To say I looked up to Ramona Quimby would be, in fact, incorrect. I did not look up to Ramona. I looked directly at Ramona, square in the eyeholes, and saw myself. She was fiesty and independent, curious, tomboyish, always getting into trouble, always not understanding the elements of the adult world that were closed off to her, or the tiring etiquette of everyday life. She cried too, and felt left out, and had crushes and got grossed out and smashed an egg on her head. I didn’t want to be Ramona Quimby. I already was Ramona Quimby. And still am, I think.
Riese and Laneia have a lovely post over at Autostraddle talking about some of the girls from classic YA and children’s lit that we all looked up to, wished we could be, or felt we were.
I think this description of Ramona Quimby perfectly captures my own feelings about that character. Ramona was eager (often over-eager), curious, frustrated, anxious, caring, and overall real.
When I read Beverly Cleary’s childhood memoir, A Girl From Yamhill, a few years ago I was not surprised to learn that much of what Ramona experiences was drawn directly from Cleary’s own girlhood.