Monday, March 25, 2013

"I loved it. It was too, too diveen." BSC #11 Kristy and the Snobs (1988)

Ugh. I had a small chunk of this written and it all got deleted. Sorry. Not sure what happened except to say that my computer is insane. I probably won't be as humorous the second time around. Plus this book depressed me to no end.

This is the book in which we first meet Shannon. She's one of Kristy's new neighbors, and she acts like a bitch to Kristy because she's stealing all Shannon's sitting jobs. Kristy and Shannon start a prank war. But when Kristy's dog Louie has to be put to sleep, Shannon mourns with her and even gives her a puppy. She becomes the second associate member of the club.

Subplot: The Delaneys, Shannon's neighbors, are royal brats. Stacey uses reverse psychology in an attempt to tame them.

Interesting tidbits

The cover amuses me. Shannon's wearing what is described in the text as the SDS uniform, or at least close to it. (see below). She looks a lot like Shelley Long when she was on Cheers. She's with who I assume is Amanda Delaney, because she's holding the $400 cat. Amanda's wearing a carbon copy of Shannon's outfit, only in different colors. I guess that was the 1988 version of Snooty Girl Wear. (This is an actual case where the cover photo is straight out of the book.)

In later books, they always describe Louie as having joined the family when DM was born. In this one, he is about the same age as Kristy, which makes more sense. Louie's problems are due to old age, and 13 is "old" for dogs while most of the time, 7 is not.

When Kristy first meets Shannon, she calls her a snob right off the bat. Shannon calls her jerk-face in reply.

Kristy's already wearing a pencil behind her ear and sitting in the director's chair. (When did that start? Was it the start of eighth grade?) Stacey and Claud sit on the bed and MA and Dawn sit on the floor. In a later meeting, MA and Dawn are on the bed.

Amusing. Kristy lists each babysitter's likes and dislikes, as if it were a dating show. Babysitting is on everyone's like list, so I'll leave it out.

Kristy: likes: sports, TV; dislikes: snobs, cabbage, blood, people who chew with their mouths open and squirrels (she informed us of this on page 1)

Claudia: likes: art, mysteries, boys; dislikes: school

MA: likes: movie stars, animals; dislikes: crowds, being the center of attention

Stacey: likes: boys, clothes; dislikes: doctors

Dawn: likes: health food, sunshine, ghost stories; dislikes: junk food, cold weather

Stacey's list makes her sound especially shallow.

Ummm....if Kristy stayed after school, why didn't she just walk to Claudia's? Instead she took "the late bus" which just magically happened to take her to her house and then had Charlie take her back to Claud's. (We had those "late buses" at my middle-high school, but it just took us and dropped us off at various central locations, not to our houses. And we had to have special permission slips from our parents to ride them.)

Kristy likes the Papadakises because they give their pets stupid names, let their kids pick out their own clothes, and let them go barefoot all summer long. (In other words, they're not uppity) They sound a lot like my family (except instead of Noodle the Poodle and Myrtle the Turtle, we had a hamster named Raoul.)

Mr. Papadakis is named George.

The pranks Shannon and Kristy play on each other:
Shannon calls the Papadakises and tells Kristy the house is on fire.
Kristy gets a diaper service to deliver to the Kilbournes' house.
Shannon tells Kristy Sari P. won't stop crying to lure her over to the Papadakises house with the Delaney kids. (The Ps and Ds hate each other.)
Shannon orders a pizza to be delivered to the Delaneys when Kristy is sitting. (see below) Kristy tells the driver that he has the wrong address, and sends it to Shannon instead.

The baby that will eventually be Laura Perkins is nameless at this point, so everyone is suggesting names. Mr. and Mrs. Perkins like Sarah or Randi for a girl and John Eric or Randy for a boy. Myriah likes Laurie and Gabbie likes Beth. Jamie Newton suggests Stupid-head.

