Six Degrees of Separation – From Beezus and Ramona to Claudine at School

Six Degrees of Separation is a meme hosted by Kate over at Books Are My Favourite and Best. It works like this: each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six others to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the titles on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.

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This month we’re starting with Beverly Cleary’s Beezus and Ramona which I’d not come across before but I gather it’s the first in a series of children’s books about the Quimby sisters.

That name instantly brought to mind Fred Quimby, creator of cat and mouse cartoon team, Tom and Jerry, which led me to Nick Bradley’s The Cat and the City featuring a very unusual feline.

Another most unusual cat makes a surprise appearance in Patrick deWitt’s French Exit which sees a woman fleeing financial ruin with her obnoxious son, clutching a handbag she won’t let out of her sight.

In The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Charles Smithson first sees Sarah Woodruff staring out to sea from the Cobb in Lyme Regis.

Which is where Louisa Musgrove’s jump into Captain Wentworth’s arms goes horribly wrong in Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion sees Greer Kadetsky land her dream job working for her role model, a celebrated feminist, pulling her away from the man she loves.

Wolitzer is the author of The Wife in which the authorship of a spouse’s work comes into question as it did for Colette’s Claudine at School, the first in a series which drew on her own experiences, originally published under her husband’s name, Willy.

This month’s Six Degrees has taken me from the first in a children’s series about two sisters to the first in another series which drew on the author’s own life, originally published under her husband’s name. Part of the fun of this meme is comparing the very different routes other bloggers take from each month’s starting point. If you’re interested, you can follow it on Twitter with the hashtag #6Degrees, check out the links over at Kate’s blog or perhaps even join in.

45 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – From Beezus and Ramona to Claudine at School”

  1. Loved Ramona the Pest! And of course Meg Wolitzer & Jane Austen (must hunt down the Cat and the City). Terrific links. It’s as if you’ve linked in to my reading history.
    Cheers!

  2. Ah, finally I know pretty much all of the books in your linkage (yes, I know, that Lyme Regis connection – I really have to visit that place once and see it for myself!). Have to try and think of my own now, doubt I’ll be able to think of something as clever, although Claudine was my first thought…

    1. You would love Lyme Regis, I’m sure. Just one amusement arcade, the rest a lovely, unspoiled small seaside town. Claudine popped into my head thanks to the film which I watched again on iPlayer recently. Looking forward to your Six Degrees!

  3. Mareli Thalwitzer

    Oh my goodness! This is a brilliant chain! I love your post and there are cats! I’m going to take a look at French Exit right now.

    May you have a wonderful May!

    Elza Reads

  4. I only got to know of the Ramona series from this month’s #6Degrees. I hope it isn’t too dated and that I can still recommend it to my little niece!
    I thought your chain brought up some vastly interesting books that I hadn’t heard of — esp. French Exit (which seems to be along the writting style of Nancy Mitford?) and The Female Persuasion which reminded me somehow of Devil Wears Prada.
    ~Lex

    1. People seem to love Ramona and her sister! I wish I’d discovered them when I was a child. French Exit is more acerbic than Mitford but very funny. Once you make the acquaintance of the cat you’lll never forget him. There is a similarity between the Wolitzer and Devil Wears Prada in that the younger woman gets the upper hand, although I’ve only seen the film. Meryl Streep was brilliant in it.

  5. I’m in awe of the leaps and bounds in imagination that you’ve shown here. I couldnt get going at all on this month’s chain and in fact coming to the conclusion that I just don’t have the right kind of brain for this activity 🙂

      1. That was the point Sue at Whispering Gums made too when I was sharing my stress over an earlier chain that wouldn’t work. She made me stop and think whether I really do enjoy making the chains and on balance the answer is probably no

  6. Tom & Jerry was certainly an inspired link! Very clever.

    I loved the film about Colette. I’ve read a few of the books; I’m glad she got due recognition in the end.

    French Exit sounds intriguing! Another one I’ve not heard of but will now look up, thank you.

    1. Thank you! I think those are the only two instances of that name I’ve come across but it’s indelibly burned into my brain after the many cartoons I watched as a kid.

      Wasn’t Colette wonderful? And I hope you enjoy French Exit if you decide to read it

  7. You couldn’t have known this, but if you HAD made the acquaintance of Ramona Quimby, you would have known that she draws the Q in her last name, with the little loop at the bottom line, like a cat’s tail, deliberately turning her Q into a cat. This makes her sound a little precious, but she’s really more of an independent spirit and she loves her cat. My childhood, without Ramona, would have been much lonelier. For reals.

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