Wednesday, August 27, 2008


All right, kids, here's the deal. I'm leaving tomorrow to go on vacation (SQUEE!!!!) so there won't be a review this weekend. Next week will be Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (I found it!) and it will be awesome, so don't forget to check back.

All you USAmericans have a great holiday weekend, and the rest of you have fun working on Monday. See you next week!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Witches, Part 2

So here's the good news: my darling husband has gone to bed, I have ants in my pants, I need a break from working on the book, and I'm updating this blog.
Here’s the bad news: my adorable best friend came over tonight to watch The Hills, and I’ve had too much wine. Therefore I must ask you, dear reader, to ignore spelling mistakes and grammar errors and just enjoy this update.

When we last left our hapless hero Everyboy, he had just witnessed a meeting of all the witches in England. It was grotesque and horrifying, and we were all squirming in our seats. Let’s rejoin him behind his screen in the conference room full of toeless witches. ***shudder***

The Grand High Witch Of All The World (TGHWOATW or TGHW) makes an announcement. She has given a sweet with Formula 86 Delayed Action Mousemaker (f86DAMM) to a young boy in the lobby and, for the first time, I wonder: What happened to the other 87 versions? Did it just add a tail to the affected child, causing him to eventually be a guest star on Nip/Tuck? Did the poor child just squeak forever, instead of being able to actually speak? These questions are never answered. Instead the insignificant fat child is brought into play. Apparently, his name is Bruno Jenkins, and the GHWOATW gave him an infected chocolate bar yesterday. Under the promise of more to come, he’s agreed to meet her this afternoon. Apparently he does not know about Stranger Danger. Bruno comes into the room, asks for his chocolate bars, and turns into a mouse. Yeah, he turns into a mouse in front of a roomful of witches. Urgh. Apparently it’s very painful, too, because there’s a lot of shrieking. Unfortunately for the witches (and for the reader too, but we’ll find this out later) Bruno runs away before they can pull out the mouse traps.
TGHWOATW is really excited after Bruno turns into a mouse, so she makes a speech at her podium before all the witches rise to leave the room. Unfortunately for Everyboy, this is the point where one of the witches in the back row smells… you got it, dog’s droppings. OHSHIT. 26 is to old to be a child, right? If it’s not, I’m never bathing again, which means my darling, sweet-smelling husband probably won’t like me very much. It’s cool, though. I mean, I don’t want to be a mouse. The witches quickly find Everyboy, and despite his efforts to escape, he’s brought up to the podium.
TGHWOATH forces F86DAMM down his throat, and there is a detailed description of how much it hurts to turn into a mouse. Mom, I know you read this blog. Why in the HELL did you let me read this book when I was six? It’s horrifying. As soon as Everyboy turns into a mouse, TGHWOATW calls for a mousetrap. Everyboy is not waiting around for that crap, so he runs away, and another flaw in TGHWOATW’s plan comes to light. Everyboy still thinks like a normal child. The witches aren’t stressed though, so the peace out to the Sunshine Terrace for drinks with the manager.
Everyboy finds Bruno and they scurry upstairs to Grandmama’s room. There’s an unnecessary description of Bruno obsessing over a sandwich and several bananas, but I’m choosing to skip that because I feel that Americans are too obsessed with food and weight issues.
Fortunately for Everyboy, he still has his regular voice, so he is able to call for his Grandmama. She opens the door and lets Everyboy and Bruno into her room, and is distressed for about five seconds about the fact that her grandson is now a mouse. HER GRANDSON IS NOW A MOUSE. Sorry, but I’d be pissed for a little longer than that. Everyboy explains the events of the previous chapters, and Grandmama is perversely excited that TGHWOATW is in their hotel. I’d pack my stuff and book it, but Everyboy and Grandmama come up with a scheme: Everyboy’s room is, conveniently, right above TGHWOATW’s room, and he’s going in. Grandmama lets him down in a roll of knitting, and he scurries through TGHWOATW’s balcony to her room. He can’t find the F86DAMM very quickly but, being a secret genius, he thinks to check between the mattress and boxspring. He finds not only the mouse maker, but a few toads that he’s pretty sure used to be kids. I have to run away and hide in the bathroom for awhile, but when I come back, TGHWOATW returns with the old witches who would not be able to make the formula on their on. Oh heavens, I am so sure this blog sucks right now. Remind me not to drunkblog, k? Anyway, after promises the poor kidfrogs that she’ll throw them from the balcony in a few minutes, TGHWOATW doles out the mousemaker to the old witches and sends them merrily on their way. Everyboy scurries out of the room along with the old lady witches and books it upstairs to Grandmama. He has managed to procure one bottle of F86DAMM.
Whoops, that was two chapters.
Anymousekids, Gradmama decides that it’s time to return Bruno to the bosom of his family. She heads down to the lounge where they were last seen and proceeds to try to explain to them that their son is now a mouse. Understandably, they freak and don’t believe her. Mr. Jenkins is kind of an asshole, and Grandmama and the two kidmice return to her room to plot.
While Bruno eats a lot, Grandmama and Everyboy make a plan to save the world. Grandmama will take her mice down to dinner and Everyboy will spike the witches’ food with F86DAMM. Then, all the witches in England will turn into mice. Word. Grandmama reminds Everyboy that he now has a tail, which he can use to swing around, and they head down to the dining room.
Once they get there Everyboy peaces out and heads to the kitchen, where nasty things happen. First, a waiter brings in a plate of food that someone complained about. The cook slaps another piece of meat onto it, then everyone in the kitchen spits on it. This is disgusting but true, and here is another Marve story of the style that I’m sure y’all constantly crave.

