self-conscious Beezus. However, the two reconcile when they arrive home one of the afternoons, and find their elderly cat Picky-Picky has died. The girls handle burying their cat, and their mature act results in the girls being able to stay home by themselves everyday after school.
“Check up” phone calls from Aunt Bea, Mr. Quimby’s job prospects, and the tightening of Mrs. Quimby’s clothing waistbands give the Quimby girls suspicions that there is a baby on the way, which turns out to be truth. Changes are even coming for Aunt Bea, who has been seeing her old high school friend…Uncle Hobart, and wedding planning has begun for them!
I first read Ramona Forever in third grade, around the time that I first read all of the other books in the “Ramona” series. Released in 1984, this was (at the time) the last book in the series, taking place several months after the events of “Ramona Quimby, Age 8.” Several episodes of the “Ramona” TV series from 1988, “Goodbye Hello,” “The Perfect Day,” and “Siblingitis,” take their storylines directly from this book. Fittingly, the last episode of the series, “Siblingitis,” takes its plot directly from the final chapter of this book. Like all of the other books in the series up to this point, I love this story and how the trials and tribulations of “growing up Ramona” are so real world and relatable. That aspect, along with the humor of the plots and wanting to see what Ramona does next, always was the appeal of these stories. No matter when the stories take place (Ramona’s story started almost thirty years before this novel!), the family and every scrape Ramona gets into stay relevant.
Imagine my surprise a few years ago, when I found out there was yet one more book in the series. You’d think Ramona “winning at growing up” would be it, but no, there is one more opportunity for Ramona’s fans to see what happens to her next. It would take fifteen years to find out, but it happened.
I highly recommend this story, and I look forward to the next!
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