Six Degrees of Separation – from Beezus and Ramona to Every Frenchman Has One

It’s time for #6degrees. Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up.

This month we begin with Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary. I adored Cleary’s writing as a child, and I particularly loved this series.  I was reminded how well and sensitively Clearly handled childhood challenges when I read this article about shame. I have recently finished another book that examines childhood shame – The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld. It’s an extremely unsettling book, and one that I continue to think about.

Discomfort links to The Butchers by Ruth Gilligan in lots of ways (themes of shame, grief, coming of age), but I’ll focus on bovine disease (!). In Discomfort, the farm cows have foot and mouth and must be slaughtered. In The Butchers, they have ‘mad cow’ disease and are also slaughtered.

The Butchers refers to a Gaelic folk story, and the tension of carrying ‘old beliefs’ in a modern world. Similar is The Wonder by Emma Donoghue.

Based on title alone, my next link is to R.J. Palacio’s Wonder. This hugely successful novel prompted the author to write a bunch of other novels from the perspective of different characters introduced in Wonder. Amor Towles did the same with Rules of Civility and Eve in Hollywood.

Actress Olivia de Havilland features in Eve in Hollywood. In real life, de Havilland has written a memoir, Every Frenchman Has One. One what? I don’t know but I’m curious.

I didn’t expect to begin with a childhood classic and end in ‘old Hollywood’. Where will other chains go? Link up below or post your link in the comments section.

Next month (June 5, 2021), we’ll start with the winner of the 2021 Stella Prize, The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld.

54 responses

  1. Oh, good for you, The bass rock. Plan to buy it today if I can!

    Unusually, I haven’t heard of any of the books you link to – though I do know a couple of the authors. I think I only ever read one Beverly Cleary, and that was Fifteen, which I did like. It was her next book after Beezus and Ramona, but I wasn’t yet able to read so it was many many years later that I read it. Cleary really did last and last didn’t she? Her books, and herself!

    Here is my link: I really played around with so many options for this one. Not sure why. Anyhow here’s where I ended up:

    • I also played with lots of options, and got stuck at a few spots.
      I haven’t reread any Cleary as an adult but confident she holds up given that her books still sell.

      • Funny that. It doesn’t often happen with me but it did here. Nothing to do with the starting book really I think. Bought The bass rock yesterday as promised. Now just have to read it!

  2. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation – From Beezus and Ramona to Flora and Ulysses | Beverley A Baird

    • And here I was thinking it was a classic! Perhaps she didn’t have the same level of popularity in other countries?? Certainly when I was growing up (70s) she was popular with my friends.

      • My sister said that she was surprised I’d never read her books, because she remembers them being “all over the house” when she was young. Mind you, my parents probably got them for her, because I was the annoying younger sister who had to share her room!

      • Well, I grew up in Germany and had never heard of her before I went abroad and lived among English speaking people. My boys grew up in the UK and the Netherlands but her books are not especially popular among boys, so that might have been the reason. Also, I haven’t seen her much in England, her name only popped up when my sons went to an international school where we also had Americans, so, yes, she might have been a classic in some countries but not necessarily everywhere.

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  4. Now that’s a good chain! I would never have thought of that. The Beverley Cleary books are still very popular at our school’s library, but I have to admit that I’ve never read any. I’ll take one home next week, just because I’m interested now!

    The Wonder was a good read, not everyone in our Book Club enjoyed it, but I thought it was very interesting.

    Have a happy May!

    Elza Reads

  5. I like your shame theme, Kate. The only one of your books I have read is Wonder which made me cry. I didn’t know Amor Towles had written another book but I guess that is because I don’t like short stories. I did like A Gentleman in Moscow and The Rules of Civility very much. He grew up in Boston and our mothers were college classmates.

    I do love Beverly Cleary and have continued to read some of her books as an adult, which influenced my chain:

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  8. Childhood shame is a very deep psychological issue, and the chain is very impressive. I have’t read any of these books, but I’ve heard of Amor Towles lately, and seen a few movies with de Havilland. Every Frenchman has one — definitely a most intriguing title!

  9. I’m new to 6 Degrees and it’s been so fun looking at all the different links to books, some overlapping and some not. But yah…The mad cow connection! You’re right, take the connections when you get them! LOL

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  11. I am so sorry: I double-linked, because the first one I added was by mistake to last month’s post. I’m not able to delete the wrong one, apologies to everyone!

  12. I too had never heard of Beverly Cleary (I grew up in London) but I looked her up and she sounds like such an interesting woman.

    I’ve not read any of your books, but I do remember foot and mouth disease very well – it was terrible up here in Scotland, and when we went over to the Highlands to visit my friend, we always had to drive over a mat soaked with disinfectant that was laid across the road (one advantage, I suppose, of not having too many available routes up here.)

    In my own chain I stuck with children’s books:

    I’m intrigued by The Bass Rock, particularly as I used to live just a few miles from it – in fact my other daughter did a school project about the persecution of the ‘witches’ in East Lothian.

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