I used to work in this restaurant in my hometown, which was fine dining and a wine bar. It was a very classy establishment, but the owner was a jerk in the highest extreme. He also had, um, sphincter problems. I mean, we’re talking one time he pooped his pants at Lowe’s and tried to flush his underwear down the toilet problems. Seriously, nasty man. Anypoopypants, one day I brought in a steak that a woman complained was underdone. He recooked the thing, then stuck him hand down the back of his pants, and wiped it on the steak. I refused to take it out, so he sent out one of the cooks. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I never, EVER do anything that could possibly piss off anyone who handles my food, and that includes my darling husband and my wonderful mother. It’s just not worth it.

Anydisturbingstory, Everyboy overhears that the witches are all having the soup for their first course, and he darts around the kitchen to pour the F86DAMM into their soup. Sweet. Unfortunately, he gets caught up in his excitement and is caught. The cooks all start freaking out and trying to stomp on him, and he runs up one of the cook’s pants in an attempt to escape. And Richard Gere. He somehow manages to escape into a sack of potatoes, then runs to his Grandmama’s table.
He is just in time to see Bruno’s dad come striding up to give Grandmama hell. She pulls Bruno out of his purse, his dad freaks out, and the main issue is that they have a pet cat, which Bruno’s mother loves. Um, lady? This is your kid. Slightly more important than a cat. Mr. Jenkins threatens to sue Grandmama, who looks at him incredulously.
Then all the witches turn into mice. Yeah, that’s the whole chapter. It’s disturbing. Grandmama and Everyboy peace out and head back to Norway.
When they get back, Everyboy and Grandmama are very happy. She builds all kinds of mouse-runs so that Everyboy can turn on lights, cook food, open the refrigerator, etc. Grandmama is a secret mechanical genius, apparently. Eventually they get into a conversation about how long mice live. Apparently Everyboy doesn’t have long to go, but neither does Grandmama, so he’s cool with that. She kisses his nose a lot.
Anypervert, in the next chapter they discuss whether the other witches in the world will disappear once TGHWOATW is known to be dead. Grandmama has an inkling that they won’t. She says TGHWOATW is like the Queen Bee in a hive. There’s always someone waiting to take her place. Creepy. Everyboy and Grandmama make a plan. They’re going to go to TGHWOATW’s house and turn everybody in it into mice. Once that’s accomplished, they’ll send in cats to kill the mousewitches. Inside the house, they’re sure they’ll find the names and addresses of EVERY WITCH IN THE WORLD. They’ll then spend their time hunting these awful women down and turning them, one by one, into mice. I am so glad I have Grandmama and Everyboy on my side. Talk about pimp. Grandmama smashes a few vases and kisses Everyboymouse a few times, and we have

The End.

Oh heavens. I should not have written this blog tonight. Don’t judge me. LC made me do it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Witches, Part 1

Before we get started, I have discovered through an in-depth toothmark analysis and character profiling that the culprit behind the destruction of Ramona Quimby, Age 8, was Chicken (shown here during a brief moment of peace with themarve). Rest assured, he is being punished as we speak.

