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The Saturdays: 03/29/20
The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright is the start of The Melendy Family series. For whatever reason, this series has suddenly become popular again with middle grade readers and the hold lists for each book can be months long!
Like the timeless Penderwick sisters, The Melendy siblings are a tight-knit group of freethinkers, given a lot of leeway with their time because their father is a widower. Unlike the Penderwicks, they also are well enough off to have a housekeeper in their employ, matronly Mrs. Cuff.
Typically the children spend their Saturdays together doing things as a group but with such diverse interests they're having trouble deciding on things to do. So they compromise and decide to pool their money and let each kid take a day to do what they want.
The remaining chapters are primarily each child's adventure and how things go wrong. No Melendy is really up to the task of being alone. Their single minded ideas are universally bad ones.
After having read the first in the series I'm still not sure what the newfound hype is. The book has the same twee earnestness as The Good Witch. It's chock full of nauseating white wholesomeness and corresponding racism.
For instance, one of the youngest children goes across town to a black neighborhood to get her hair and nails done. Of course her trip is fraught with the perception of danger. (But nothing actually happens because she's "lucky.") Later she feels ashamed and is shamed by her family for her new hairdo and manicure.
The second book in this four part series is The Four-Story Mistake (1942)