The first thread of Jeff going back to California is introduced in this one when Dawn babysits for him. (Sharon went on a date with the Trip-man.) Apparently, Dawn gets paid for babysitting Jeff. I don't know many families where that is the case. In any case, Dawn's idea of sitting for cranky Jeff involves squabbling with him and letting him do things she had told him not to do.

Dawn totally tries to eavesdrop on her parents' phone conversation. Yeah. And then she bursts into tears at a club meeting.

I'm not going to chronicle all the sad stuff with Louie. Not only is it too depressing, but it's too similar to my Mistletoe in her last days. If you must know, read the book. Or one of the other BSC blogs out there. Sorry.

Stacey "tames the snobs" by using reverse psychology on them. When they say they like their room messy, she makes it messier so they'll clean it; when they order her to do stuff, she goes overboard. By the end, the Delaneys are behaving themselves and having a good time with Stacey.

Max is singing My High Silk Hat, but he has misheard the lyrics and keeps saying, my hysle cat. Reminds me of when my sister was singing Pinky & the Brain's brain song and instead of left hemisphere, she'd always say west hemisphere.

Shannon shows up at Kristy's sitting job with the pizza and threatens to throw it at Kristy. Kristy says she'll throw it back at Astrid, making her a pepperoni mountain dog instead of a Bernese mountain dog. It works though, because Shannon and Tiffany wind up laughing, and the whole group shares the pizza.

Max tries to order Shannon around (and calls her Shannie) and all she has to do to put him off is raise an eyebrow at him. Kristy's impressed, but I bet that at this point Stacey would only have to do the same to get the same effect.

Claudia spellings galore! Pocks, apreciat, wright, rember, plesent, feever, Malory, Margoe. She also spells pox as pax and packs, and uses there for their and your for you're.

So the triplets, Margo and Claire all have the chicken pox, and they're no longer running fevers. For some reason, Mrs. Pike insists they stay in bed. When I had chicken pox, I spent time on the couch, in the basement, outside...where ever I wanted. (Of course, I seem to have had a mild case, despite having them at age 13.) They aren't contagious anymore, so there's no risk to Nicky or Vanessa, so why bother? Not that it matters anyone could see coming a mile away, at the end of the chapter, Nicky and Vanessa are covered in pox themselves.

Shock! Kristy's so worried about Louie that she skips a club meeting.

Kristy actually gets into an argument with Karen over whether Louie's grave marker should say RIP or Rest in Peace. Kristy mentions that Karen's "been wanting to have her own way a lot."

I cried from the moment they decide to put Louie to sleep until they finish his funeral. I know I never found this book remotely this sad as a child.

How does Kristy know the word herpetologist? It's what she suggests "Old Ben Brewer" was.

New characters
Shannon, Tiffany and Maria Kilbourne (13, 11 and 8)--38, 36 and 33
Linny, Hannie and Sari Papadakis (8, 6 and 2)--33, 31 and 27 (later, Linny and Hannie morph to be 9 and 7.)
Amanda and Max Delaney (8 and 6)--33 and 31

Shannon (and everyone else from SDS):  Blue plaid jumper and white shirt, stockings. (the cover shows her in a blue plaid "jumper" if you're British; sweater to the rest of us, and a red skirt.)
Amanda: blue corduroy jumper, white blouse, blue hair ribbon, shiny Mary Jane
Max: alligator shirt, corduroys, docksiders
Next month: Happy birthday, Stacey

"It was definitely the time I threw up on my aunt's new Oriental carpet. It happened right after she said to me, 'Are you sure you can eat three hamburgers?'" BSC Super Special # 11: The Babysitters Remember (1994)

I even managed to get a Shannon quote into the title!

