Saturday, December 4, 2010

Book Review: Sister of the Bride by Beverly Cleary

I know I read this book as a teen, but I didn't remember much about it. I love that it was written from the point of view of the younger sister, not the bride. It is both a unique perspective, but also spoke to a group of young girls who often feel left out and ignored, one of Ms. Cleary's specialties. Is it dated? Most certainly. Originally published in 1963, that was 4 years before my parents got married. But I like that even then, Rosemary's young age is commented upon several times. And many of the women in the book work, although it is also unusual enough to be commented on.

As an oldest child, I not only didn't identify with Barbara's desire to be like her sister, I also thought it was perhaps a little forced. Most younger sisters don't want to be like their older sister at all in my experience - to the extreme of often becoming as opposite their sister as is practicable. But of course that is a minor quibble and perhaps wasn't as pervasive in this era, when sisters weren't quite as compared as today. Certainly sisters do measure their progress in life against their sisters, both older and younger.

Barbara felt really real. A bit naive, easily embarrassed, and impatient, but all those are traits common to teenagers and made her feel realistic. I liked that she both idealized her sister and was eager for the wedding, and was a bit chagrined by the changes in Rosemary. It was a sweet book, perfect of course for any younger sister growing up in the shadow of a Rosemary, and the dated aspects to it weren't too many. I wasn't thrilled that Barbara kept baking cookies for the guy she liked, but she did make them from refrigerator packages, not scratch, and she did eventually see the error of that method. The women's clubs like The Amys felt dated until I thought of how similar they are to our book clubs and bunko nights. Making the bridesmaid dresses from patterns was the most old-fashioned part in my opinion.

This book was sweet and endearing and a nice trip down memory lane. Somehow I ended up with two copies - one from when I was a kid, and a newer one. This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.


Julie P. said...

I have this one in my TBR pile! I know what you mean about dated, but I actually don't mind that.

Teacher/Learner said...

It's amazing how a picture can awaken memories...As soon as I saw that old cover, I remembered reading this book as a child, yet if I just saw the title, it would not have registered. Thanks for the memory boost :D