Study Guide

One Crazy Summer Miss Patty Cake

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Miss Patty Cake

Go ahead, you can admit it—you totally had a favorite toy you took everywhere when you were a kid, right? Us, too. No shame in the favorite toy game.

In One Crazy Summer, Fern is no different: She loves her Miss Patty Cake doll. Except instead of just loving it because she's a kid and kids can get totally obsessed with toys, Delphine explains that "Miss Patty Cake was there when Cecile wasn't" (9.24). Translation? Fern fills the gaping hole her mom left with her doll. Miss Patty Cake is the bandage Fern puts over the wound her mom created when she up and left.

When the girls start going to the Center, Crazy Kelvin mocks Miss Patty Cake since she's white. He thinks it's humiliating for a black girl to have to carry around a toy that doesn't look like her. To Kelvin, it's just another way black people don't have any power—toy companies don't even make dolls that look like them.

Vonetta follows Kelvin's logic and uses a marker to make the doll's skin darker. This ticks Fern off, though. To Fern, Miss Patty Cake is just a doll, a beloved companion. She doesn't care what it looks like, though she definitely cares about no one messing with her prized toy. After all, the toy's a stand-in for her absentee mother.

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