I was an avid reader throughout elementary and middle school, often spending every day between the shelves of my schools’ libraries. I still read but “avid” would be an overstatement. In elementary school, I tore through series week after week, often finding a character I found to be similar to myself. The characters within these books still impact my life, but no one has impacted my life the way Beezus Quimby has.
Beatrice “Beezus” Quimby is a recurring character created by Beverly Cleary and is featured throughout several of Cleary’s series. She is the older sister of Ramona Quimby, the best friend of Henry Huggins, and she is never the main character. I always found this fascinating, because she was easily one of the most dynamic characters. I was drawn to Beezus because she was an older sister to Ramona who reminded me so much of my younger sister. At first I treated Beezus as almost a how-to-be-a-big-sister guide as she balanced having fun with Ramona with teaching her lessons, but I quickly realized that she represented way more than that.
Beezus embodied everything I wanted to be as an older sister. She was smart, kind, and protective of Ramona as they faced trials and tribulations together. As I grew older, I found myself reflecting Beezus in other ways. She was dreadfully sarcastic, fiercely loyal, and deeply empathetic, almost to a fault, as am I. She was flawed, especially when depicted through her younger sister’s eyes, but she exhibited love in a way that I still admire.
To me, Beezus Quimby is an important girlhood figure because she will never grow up, she will always be immortalized as the teenage sister of Ramona. She epitomizes my experiences growing up and now she exists as a character to which I can refer to when reflecting on my values. Beezus Quimby is one of my heroines because she carried all of the qualities I wanted to exhibit in my own life with grace and light-hearted teasing.
Girl Museum Inc.