“Sister of the Bride” by Beverly Cleary


For Chapter 2 of the Summer of Shelf Discovery, I found Beverly Cleary’s Sister of the Bride sweet, but not cloying. Barbara, sixteen, is envious of her sister Rosemary, eighteen, who announces she is going to marry her boyfriend. As the little sister, she feels like she always gets the leftovers. Every time I thought it would devolve into something terrible, it didn’t. Cleary lightly juggles many sides of many issues: early marriage, education, siblings, the lure of weddings vs. the reality of marriage (a pet topic of mine). It’s written pre-Vietnam, and it shows but it’s also interesting to think what might become of these characters in a few years, because all the boys/men (Greg, Bill Cunningham, Tootie Bodger, even little brother Gordy) are likely to be drafted.

Doesn’t Rosemary look like Drew Barrymore on the painted cover? Another pet peeve: look how skinny Barbara’s arms are!

What book from Chapter 2 did you read, or what book comes to mind about kids on the verge of puberty? If you blogged about it, include a link and I’ll compile a weekly list in a post.

3 Responses to ““Sister of the Bride” by Beverly Cleary”

  1. Alex Says:

    I don’t think this made it over the Atlantic. I loved Cleary’s Ramona books, as did the children to whom I read them, but this one I’ve never seen. I shall have to do some digging.

  2. girldetective Says:

    Alex, this one was new to me too, though Cleary’s Fifteen, written about the same time I think, was one of my favorites. There was a lot in it that felt very old fashioned–anyone getting married at 18, boys with names like Tootie. Some of the themes and questions are timeless, but the details are solidly late 50’s, early 60’s.

  3. shannon Says:

    didn’t read this one, or fifteen - but i’m being reminded of a tv show (movie?) called James at 15 about a boy coming of age and having his first sexual encounter in a freezing cold park (woods?) in a sleeping bag, and then the 2 of them regretting it. it stayed with me.
    and there was a tv show called family-something with kristy mcnicoll and she also had sex and regretted it. hmm. the things you remember… (more like the things we young girls were SUPPOSED to remember - after all, those shows had a purposeful message)