Now, on to The Witches. No, this is not a Bev. Cleary book, but it is one of the greatest childrens books of all time, and it's one that is often looked over. I figured we could all use a refresher course on what 'terrifying' really means. I mean, R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike were great and all, but Roald Dahl had me shaking in my shoes when I was a child with an overactive imagination.

So we start out with a prologue that tells us that witches are very real and, for the most part, they look just like ordinary women (not that this is anything against women - R.D. makes sure to point out that ghouls and barghests are always male). A witch's greatest pleasure is in squelching children, and they are very creative in how they do it.

The first chapter opens with our hapless hero, who remains nameless throughout the book. We'll call him everyboy. Everyboy is with his grandmama in Norway due to the fact that his parents have just died in a car accident, which is horrible. He is only seven years old. After a brief period of mourning, Everyboy and Grandmama get into a conversation about witches. Grandmama, who is an enormous woman with a missing thumb and a penchant for smoking cigars knows quite a bit about witches, being a retired witchophile, or witch hunter. She explains to Everyboy that witches like to make people disappear and describes five disappearances that she herself witnessed.
1. Ranghild Hansen: disappears while playing with sister on lawn
2. Solveg Christiansen: comes home from school eating an apple. The next day, is part of a large oil painting in foyer. Occassionally moves around painting, but never when anyone is looking. Disappears after about 50 years.
3. Birgit Svenson: turns into a chicken. Her mother makes delicious omelettes with her eggs, which I somehow think is wrong.
4. Harald: Turns into stone. Um, grandmama? That's not witches, that's Hunter's Syndrome, and it's very real and sad. Make that four kids you know who've been squelched.
5. Leif: On summer holiday with family. Dives into lake, comes up a porpoise. That just blew my mind a little bit.

At this point in the story, Grandmama offers Everyboy a hit on her cigar, which she has been enjoying 'as if it were a delicious asparagus.' Everyboy says he doesn't smoke because he's only seven, and Grandmama tells him that if you smoke cigars you'll never catch a cold. Remind me to use this logic on my husband next time I get caught sneaking cigarrettes. Oh, don't judge me. I only smoke when I drink way too much. Besides, I'm a hipster. I listen to Muse and the Julianna Theory. It comes with the territory.

Next chapter is on how to recognize a witch. This is very important, kids, so pay attention.

1. Witches always wear gloves, even when it's hot. This is because, instead of fingernails, they have claws like a cat. I am jealous of this. It would make opening mail and scratching my back much easier and more fulfilling.
2. Witches are bald. It seems like this would make it easy to spot them, but they are smart enough to wear high-quality wigs, unlike this person. Fortunately for the witch-savvy children of the world, these wigs make their heads itch like beejesus, so it is important to always be on the lookout for women wearing gloves who scratch their heads a lot.
3. Witches have ginormous nose holes, the better to smell you with, my dear. Witches can smell out a child standing on the other side of the street in the middle of the night. This brings us to one important step you can take to avoid getting squelched: Don't Take Baths. The cleaner you are, the easier it is for a witch to smell you. To a witch, children smell like dog poo, and the cleaner they are the stronger the smell. I actually tried to use this argument on my mom, but it did not work.
4. They have creepy eyeballs.
5. They don't have any toes. Gross.
6. Their spit is blue. They use it for ink to write letters. OMGWTFBBQ??!! That just really disgusts me. I hope nobody ever sends me a spit letter.

Grandmama also admits that she once ran into a witch as a child. That's how she lost her thumb, but she doesn' t want to talk about it.

The next day, a solicitor comes and tells Grandmama that they've got to go back to England - Everyboy's parents left in their will that they wanted him to be raised there. If I was Grandmama I would be chapissed because she took in their son, holy hell, now she has to leave her home and move across the ocean? No thank you. But Grandmama is a better person than I am so they head on back to the mother country. Before they leave they have a conversation about the differences in English witches and Norweigan witches, and we learn that there are witches in every country, all of whom are overseen by the Grand High Witch Of All The World, whom no one has ever seen. When Everyboy asks why he should believe in her if no one has ever seen her, Grandmama replies that no one has ever seen the devil, but we know he exists. Um, Grandmama? I beg to differ (link NSFL). One lovely English morning while Everyboy is building a treehouse a woman in a hat and gloves approaches and tries to coax him down a tree by showing him a snake and telling him that he can have it if he wants it. Everyboy, being mildly intelligent, books it up to the top of the tree to get away from the woman. That is his first encounter with a witch, and he survives reasonably unscathed.

