Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Wishing Star #5 Francesca, Baby

Wishing Star #5 Francesca, Baby, Joan L. Oppenheimer, 1976

She hears the cry in the night... Francesca?  Baby?... and thinks, My mother is a drunk.

Together Francesca and her sister manage to survive a mother who is rarely sober, a father who is seldom home.  But resentment, anger, guilt, and hopelessness still build up in Francesca.  Even her new-found love for Bix can't solve her problems.  There has to be help somewhere.  But where?

The book pictured is an earlier Scholastic edition not packaged for the Wishing Star set.  Due to the use of stock photos online, this book is hard to locate in the Wishing Star version.

On page 46, Bix ponders the career choices of girls.  "Why do so many girls want to be a nurse or a teacher?  I mean, are that many girls that much into those two careers?  Or do they just think there's a better chance in those two fields?"  Bix continues, "Isn't it possible there might be something else they'd like a whole lot more, some field they hadn't even considered, hadn't dared try?"

This resonated with me.  Like the girls mentioned by Bix, I never considered any career choices other than nurse or teacher.  I was just that unimaginative.  I assume that the people around me had conditioned me to believe that those were the only two career choices possible.

I recall a career bus at my high school when I was in the 10th grade.  We each had to sit in front of a computer and read about career choices.  The young man who was in charge asked each of us what we wanted to do.  When he asked me, I said that I wanted to be a nurse or a teacher.  I could tell that he didn't like my answer.  He replied, "If that's what you want to do."  He moved to another student and did not interact with me again.

He failed at his job that day.  He should have asked me about my strengths and interests in order to give me some other ideas.  Of course, I probably would not have helped him.  I never had any thoughts about any possibilities other than nurse or teacher.  I was like a robot programmed to do one or the other. 

In spite of that, I don't regret becoming a teacher.

This is a very compelling story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I do feel that the problems were resolved a bit too easily, but with this type of book having a limited length, the author cannot make the story completely realistic.

This is an excellent book.


Tai said...

Francesca, Baby was also made into an ABC "Afterschool Special."

Alice said...

Well rather than being "conditioned" i think it's more biological, one of the biggest confirmed differences in the biology of men and women is that women are wired to enjoy people oriented jobs while men are wired to prefer object oriented jobs which is why most engineers etc. are men. These differences are very interesting and complementary in my opinion.