Study Guide

Nana Philly in Turtle in Paradise

By Jennifer L. Holm

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Nana Philly

Everyone's least favorite old lady, Nana Philly sure knows how to make enemies. Not only do all the kids despise her, she's got a knack for complaining and upsetting people. The Diaper Gang even jokes that "God himself could come down from heaven, and Nana Philly would tell him he did a lousy job" (8.47). Ouch.

She gets annoyed at everything from the neighborhood kids to the preacher. Maybe she's been hurt before and now gives everyone some serious 'tude as a result (kind of like Turtle), or perhaps she's just disappointed with how things turn out. After all, her daughter did run away as soon as she was knocked up, and she doesn't care too much for her life now, it seems. The point is, we're never exactly sure why Nana Philly is so cranky all the time, but we do know that it's the same story when she meets Turtle.

Turtle might have lofty dreams of becoming best friends with her grandma, but Nana Philly sees to it that her granddaughter gets more annoyed than anything else. When Turtle feeds her grandma lunch, she can't understand why Nana Philly is such a pill about it:

"You did that on purpose," I say. "Why? I'm your granddaughter!" Her mouth twitches as if this amuses her. (11.38)

It's not good news for Turtle. Her own grandma enjoys messing with her. Yet, somehow, Turtle manages to deal with the old lady by giving her a taste of her own medicine.

Even though Nana Philly will never be the warm and fuzzy type, we think Turtle wins her over with her stubbornness and sass. Or, to put it another way, by acting just like Nana Philly. Turtle might be surprised to discover they're related, but when we do, it kind of makes sense.

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