Grandmama gets pneumonia, which sucks, and so they go to the southern coast of England for the summer holidays. Everyboy thinks it looks pretty dull when they pull up to the hotel and really? There's a beach right out front. That's all I needed to stay entertained for HOURS when I was a kid. In a great example of forshadowing, Everyboy has two white mice named William and Mary and his dream is to run a world-famous mouse circus. Um, good luck with that Everyboy. Unfortch, he can't work on training his ivy league college - I mean, rodents - because the manager of the hotel has threatened to drown them if they are caught out of the cage and the maid keeps bursting into Everyboy's room at random times, hoping to catch him letting the mice out. Um, that seems wildly inappropriate. Maybe we should call Chris Hanson in on this woman. Anyway, Everyboy needs a place to train his mice, so he finds a nice deserted ballroom that says it is reserved for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Figuring that they've already had their meeting or, as he is a child, will love him, Everyboy heads on in, sits down behind a screen in the back of the room, and proceeds to teach him mice how to walk a tightrope. Awesome. Unfortch, The RSPCC heads in with the manager of the hotel and Everyboy is trapped.

As soon as the RSPCC gets rid of the manager, they chain and bolt the doors, which is the first sign that something may be off. Then Everyboy notices (he's watching through a crack in the screen) that THEY'RE ALL WEARING GLOVES AND HATS!!!!! ooooooooooh and THEY ALL ARE SCRATCHING THEIR HEADS LIKE THEY HAVE LICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMGOMGOMG! HE'S LOCKED IN A ROOM FULL OF WITCHES!!!!!!!!! This part horrified me when I was a kid. I mean, we're talking nightmares, people. As Everyboy is taking all this in (he even faints a little bit) a Russian midget comes up on stage and tells the ladies that they may rrrremooof their hats, wigs, gloves, and shoes. OMG, the illistration for their toesless feet has me nauseous. Everyboy quickly starts counting the days since he's had a bath. Luckily, and disgustingly, he hasn't had one since before he came to the hotel. Um, awesome? Meanwhile, the Russian midget is berating her audience of witches because, while she was having breakfast that morning, she had to watch children playing on the beach. She is quit disappointed, as she had hoped that, since their last meeting, they would have squelched every child in England. One witch murmurs that she doesn't think that's possible, and the Russian midget, who I think we've all guessed by now is the Grand High Witch Of All The World says a few rhyming couplets and then incinerates the poor outspoken witch with her eyes. Oh Dear Sweet Jesus. Remind me not to let my kids read this book until they are, like, 50. Oh, yeah, and the Russian midget takes off her face (yeah, it was a mask) and her face underneath is all rotten and wrinkly and nasty. Ugh.

Anyway, after KILLING A HUMAN BEING WITH HER EYES! the Grand High Witch goes cheerily back to business. She has invented Formula 86 Delayed Action Mouse-Maker, and she wants all the witches to open sweet shops and place a drop of F86DAMM in each sweet. Then they will give the sweets away to children. The F86DAMM has an alarm clock in it which is set to 9 a.m., so at 9 the next morning, while they're in school, all the kids will turn into mice. Then, the teachers will get mousetraps and kill them all. Voila: No more children in England. Um, Grand High Witch Of All The World? I'm seeing a few flaws in the plan.

1. What about diabetic children, or children who don't eat sweets?
2. If all the children turn into mice in front of the childrens' teachers, don't you think the teachers will guess something is going on and not kill them with mousetraps?
3. What if a grown-up eats the sweets? Does he or she turn into a mouse, or is the dosage too small for a full-sized person. Maybe they will just grow a tail?
4. I'm no expert on potion-making, but I would think that an alarm clock would, at the very least, have a crunchy texture and would, therefore, alert whoever ate the sweets to the fact that there was a little something extra in there.

Anyway, unpreturbed by my questions, the GHWOATW (sorry, it's just that all this crap takes too long to type out, and I have work to do) and the lesserwitches do a disturbing little dance-and-chant thing, and the GHWOATW gives the lesserwitches the recipe for mouse-maker. In an uncharcteristic display of kindness, she explains that she's made up a few extra bottles for the witches who are too old to gather some of the more exotic ingredients. These bottles are in her room, and the older lesserwitches are invited to come get them later. Um, can we say plot device? Whatever, I don't care, this book is awesome.