I loved this book when it came out. First, it had a shiny gold cover with embossed BSC signatures on it. Second, it came with a "gold" necklace with the BSC logo on it. I never wore it, because I was thirteen and didn't want anyone knowing I still liked the BSC, but I kept it in a jewelry box (I might even still have it somewhere...) But mostly I was just thrilled to read stories about the pasts of the babysitters. It was like watching a bunch of flashback episodes, each of the member's most vivid memory. Here's the list:
Kristy's ten, and she babysits for the first time. Not at all surprising.
Stacey finds out she has diabetes. Again, not surprising.
Claudia is in first grade and draws a butterfly as a self-portrait. Mimi comes to her defense with her teacher.
Jessi shares about when Squirt was born and she was the only one who could calm him down.
Logan, because he's lame, remembers meeting Mary Anne after moving from Louisville.
Mallory goes to meet her favorite author, and gets so star struck, or shy, or I'm not sure what, that she just stands there in tears and her mother has to tell the author her name and all that.
Shannon meets a new girl who almost prevents her from getting into the astronomy club (actually more interesting than it sounds.)
Even though Dawn isn't in Stoneybrook during this story, she still gets a memory--it's about how her parents got divorced.
Mary Anne's story is about how she assumes her babysitter is awful because most of her babysitters are awful. So Kristy starts a prank war with her, but she turns out to have a sense of humor and gets them back.
Interesting Tidbits

The cover is interesting. Not only does it show all the BSC members in their sleepwear, but I have to laugh a bit. Normally, in group shots, I can't be sure which is Stacey and which is Dawn. In this one, Dawn is in California, and Shannon's at the slumber party...and I can't tell the difference between Stacey and Shannon. (Plus MA's holding a teddy bear, which is mentioned in the text, because Kristy threw it at Jessi.)
The idea of finding their most vivid memory comes up because of a summer assignment the students at SMS were given to tell what they did on their summer vacation, and they start thinking of alternate assignments they could have been given. Mallory has actually been taking notes of everything that has gone on through the summer so she can remember it all. Claudia jokes it's a shame Mal is such a dork, but you know most of the audience was thinking the same thing.

Kristy tells the gang to be quiet at her party, because Nannie will come charging up the stairs. Shannon digs herself into a hole because she says she can't picture someone as old as Nannie charging anywhere. This starts a pillow fight that leads to Watson getting hit on the head when he comes to break things up.

In the photo for Kristy's story, she and David Michael are both wearing a turtleneck and sweatshirt.
Kristy says she disapproves of Claudia's junk food diet, but she doesn't seem to mind when she's eating it at meetings.

Kristy answers the phone one morning because she thinks it might be Mary Anne. But this is back when they were ten. Didn't MA's dad have pretty strict phone rules back then, like he did in the early books?
It's such a big deal that Kristy's allowed to watch DM all on her own at age ten, but later, in Kristy's autobiography book, she says that their mom would leave Charlie in charge of her and Sam right after the divorce...when he was ten.

Kristy's mom obviously doesn't completely trust her, as she calls to check up on Kristy several times, and has several other people also check up on them--Mrs. Newton, Mrs. Pike, Mary Anne's babysitter, and Mimi.
Laine is the leader of Stacey's group of friends, known as The Group. There's a new "opening" in the group because one of the members went off to boarding school in Massachusetts. I wonder if it's the same school Mal eventually goes to?

Stacey gets the new girl, Allison, invited to a sleepover with The Group, and of course, she has to be weird and ask for anchovies on the pizza.
Stacey wets the bed during the sleepover. She said it happened during a dream where she was drinking soda under a water fall.

When talking about the school year, Stacey says that she thought that the other kids must have thought diabetes was contagious, because they avoided her like the plague. Problem with that is, when Stacey was introduced, she had never told Laine or her other friends about her diabetes. So how did everyone else find out?
Claudia spelling: intersting, slumbar, deside, prety, desided, memary. She also uses think for thinking, have for having, their for there and cold for could. She has a couple run on sentences (something she doesn't usually do) and spells Jessi wrong.

