Laura Vanderkam: Ramona and the Middle-Class Squeeze

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Though "Ramona and Beezus's" cinematic creators avoided blatant references to any particular era, the movie's constant celebration of self-actualization is thoroughly modern. "You don't worry about coloring inside the lines," Beezus remarks (admiringly) to Ramona. Mr. Quimby, discovered doodling in a book about new-economy jobs, remarks that "I used to be a creative guy." This being a movie, we trust he'll be one again.

The books, though, have a harder edge. When Mr. Quimby loses his job in the film, he turns into an affable, if forgetful, Mr. Mom. In the books, he succumbs to the more realistic depression that often accompanies a breadwinner's job loss. He sits on the couch, watching TV, smoking heavily and not taking Ramona to the park because someone might call to offer him a job.

In the movie, the great child-care snafu is when Ramona gets sick at school and Mr. Quimby cancels a job interview to take care of her. In the books, he once leaves her, at age seven, locked outside the house in the rain because he's stuck in the unemployment-insurance line.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenMarriage & FamilyMovies & Television* Economics, PoliticsEconomy

Posted July 30, 2010 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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