All right, ladies and germs, that's it for part 1. Yeah, that was only half of the book. I told you it was a long one. Check back later in the week for Part 2! See you soon!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Something horrible has happened

Now, before I tell you this, please know that though I am mean as hell, this is not some cruel joke that I’ve invented to upset you, loyal blogreaders, and make you cry and cause you to rend your garments. This is the truth.

One of my dogs, either Chicken or Reagan, has eaten my last Ramona book.

Here’s how it happened.

This morning I left to go for a run, and since I was going for distance and it was hot, I left the dogs at home. This always makes them mad, but they seldom stoop to destruction of property. This time, I guess, it was just too much for them, because when I came home, sweaty and happy, I was greeted with the tattered remains of Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

I am so sorry to have to tell y’all that this book took me months to find in my used bookstore. It may be awhile before I can find another copy. So here's the deal:

I'm going to review The Witches and The Mouse and the Motorcyle over the next few weeks. Hopefully the first half of The Witches will be up by tomorrow (it's a long book) and the second half will be up this weekend.

Please forgive me. I feel that I've failed you. Trust that the culprit will be found and severely punished. That's right folks, I'm going to hire an idiot to make them do the YMCA.

Meet me back here tomorrow, K?

Saturday, August 16, 2008


It's been a long week, so my update will be late. Sorry 'bout that. The good news is, I got to see my darling family, meet my mom's adorable new kitten, and get a lot of work done on my book. By the way, I got my first (and second) rejection letter! Whoohoo! Expect a new update in the next few days. It's the last Ramona book but don't worry, good ol' Bev has left us a lot of great stories, so this blog won't be ending anytime soon.

Try not to hold your breath until the new blog comes out, I promise it'll be soon

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ramona and Her Mother

Lawsie mercy, this book is going to make a lot of people happy. It has soooo many good memories.

I went into this one with my hackles raised because, as we all know by now, I don't like Ramona's mom. She is a Beezus-lover and she's boring, both of which earn her a straight ticket to damnation in my book. It actually wasn't so bad, but Mrs. Quimby still is really lame.

Anyway, down to business. We opend on New Year's Day, which happens to be the day my adorable husband decided to bless this world with his presence 28 years ago. The Quimbys are all a-tizzy because they're having a New Year's brunch to celebrate Mr. Quimby's new job at the market. Ramona is a little stressed because Willa Jean is coming, so she hides all her toys and then decides that, to keep W.J. busy, she'll give her a box of Kleenex as a present. Awesome? Guests start to arrive and W.J. has an awesome new bear named Woger, after the milkman. Ooh, Mrs. Kemp, have you been spending some time in the bushes? Ramona wants to hold the bear, but since she's seven and a half, she thinks she's too old, so she starts looking for excuses to hold the bear without looking like she's holding the bear which seems mildly neurotic. Willa Jean and Ramona have to eat at the kids' table, which is totes a good thing. We used to BEG for a kids' table because when you sit at the grownups' table you have to behave, but my grandmother would never let us have one. Ramona does not see the benefit, though, and she is unhappy. Willa Jean starts bothering people so Ramona gives her her present. W.J. is stoked, but she doesn't want to let Ramona hold Woger so she makes one of the grown-ups hold him, then proceeds to pull out every tissue in the box of tissues and throw it all over the house, which is something Ramona's always wanted to do. Willa Jean proceeds to be a huge brat and ruin the party, and the Kemps proceed to not do jack about it because they are deadbeat parents who let their mean mother take care of their children. When all the guests are leaving - in a hurry, to get away from bratface Willa Jean - someone makes a remark to Mrs. Quimby about Beezus being 'her girl' (translation: lame) and Mrs. Quimby says she could never get along without Beezus. Ramona is jealous.

