This one wasn't quite as bad as I thought it was going to be. I guess that's because I basically felt like Dawn did at her age, although I never tried to "solve" the problem the way she did.
You see, Dawn started writing to Logan's cousin two Dawn books ago (#37), and now he's coming to town for a visit. Dawn decides to use him as practice for a "real" boyfriend, and decides that since she's never attracted a boy before, there must be something wrong with her. So she changes her looks, her clothes and her personality to try to be cool. It backfires because, of course, cousin Lewis liked her the way she was. She goes back to her own self and gets her first kiss.
In the B plot, a new sitting client named Norman Hill has a weight problem. Kids at school pick on him and his own parents focus only on his weight. He finally stands up for himself to his sister and tells his parents how the weight-centered household makes him feel. He decides to lose weight because HE wants to look and feel good and not for anyone else.
Dawn says Sharon and Richard dated for "ages." How long could it have been, when Dawn moved to the East Coast midway through seventh grade and they were married in eighth grade?
Lewis is coming in mid-January. MA says his school is on a different schedule than theirs. I don't know any school outside of a college where they're off in the middle of January. I know some schools on the East Coast get a week off randomly in the middle of February, but I can't imagine having a week off when you were just off for a couple of weeks less than a month ago.
Ha ha ha. Dawn says she must not be completely insecure because people are always telling her what an individual she is. She's an individual because she eats what she likes and wears what's comfortable. Some of the people I know who are most insecure (and I include myself in that number) are the ones who are the most different and weird. Dawn is totally insecure...she worries about what everyone else thinks all the time. I think that's what irks me about her--she claims to be so secure and not caring what others think when it's clearly not the case.
Sharon's New Year's resolution is to get more organized. Obviously, she doesn't stick to it.
Dawn points out that even though Claudia only reads Nancy Drews, at least she's reading something. Never thought Dawn and I would agree on something (besides the red meat thing.)
On that note, a friend of mine said that, when she's a mother, she's only going to let her children read classics and not "crap like the Babysitters Club." She was like me growing up, and read everything she could get her hands on, and she wishes her mother had forced her to read "better" literature.
Ah, the toilet monster.
I remembered this right away when I saw Norman Hill was introduced in this one. I remember thinking when I saw his name, "If he's named Norman, he's either really fat or kinda stupid." Norman is one of those names, like Bertha, that is just cliché for FAT.
Okay. When they're decorating for New Year's, Dawn and MA find a banner that reads "1979" and hang it up. This has got to be Sharon's, as I can't picture Richard not throwing that away the second 1980 reared its head. But are we supposed to believe that Sharon hung onto a banner for 13 years, through a divorce and a move? Is she a hoarder in addition to being a slob?
Sharon and Richard invite Jessi's dad to have a drink with them and toast the New Year (conveniently, he walked, rather than drove). What time is this party starting that they're already toasting? Jessi says she's never stayed up to midnight before this year. I remember being excited to stay up to midnight, but I think I was eight or nine.
The girls call boys after midnight to wish them a happy New Year. What if some people went to bed before midnight? I know my dad wouldn't have been happy to get a call at 12:20 at night, even on January 1.
They keep referring to Bart as Bart-man. I guess this is when the Simpsons was really big.
I could swear that in later books, it's Sara Hill, not Sarah Hill. Anyone?
Dawn tells Sarah the Little Mermaid is her favorite movie, and Sarah's thrilled because it's her favorite, too. I think it was just about every little girls' favorite in 1992. (I liked Beauty and the Beast better, myself.)
Claudia misspellings: yesturday, afternon, sory (sorry), unerstand, fristraded (frustrated), wate (weight), gane, probibly, wuldn't. She actually spells most of the words correctly. I'm shocked.
Why do the Hills stock junk food if they don't want Norman to eat it? If he has to go on a diet, the whole family should. It's pretty crummy if, for example, Norman only gets a scoop of tuna fish salad for dinner and Sarah gets to eat a handful of Oreos after.
Mallory teaches Dawn how to blow a bubble. Dawn says it's the first piece of gum she's ever chewed, which I find a little suspicious. Even people who like health food chew gum to get icky tastes out of their mouths.
Mr. Bruno drives Logan, MA and Dawn to the airport to pick up Lewis. All three sit in the backseat. I can't imagine wanting to take my son's girlfriend and her stepsister to the airport like that. Plus, Mrs. Bruno is in the front seat. Two things. 1. Where are Kerry and Hunter? 2. Where is Lewis supposed to sit? It's not a car with three rows of seats, because Logan, MA and Dawn are all sitting next to each other. It's like the Pikes in last week's book. (Sure enough, Lewis is crammed in with the other three on the way home.)
Ooh, this is slightly bitchy. MA tells Dawn to use "you-directed conversations" because it will make Lewis think she's interesting because she's interested in him. Dawn asks MA if she uses that technique and MA says, "No, because Logan likes me the way I am." I know she's trying to help Dawn get along better with Lewis, but she's making it sound like there's something wrong with Dawn (outside the obvious, I mean.)
Norman's pretty smart for seven. He's great at hiding his eating from his family and he has some great stories to tell his pen-pal girlfriend. Later, when his mother tells him to drink lots of water to keep his system flushed, he responds "I'm not a toilet bowl."
Mrs. Hill's first name is Michelle, and Mr. Hill is Harold. I've got songs from The Music Man stuck in my head.
Dawn's self-esteem is practically non-existent in this book. MA is trying to help her, but she assumes that the "help" means that MA thinks there's something wrong with her. Although, MA does go more than a little overboard during the date, pinching Dawn and telling her what to do repeatedly.
Stacey wants to talk to the Hills about Norman and Claudia and Jessi suggest that it may not go well and they may think the BSC is "butting in." But that's what they do best: solving problems between parents and children that the parents a) can't solve or b) don't know exist.
Usually when they describe Dawn foods, even I don't want to eat them. But she had my mouth watering when she made tabouhli, hummus and babaganoush.
Lewis and Logan have the same handwriting. I think it's BSC standard for guys to write in all capital letters.
Claudia: Maroon leggings, large yellow shirt, ballet slippers, belt, side ponytail; wide black pants, sweatshirt with appliqued moon, high ponytail
Stacey: tight dress with pink and purple stripes
Dawn: black leggings and blue fleecy top; ripped jeans and a ripped, off the shoulder shirt with curly hair; black lacy capri leggings, ridiculous silver skirt with crinoline, black and white top with six braids; black turtleneck, jean skirt, black stockings, boots, curly hair gelled back on the sides
MA: flowery dress with a French braid
Sarah and Norman Hill (9 and 7)--29 and 27
Next week: Probably #17 Mary Anne's Bad Luck Mystery