Wednesday, April 14, 2010

#103 Happy Holidays, Jessi


It's the beginning of December, and Jessi is super excited for the holiday season. She says that seeing all the decorations, hearing the music, etc, makes her feel like a little kid again. I wasn't aware that she'd stopped being a kid, but whatever. Anyway, the one not-so-bright spot for the whole Ramsey family during this supposedly happy time is Aunt Cecelia. She's grumpy, she's always lecturing and criticizing everyone, and it's causing a lot of stress for the family. Finally, Mr. Ramsey has to order her not to be so strict and difficult with the kids, and to remember that she's living there as a guest in their house. Things DO start to change a little; during a shopping trip,. Aunt Cecelia is MUCH nicer to the three Ramsey kids than she's been in recent past. Then, during the ride home, they get in a car accident. Jessi, Becca, and Cecelia are okay, since they were all wearing their seatbelts. Squirt, though, wasn't. He'd been fussing in his carseat, and because they were so close to home, Cecelia had let Jessi unbuckle him. That's how he ended up on the floor of the car, unconsious.

An ambulance arrives and takes all four of them to the hospital. Everyone is more or less okay; Squirt wakes up, but the doctor tells the Ramseys that they're seeing some unusual neurological activity and that they'll need to keep him in the hospital for observation. The Ramseys work out a visiting schedule so Squirt will never be left alone during the day. Having him in the hospital starts to put an awful lot of strain on the family, though. No one is really in the holiday spirit anymore, and Aunt Cecelia is right back to being her crabby old self. To top it off, just about everyone in the family blames themselves for Squirt's injuries.

Finally, Squirt is allowed to come home the day after Christmas. He's just in time to help celebrate Kwanzaa with his family, which includes some Ramseys from Oakley (including cousin Keisha). The attitude of the family hasn't really improved much, though; there's still a lot of sniping going on, even with the extended family in the house. They all start fighting in the middle of one of their evening Kwanzaa celebrations, until Keisha yells at them to stop and points out how dumb they're being, considering that the whole purpose of Kwanzaa is to celebrate family and unity. Then, Squirt burps and the tension in the room is broken. Everyone apologizes, and it's a happy Kwanzaa once again. :)

While all this is going on, Jessi is also busy organizing a Kwanzaa Festival for the people of Stoneybrook who might not know much about the holiday. They have games, food, crafts, and even a play.

Rating: 2.5

Thoughts and Things
  • After the accident, Squirt is allowed to fall asleep during the ambulance ride. I thought that anyone suspected of a concussion should be kept awake? They would have had no way of knowing until tests had been run at the hospital, but you'd think they would at least take the precaution.
  • There's this whole awkward conversation at a BSC meeting about whether or not it's racist for African Americans to have a holiday that's ONLY for African Americans. I wish Jessi had pointed out that there's nothing barring white people from celebrating Kwanzaa with their AA friends; it's just meant to celebrate African American culture. At least, I think so.....
  • Aunt Cecelia was a nightmare in this book. I don't think I ever disliked her more at any other point in the series.
  • Some of that Kwanzaa food sounded awesome!


  1. Of course the Ramseys celebrate Kwanzaa.

    1. It was a little odd that the only black BSC member from the only black family in Stoneybrook (which, of course, experiences heaps of racial prejudice in the NINETIES) celebrates Kwanzaa. I've yet to meet a black family that even celebrates Kwanzaa. It feels stereotypical.

  2. I never read this but Aunt Cecilia letting Jessi take Squirt out of his seat seems SUPER out of character.

    Also, didn't Jessi get any flack from the BSC patrol for asking to take him out of the seat? Yeah, I know, Aunt C is a grown up and she authorized it but this is the BSC--they got mad at Mallory b/c Nicky injured his finger playing a game when Mallory and her father were both present. If you're in the general vicinity of an injured child...whoa nelly!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Jessi stopped being a kid when she turned 11.

  5. dude i agree, aunt cecelia was such a scrooge(lol get it? a scrooge)and i liked aunt cecila too.

    sadako,i guess the reason why they got on mallory's case in that one was because it was the earlier series, back when ann actually wrote the books, and the bsc was just getting to know mallory more in the series. plus, mallory does have a reputation as being the bsc's guinea pig/black sheep/ punching bag/follower.

    Jessi probably didnt get flak because if she did, she would probably accuse the bsc of being racist, also she's the bsc's star ballet dancer, and the sweet, thoughtful one in the book.

    so yeah.

    this is actually my favorite jessi book if you ask me.

  6. i think the reason why The Bsc got on Mallory sadako was because they've known Mallory for a while during that time (remember, they wanted Mallory to replace Stacey but Mallory was 2 years younger thaN them.)

    they haven't known jessi that long to scold at her for it. Not to mention, knowing Jessi, she'll probably maKe a big deal out of it.

    This is one of my favorite Holiday stories. And Kwanzaa's a holiday for everyone, not just african americanns.

  7. Ummm did jessi always celebrate Kwanzaa, or was that just conveniently added later in the series in case we missed that she is, by the way, black?

  8. Seriously?! In what universe is it ok to allow a small child to ride in a car without a seatbelt?! Even if the risk of accidents is minimal or the ride home is really short, it is still no way in hell ok! I can't believe jessi had the nerve to ask in the first place let alone whinge! Youre damn right Jessi it IS your fault squirt nearly died!

    Even as a 7 year old reading this book for the forst time i wanted to strangle Jessi for what she did to squirt.

    1. *:) I mean that even though i was 7 when i first read this book i wanted to strangle her (I havn't been 7 in quite a while)