It's been about a year since Mimi's stroke (I think....the timeline starts to get a little off around this time), and she's doing okay. Physically, she's still a little shaky, but her real problems seem to be in her mind. Mimi is doing and saying more crazy things than ever, and all the Kishis can really do is appreciate the good days, when they come. One night during dinner, Mimi faints and has to be taken to the hospital. No one can figure out what's wrong with her, although the doctors think it's blood-related. After some pints of fresh blood, Mimi improves and is allowed to go home. During the hospital stay and afterwards, Claudia once again feels like she's expected to give up her own activities and time to care for Mimi. I guess she didn't learn her lesson in book #7, because the Kishis didn't expect that of her then, and I don't think they did in this book, either (the issue isn't dealt with as much here).
Things seem to be par for the course, Mimi-wise, until one Saturday morning. Claudia is teaching an art class for some of the BSC's charges in her basement when Mimi comes down for a visit. She isn't even supposed to be out of bed, let alone taking on the stairs by herself, but Claudia decides to ler her stay. As she's sorting out a chair for Mimi to use, Mimi faints again. Claudia runs to get her father while Mary Anne (the class's co-teacher) stays with Mimi and eventually gets the children out and takes them home.
In the hospital, Mimi gets new blood right away, since that worked so well the last time. Her moods are kind of all over the place, though; one minute, she's making jokes about being a vampire, and the next, she's cranky and throwing her pudding at the wall. She's also started giving some of her things away; Claudia gets her plants, and Janine gets her diamond earrings. I always wondered why Claudia didn't get the earrings and Janine the plants, since Claudia's so into fashion and all. Anyway, Mimi improves enough again that the doctors are ready to release her. She even calls Claudia the night before sh'es due to come home, and they have a nice conversation about the painting Claudia is working on. Mimi's last words before they hang up? "Good-bye, My Claudia." (*sniff* *tear*)
The next morning, Claudia wakes up to the sound of her parents' voices. It's far too early for any of them to be up for work or school, so she goes to their bedroom to find out what's up. That's when she gets the bad news; Mimi died during the night. Claudia's in a state of disbelief; after all, wasn't Mimi well enough to come home? Her father explains that she wasn't okay, and that she just wore out. The Kishi parents head to the hospital to make arrangements, while Janine and Claudia stay home to start calling friends and relatives.
The funeral is three days later. Claudia feels really detached from the whole event; she even calls the burial "surreal," and can't believe that Mimi is really there, in the coffin. The club members (including Stacey, who came down with her mom for the day) get together afterwards and try to have a normal conversation in spite of everything that's happened.
Claudia's emotions and reactions to what's happened are kind of all over the place. She's sad, and angry, and numb, and tired. Her grades slip, no one at school seems to know how to react when they see her. She goes from wanting to talk about and remember Mimi to not wanting to talk about and remember Mimi. When she sees Janine in Mimi's room, going through her things, Claudia kind of explodes. That's when she really begins to heal; she even comes up with a tribute collage to hang in Mimi's room, once it becomes the guest room.
One of the students in Claudia's art class is Corrie Addison. Claudia really bonds with her during the whole Mimi situation; Corrie's parents tend to shuffle Corrie and her brother, Sean, from class and activity to class and activity so they can have time to themselves. Claudia, in true BSC fashion, eventually makes the Addison parents see the error of their ways, and she credits Mimi with giving her the love and strength to speak up on Corrie's behalf.
Thoughts and Things
- I really, really like the way that Claudia's emotions and reactions to Mimi's death are presented. Good one, AMM.
- Whenever I think about this book, I always think about Mimi throwing that pudding at the wall in the hospital. Sometimes, you just have to throw the pudding. :)
- Mr. Kishi's reaction to Mimi's death is pretty touching. You always hear/read about evil mother-in-laws, so it's nice that he was genuinely upset over what happened. I also liked seeing him show some emotion; I don't know why, but I always picture him as a little stern, and not given to emotional displays.
- There really isn't a whole lot I can pick at with this one. I think it's actually one of the best written in the series, mostly because of how Claudia's grief is dealt with.