Now we are getting to the Ramona that I fell in (platonic) love with when I was a young reader. Gone is the brat, now we get a real girl who just wants to be happy being her imperfect six year old, second grade self. Her father left much to be desired; dude was an emotional and mentally absentee parent most of the time. I need to give a shout out to the best big sister, Beezus, who threw down the gauntlet and called dear old dad on his bullshit. I am still #TeamBeezus.
The story was published in 1975 (1977 for the last chapter that was originally published in the US women's magazine Family Circle), and we get further away from the 1950s nuclear family ideal (found in the first two books) and into the family dynamic upheaval that was the 1970s. There is talk of workers striking on the news and Mr. Quimby loses his job and has to find a new line of employment. The entire family is upset and emotionally adrift due to the job loss and it takes it toll. There are hints of more women's rights (Mrs. Quimby's going from part time work to full time, breadwinner) and the beginning of the latchkey kid trend.