One day Ramona's mom is sewing and we get some foreshadowing as Beezus AW's that she's going to go wash her hair. You know, because they whole family needs to know that. Mrs. Quimby comments that she's only washed it two days ago and, ew? I wash my hair every day. I live in a city with pollution. I dont want to sleep with pollution-hair on my face every night. Anywhoo, Ramona decides she wants to sew, too, so she pulls out her stuffed elephant who is cleverly named Elly Funt. She decides to make pants. Mrs. Quimby tries to point out that this might be difficult but our girl will not be deterred, so instead of helping Ramona Mrs. Quimby goes back to her sewing and lets her youngest daughter set herself up for heartbreak. Of course the pants don't fit and Ramona gets sad. When she overreacts because of about ten million little worries she has on her mind her mom, once again showing her awesomeness, snaps at her to calm down. Ramona escapes to the bathroom to cry and spots - and economy size tube of toothpaste. SWEET! She's always wanted to squeeze out an entire tube of toothpaste, so she does, and she really goes to town, making toothpaste flowers and squiggles and whatnot. It's probably better than most modern art. (Disclaimer: I actually like and respect Andres Serrano and his work. This one was just a little over the top for me. Oh, and don't be offended. It's educational.) Beezus comes in and tattles, of course, and Ramona has to scoop all the toothpaste into a jar that she'll use until it's all gone. Gross.

In February Ramona has a bad day. Her parents start bitchfacing at her as soon as she coems into the kitchen, her teacher comments on her bad spelling in school, and Willa Jean is a brat at the Kemps' house that afternoon. Ramona and Howie escape to the basement where they build a boat. They use saws and hammers and stuff, which makes me cringe, but neither of them manages to cut off a finger or a toe. Thank God. They want to see if the boat will float so they fill up the laundry tub (?? This book was published in 1984. I was only three then, so I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure people had washing machines in the 80's.) The boat floats, but this is not enough excitement, so Ramona, spying a bottle of bluing (geez, this blog involves alot of things I've never heard of today) and climbs up to get it off a shelf. Unfortunately, she slips and spills bluing all over Howie and herself. Howie has blue hair and a blue face, Ramona has blue clothes and blue feet, and of course Howie's grandma is furious and blames Ramona. You know, because Ramona is seven and perfectly capable of making logical choices at all times without any direction from the adult her parents are paying to babysit her. They get back upstairs and Willa Jean has cut off Woger's leg because she wanted to see if there were any bones. Gah. Ramona's bad day continues when her parents are late to pick her up, the Kemps eat dinner in front of her without offering her any, and she's hungry. When her family finally shows, she thinks her day is definitely going to get better - there's crockpot stew waiting at home and she manages to not tell anyone about her blue feet right away. Sadly, when they get home, no one plugged in the crockpot, there's no food in the fridge, they have to make pancakes, and Mr. and Mrs. Quimby get into a sniping contest about whose grandmother was better. Yeah, really, that's what they fight about. Lame. It escalates to Mrs. Quimby swatting Mr. Quimby on the hiney with a pancake flipper and going to read the paper in the living room while he cooks. Doesn't sound too bad, but the girls are freaked out and Ramona sleeps in Beezus' bed that night. The next morning their parents are back to normal, probably having 'made up' real good the night before, and this makes the girls mad because they spent a sleepless night worrying about whether or not their parents were going to get a divorce. Aw. Ramona informs them that they are no longer allowed to fight, and they promise to try to comply.

That was actually two chapters, and it's one hell of a long paragraph. So long, in fact, that while you were reading it I went to Chipotle and got a vegetarian fajita burrito with extra guacamole. And then I died of ecstasy. And then I came back to life, and now we can continue this blog.

One Saturday morning Mrs. Quimby is cutting Ramona's hair and she's twitching her nose to get hair off of it. Her mom calls her a little rabit, and Ramona's imagination is off and running. She spends most of the rest of the book twitching her nose when she's happy and pretending to be a bunny, which is cute. Beezus bitchfaces about at-home haircuts which leads to what is probably the only time EVAR in one of these novels that I feel sorry for Mrs. Quimby. Beezus goes off on a rant about how she's tired of being sensible all the time and Mrs. Quimby informs bitchface Beezus that she, too is tired of being sensible all the time and that sometimes she wishes she could just sit on a cushion in the sunshine and blow the fluff off dandelions. Were you a hippy, Mrs. Quimby? Anyway, apparently life is hard when you are a working mother of two, struggling to make ends meet with basically no help from your husband. Aw, Mrs. Quimby, I feel your pain on at least one of those things. Anyway, the hair standoff continues for a few days until Beezus finally announces that she's saved up her allowance so that she can get her hair cut at the beauty school. Instead of asking if she's saved up enough money for gas to get there, too, which is what my sister-in-law would do, Mrs. Quimby agrees to drive her. This leads to one of my favorite memories in a Ramona book, and an exchange that made me uncomfortable with giving directions for the rest of my life:

Mrs. Quimby: 'Do I turn left'
Beezus: 'Right'
Mrs. Quimby turns right when Beezus meant 'that's right, you turn left.' Hilarity and carsickness ensue.

