A few years ago Mattel bought American Girl. They did maintain the old characters, and developed them in coherent ways, but we worried that the American Girls would be Barbie-ized. My own kids aged out of dolls, so I have not kept up carefully. Lately, though, Mattel has brought out a new American Girl doll, Julie Albright, set in 1974. The crucial distinction that Julie has from previous dolls is that her parents are divorced. This is how Mattel describes her:
For Julie Albright, life after her parents’ divorce holds as many ups and downs as the hilly streets of San Francisco. Julie misses her old bedroom, her pet rabbit, her best friend, Ivy—and most of all, having her whole family together.
But Julie begins to see that change also brings new possibilities. By taking charge of her new life, she learns to believe in herself—and that love can hold a family together even when they live apart.
Ah, the "happy talk" divorce of the mid-1970s, when parents had to be free, and kids were expected to just suck it up. Divorce was not treated as a disaster that ended their childhood, but a change that brings new possibilities. You can buy Julie's school locker, complete with Brady Bunch poster (the happy blended family) and a "Hang in there, Baby" poster showing a kitten literally at the end of its rope.
Perhaps the later Julie books in the AG series can include Julie Torn Between Two Worlds and The Unexpected Legacy of Julie's Parents' Divorce When Julie Tries Dating.