Back in first grade, Kristy used to get into fights every day and forget to raise her hand in class. This is before her dad leaves so it's not as if she's acting up over that. I'm not sure if that's just supposed to be the younger version of her current personality or what.
Are we supposed to believe that Claudia listened to the instructions of how to make a self-portrait, and then, at age six, was abstract enough to draw a butterfly, with all that represents, as her portrait? I'd be more likely to believe she was just so excited about having art homework that she drew a butterfly so she could use all her colors.

Damn Claudia spells her own name wrong when she signs her self-portrait.
Jessi acknowledges the downside to having a close-knit neighborhood when she says that everyone knows each other's business. I appreciate that, because she always tries to make Oakley sounds like heaven.

Jessi's mom had lost a couple babies before she had Squirt. Is it wrong that I wonder if these were miscarriages or still births? She was far enough along to know the gender of both babies.
Jessi and Becca have to move and share a room, and their furniture won't all fit. They have to take various armchairs and lamps out of the room. How many kids do you know that have armchairs in their bedrooms?

Jessi's mom decides the baby is coming after she has ONE contraction. And her dad sends Jessi to pack a bag for her mom. Jessi freaks and tries to decide how much "big underwear" to put in it.
Aunt Cecelia comes to stay with Becca and Jessi while their mom has the baby, and asks for all kinds of birth details after Squirt arrives. She seems dissatisfied with the responses. I'm trying to figure out what could have set her off.

Each story starts off with a picture. Logan, in the picture for his story, looks EXACTLY like Zach Morris on early episodes of Saved By the Bell. And Mary Anne is taller than he is.
My second favorite moment of the whole book? When Logan and his family have a road trip to go from Louisville to Stoneybrook. On the first day of the trip, Kerry and Hunter are coloring, Logan is reading, and his mom is knitting while his dad drives. By the end of the trip, mom's driving, Kerry and Hunter are fighting, with dad refereeing, and Logan is coloring in one of Hunter's coloring books: "Baby Animals on the Farm."

For some reason, when Logan's mom is showing him around town, they see the movie "theatre." I guess Stoneybrook has British spelling...except Claudia, who doesn't have any spelling.
Logan worries about a pimple on his chin. So far, all the pimple mentions I can remember in these books are in super specials. Abby's got them in the Europe special, and Kristy's got one in the summer camp special.

Heh, the first person to introduce herself to Logan is Stacey, which is consistent from #10, when she's the one to tell MA who he is. But he can't remember her name.
Mary Anne outfit: jumper, white t-shirt, knee socks.

Mallory's story happens when she was ten, and she refers to her issues with her babysitters. On one hand, she loved them; on the other hand, she was embarrassed to be babysat by them. I can see this. While I think that ten year olds (and eleven year olds, for that matter) need babysitters, I probably wouldn't hire a twelve year old to babysit for them. The youngest babysitter I can picture hiring, ever, would be a high schooler, and the youngest I could picture hiring for a ten year old would be sixteen or so.
Mary Anne actually corrects Mal's grammar.

Mallory's outfit to meet her favorite author: flowered vest, pink turtleneck, navy skirt, navy tights, slip on shoes. It was what she was wearing in the school picture she sends the author in a letter.
Shannon's story isn't really a flashback, because it happens during eighth grade. But since we get to see so little Shannon, I'm okay with it.

Shannon refers to pretty much exactly what I referred to in my last entry. She says that even though her parents live in the same house, it's as if "they lack each other." She's pretty aware of what's going on with her parents. It's kind of the opposite of what's coming up in the Dawn section.
The new girl causing all the trouble in Shannon's school is named Sally. Interestingly, one of Stacey's New York friends is also named Sally. How many 30 somethings do you know named Sally? The only three literary Sallys I'm really familiar with are Sally Brown from Peanuts (started in the 50s), Sally from Encyclopedia Brown (started in the 50s) and Judy Blume's titular Sally J. Freedman (which is set in the 40s).