They get to the trade school and Beezus goes back to the little shop of horrors while Ramona and her mom wait. One of the students, who I'm guessing is bored, offers to cut Ramona's hair. Ramona gets an awesome pixie cut, which is something I've always wished I could pull off. Beezus, however, gets an awful cut, complete with hairspray and frosting, and is distraught over her old-lady hair and her wasted allowances. Wow. That really does suck, Beezus. Sorry. Fortunately when she gets home and washes her hair she looks normal again, which is lucky. Seriously. I think if Beezus had to be more lame than she is naturally, she would just explode into a big, squishy pile of lameness and never be heard from again.

One lovely evening, Ramona is hopping down the hall, pretending to be a bunny, when her mother notices that her pj's are too small. She gives Ramona a new pair, and by 'new pair' I mean NEW, BABIES, not handed down from Beezus or anything! Ramona is super stoked. The next morning she doesn't want to take them off to get dressed for school. Here is her train of logic that leads to the following decision:

1. When she was in Kindergarden, her class took a field trip to the fire department.
2. She got a plastic fire hat, which she liked a lot.
3. Firemen sleep in their underwear so that they can jump right into their clothes and save lives faster
4. Ramona doesn't sleep in her underwear, she sleeps in her pajamas.

That's right, kids, Ramona WEARS HER PAJAMAS UNDER HER CLOTHES TO GO TO SCHOOL. She pretends she's a fireman to rationalize it. This kid is awesome. I hereby bestow upon Ramona G. Quimby one win button.

For some reason, Ramona is hot in her many layers of clothing. Her teacher sends her to the principles office to get her temperature taken because she looks flushed, and Ramona uses the opportunity to fan herself out a little bit and fantasize about really being sick so she can go home and chillax. No temp, so she gets sent back to class. At recess, her teacher keeps her back and asks if there's anything Ramona would like to tell her. Ramona is embarrassed, but her teacher eventually coaxes the truth out of her and, to her credit, does not laugh and promises to keep the secret. She gives Ramona a paper bag and tells her to go take her pj's off and hide them in the bag. This creates some stress for Ramona because she is not wearing underwear. Um, I don't understand this. I always wear underwear, even with my pajamas. ESPECIALLY with my pajamas. You never know when there's going to be a fire, an earthquake, a car accident, or a sick baby that needs to go to the hospital. Underwear are very important in my life. Now, I'd take all my husbands' and burn them if I could, but that's another story and it's entirely inappropriate for a YA blog.

Ramona gets home and doesn't realize that she left her bag of pajamas at school until time to go to bed. She quickly gets into some old pj's and pulls the covers up tight around her neck so that no one will notice. The next morning she dresses in her closet and starts thinking that she might be able to get away with her deception for the weekend. After breakfast her father, in a fit of actually doing something for once, decides the house needs cleaning and assigns everyone chores. Beezus is vaccuuming and she chases Ramona behind the couch, where Ramona remains because she doesn't want to clean her room. Word. I don't want to clean my room either. The phone rings and Ramona overhears her mother having a conversation with her teacher. Furious that her ally has spilled her secret, Ramona has a tantrum, spitting out the whole story. It turns out that her teacher called about something else but, with her family laughing at her, Ramona feels no other recourse than to run away. She goes to her room to pack and is very hurt when her mom comes in with a suitcase to help her out. Taking this as a sign that her mother truly doesn't love her, Ramona watches miserably as her mom packs her skates, her doll, two bananas, her baby teeth, and various other things. When she goes, at last, to pick up her suitcase, she can't lift it. Realizing that her mom made it too heavy on purpose, and, giving Ramona a hug, she says the words Ramona has been waiting to hear this whole book: 'I couldn't get along without my Ramona." Aw. I choked up a little bit.

Oh, and by the way, Ramona's teacher called because she had noticed Ramona twitching her nose alot and was wondering if something was making her nervous. Mrs. Quimby admits that she and Mr. Quimby had noticed it too, Ramona fesses up to the whole rabbbit thing, and we have

The end.

Best. Ramona. Book. Ever. Especially the part about the pancake flipper.