Joey seems to antagonise Simone, often reducing her to tears and then doesn’t own up to be the one to do that and the others girls are left uncomfortable as they feel they can’t sneak on Joey? Was Joey to kind hearted to say I don’t want to be close friends or would it have been far kinder to say I don’t want to be best friends?
I haven't read the book, but I have to say this doesn't sound very like Joey. She can be tactless and thoughtless, but never deliberately unkind. In School At
she was quite remorseful and conscience stricken when she realised Simone was upset because of her, even though she hadn't really done anything wrong. I also can't believe Madge wouldn't have made enquiries into what was going on. She was well aware of Simone's tendency to be clingy and possessive, and at the beginning of Jo Of
, she sent her to Le Petit Chalet partly to give Jo a break.
I do think it's unfair that, not just in this book, but in school stories generally, quite young girls - they're only thirteen here - are expected to negotiate quite difficult friendship issues, and issues around honour and 'sneaking', and to get it right every time. Jo's not unreasonable for getting fed up with Simone's clinginess, and it wouldn't have been inappropriate for her to ask Madge for help in dealing with it.
But I suppose large chunks of story would disappear if they just went to a parent or teacher every time something happened that they couldn't deal with!
I don't know if it was just Joey or the way the authors are writing the books. EBD started it and Jane Berry continued whereby the friendship between Simone and Joey always seems to be described in negative ways and compared unfavourably with Joey's friendship with Marie or Frieda. It's always described as Simone wanting to be friends with Joey and not the other way round; which may be how it started but surely at some point couldn't that explanation be dropped and they're allowed to be friends without Simone continually being described as clingy and emotional etc. I must admit I am enjoying Caroline German's fill ins as she doesn't describe the relationship as being like that at all and it's nice that the friendship seems more normal.
I think what really emphasised this was the scene in the classroom where Joey
had snapped violently at Simone as the latter tried to help her with her books causing the French child's bottom lip to wobble dangerously while her eyes began to brim over with tears, thus provoking the usual exasperation in Joey.
Miss Cathew comes along as asks why she's crying and Joey doesn't confess to being the cause of Simone's upset and the girls don't as they feel it would be sneaking on Joey.
There's another scene in Jo of where Simone gets upsets when Joey and Margia don't help tidy up as they should and Joey snaps at her again, causing her to cry. I get that Joey does care about Simone, but having recently read the early books to write about the fill ins, I am struck by the number of times Joey seems to be the cause of Simone's tears because she seems to snap at her more often than anyone else and without cause. In the instance above, Simone was only trying to help her. I don't remember a scene where Joey snaps at Frieda or Marie to the extent she does Simone. I wondered was the friendship kind to or good for Simone, as it seems Joey is only friends because Simone was so homesick. It reminded me of Mary Lou's friendship with Joan, whereby the reason for friendship wasn't out of friendship but for another reason and it didn't work. But then Simone did want to be friends desperately whereas I don't think Joan did despite being flattered by the attention Mary Lou showed. I was curious what others thought of it