Claudia and the Sad Goodbye (RS#26)

Original Publication Date: 1989

Ghostwriter? No, Ann took this on by herself


Here's one of those really sad books. Mimi dies. Even though you know going into in what's going to happen, it's still a surprise when it does. Mimi's been doing worse, needing blood transfusions and being admitted to the hospital a couple of times, but the transfusions seem to help. The second time she's admitted she doesn't even need stay as long, but the night before she's about to go home she dies. Of course, Claudia and her family are heartbroken. Initially, Claudia seems to be taking things well, reminiscing with friends and so on (including Stacey, who comes for the funeral). But it seems so surreal to her that she can't quite come to grips with it. Claudia finds herself feeling upset with Mimi for leaving but is able to come to terms her death and remember good times she had with her.

During all this, Claudia and Mary Anne host a Saturday morning art class for some clients. Corrie Addison joins it, as her mom had the idea. She's always the first one dropped off and the last one picked up. Claudia gets fed up with the way her parents are always trying to get rid of their kids (her brother is Sean Addison) and finally tells Mrs. Addison that Corrie feels unwanted. Her parents make more of an effort to spend time with Corrie. Claudia doesn't think things will be perfect, but hopes they will be better.

The book ends with Claudia unveiling a collage she made for Mimi, full of things to remind her family of Mimi. The BSC and the Kishis think it's perfect, and it gets hung up in Mimi's old bedroom.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Oreos inside a hollow book, Cheetos under her bed

This books has pretty much the least-awkward mention of Jessi's race. Instead of "she's African-American, but we never notice" or "she could even be purple but we'd still be friends with her" it's just "Jessi and Mal are...different in some ways. The biggest difference is Jessi is black and Mal is white." That's it. Good job, book.

Claudia describes a row of Nancy Drews on her bookshelf...I thought she hid those.

Their Families:

The book specifies that Claudia's maternal grandfather died just after Janine was born (previously it was simply before Claudia was born).

Stacey's parents are fighting more.

There was again no mention of Russ and Peaches visiting Mimi in the hospital (they do come to the funeral).

Nannie has officially moved in with Kristy's family.

The Club:

Claudia says that she and Mary Anne decided to hold the art class in the Kishis' basement after some planning, but Claudia suggested that right when the idea came to her.

The Perkins girls still have a doll named Caroline Eunice.


Dori Wallingford's name is now spelled Dorrie.

Claudia's back in school, and camp was in the summer...hello, round two of eighth grade!

PSA time:

When I read this book as a child, it taught me that if I defrost meat, I need to cook it and I can't just stick it back in the freezer.


Claudia gets Mimi a teddy bear instead of flowers when she's in the hospital in case she wants "something to hug" which I think is a really sweet thought.

While she takes a little far, I think Claudia has a point about Mimi not really being in the casket. Her body is. It's like C. S. Lewis said, "You don't HAVE a soul; you ARE a soul. You have a body."

I wonder if Ann M. Martin would have kept Mimi alive longer if she'd known the series would go on as long as it did.

The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 1

BSC Fights: 5

SMS Staff: 13 (2 6th grade, 3 7th grade, 4 8th grade, 2 elective, 1 vice-principal, 1 secretary)

Students: 32 8th graders, six sixth-graders

Clients: 21

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 35 (bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy, Cheese Doodles, a chocolate bar, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers, cupcakes, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, gumdrops, Fritos, Gummi Bears, Heath bars, Hershey's kisses, Ho Hos, jawbreakers, licorice, licorice whips, Lifesavers, M&Ms (regular and peanut), Mallomars, marshmallows, mini candy bars, Oreos (Double Stuf), popcorn, pretzels, Ring Dings, root beer barrels, salt water taffy, Snickers, Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Twinkies)

Crushes: Claudia-4 (Austin Bentley, Timothy Carmody, Trevor Sandbourne, Will Yamakawa), Dawn-1 (Parker Harris), Mary Anne-2 (Alex, Logan Bruno), Stacey-4 (Toby, Pete Black, Scott Foley, Sam Thomas), Kristy-1 (Bart Taylor)


Emily said...

I think there was also a row of Nancy Drew books on Claudia's shelf in the BSC movie.

nikki said...

Glad I'm not the only one who learned about defrosting meat from this book!

I also always wondered if Ann M. would have kept Mimi alive longer.

Sadako said...

Good point about Ann M. Martin keeping Mimi alive longer if she'd known. When I first read these it felt like all this stuff took place over a longer period of time but then when I reread, I realized that Kristy gets used to Watson in the very first book, Mimi has a stroke in only the fifth book, etc.

It does feel very weird, too, that Mimi died so many books ago and no time has really gone by. Paradox!

charmecia said...

tell me about it.
i thought it was unfair of ann killing mimi off earlier on in the books by causing her to die without any explanation of her death (though the stroke thing is a big giveaway).

claudia is a big nancy drew fan you gotta admit.

The World of Lurlene Mcdaniel said...

This book actually had me in tears. Not only was Mimi one of my favorite adult characters in the series but man did i experience the same thing when my great grandfather died. Like Claudia, i was very close with my great grandfather and like Claudia i was mad at the doctors and at my grandfather for leaving me and not taking care of Grandpa Ralph(that's what i call him) in a proper care. But there was nothing they could do and he was very old( he was only 85 when he died.) I was 18 at the time and just started going to college so i can understand how Claudia FEELS in this one.

great post by the way and keep up the good work.