On the Darker Standalone Novels from the Baby-Sitters Club Author
This Week on The NewberyTart Podcast
Each week on NewberyTart, Jennie and Marcy, two book-loving mamas (and a librarian and a bookseller, respectively), read and drink their way through the entire catalogue of Newbery books, and interview authors and illustrators along the way.
On this episode, Jennie and Marcy talk about the 2003 Newbery Honor Book Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin. [Content warning: suicide]
From the episode:
Jennie: It’s interesting because you can feel it building up towards something bad happening, and it’s almost like she was expecting it when she hears the news, because he had been missing and they found him. I feel like she’s been very open the whole book, not with the other characters but with us as the reader. And then all of a sudden that just sort of stops. You don’t have any feeling about her emotional response to it. It’s like saying that she’s upset as opposed to demonstrating in any way or making you feel that she’s upset. But I think it’s also very realistic—it’s such a shock that she goes on autopilot.
Marcy: It’s not the only Ann M. Martin book I’ve read that has a suicide, because there’s a book called Slam Book by her that ends with a suicide.
Jennie: Oh, I remember that.
Marcy: Yeah, that book was a very heavy book to me, but it made me understand bullying at a very early age.
Jennie: There’s a funeral and she gets up to talk about him, and she doesn’t even say very much. She’s really more concerned with her acquaintances who are always kind of mean to her and part of the reason that she doesn’t have any friends and are there to just gawk and giggle. I think that’s the tipping point for her, realizing that she doesn’t really care and that she shouldn’t care. All she really says about Adam is that some people called him a freak but he wasn’t a freak, and he was somebody who could lift the corners of the universe. And it doesn’t even matter if the people in the audience understood that or the giggly, horrible girls understood that either. But I think for her, recognizing that that’s the more important thing, was really the character growth for her in the whole book. Which is good, because I know grownups who need to make those kinds of turns and don’t.
Marcy: Yeah, that’s exactly true.
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Ann M. Martin is the creator of The Baby-sitters Club, which has more than 180 million books in print, making it one of the most popular series in the history of publishing. Her novels include A Corner of the Universe (a Newbery Honor Book), Belle Teal, Here Today, A Dog’s Life, On Christmas Eve, and the Main Street and Family Tree series, as well as the much-loved collaborations P.S. Longer Letter Later and Snail Mail No More, with Paula Danziger. Ann lives in upstate New York.
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