Oooh, here's my favorite part! Shannon's mom insists on photographing Shannon, Tiffany and Maria in their school uniforms every year on the first day of school. (Why? They wear uniforms! It's not as if they're wearing special first day of school outfits.) And, as I mentioned last week, Shannon once took the photos and "zoomed through them like a flip book" to see if she could see them age.
Mistake! When Shannon gets on the school bus, new girl Sally is chatting to Shannon's friends, Lindsey and Meg, so Shannon sits with her other friends, Polly and Greer. Sally can barely squeeze out a hi to Shannon, and then the book says she goes back to Lindsey and Greer (not Meg). Shannon says she only talks to Polly and Greer during the whole bus ride, so obviously this is an error.

Another mistake? Shannon says she doesn't understand why Sally has glommed so completely onto Meg, and has only one new friend, when she could have made friends with the whole group and had four friends. But there are five girls: Polly, Greer, Lindsey, Meg and Shannon. Was Shannon not counting herself? Or did she mean four more friends?
Each of the BSC members has some reason why her story is so important. Kristy because babysitting is her life, Claud because hers is about art, etc. Shannon's is important (and therefore vivid) because she nearly blew a test because she was excited about being "chosen" to be friends with Sally after both Greer and Meg have been dismissed by her. She decided the way Sally treated people made her mad, so she was weary of other new people...including Kristy. Explains her behavior in next week's book (#11) a little better.

Dawn's parents have been fighting more and more as time goes by, and she's been noticing the fights have been escalating. Yet she's totally shocked when her parents get divorced. Jeff knows what his parents are going to say (or at least has a clue) because he puts his hands over his ears and doesn't want to hear. Is Dawn supposed to seem naïve or optimistic? I think I'm going to just go for stupid.
During a really nasty fight, Sharon accuses Jack of being a liar, and says she knows he's lying and she won't tolerate it. Is it totally wrong that I really, reaaaaallly want to know what he did? Did he cheat on her? That's what it sounds like!

Dawn actually acts her age at one point during the book. She, Sharon and Jeff have just arrived in Connecticut and are living with Granny and Pop-Pop temporarily. Dawn wants to call Sunny, but Sharon tells her no, because she doesn't want Granny and Pop-Pop or the Winslows to have to pay for it. Dawn says, (paraphrase), "Well, you took my dad away, and now you're taking Sunny away!" It was the most 12 year old thing she had said in the whole story.
In the picture for MA's story, she, Claudia and Kristy are sitting at the table at age eight. You know which one's Kristy because she has a backwards baseball cap on (and a turtleneck under a sweatshirt, natch). But lil' Mary Anne is wearing pants, something Richard wouldn't have allowed. Her hair is also loose. (Lil' Claud is wearing a polo shirt and cuffed jeans, in case you must know.)

One of Mary Anne's babysitters smells like Ivory soap. A) Better that than B.O. B) How does MA know what brand of soap she smells like? Even her cookies "taste" like Ivory. (Unless MA's had to "eat soap" or "had her mouth washed out" for saying naughty words, how does she know what soap tastes like?)
Oh, AMM. You and your ghostwriters love cheesy endings. (BTW, this book doesn't appear to have been ghostwritten. Shocking!) In the end, Dawn calls and asks the BSC members what their most exciting day was. And Kristy starts thinking about that and the book ends in a fade out...

Next week: #11 Kristy and the Snobs

Monday, March 11, 2013

"Until now, it had been hard to distinguish Jenny from lace curtains." BSC #38 Kristy's Mystery Admirer (1990)

So obviously Shannon is not the A player in this story. But out of all the ones I have, it's the one with the most Shannon in it. I know there are a couple of other Shannon-related (sub)plots (#61, #112) but I've had no luck finding them at thrift stores...yet.

So it's Halloween yet again in Stoneybrook, and Kristy keeps getting unsigned letters. First, they're sweet and love letter-y; then they start getting weird and stalkerish. Eventually it turns out that Bart wrote the nice letters, and Cokie, after hearing about the love letters, wrote the creepy ones. But all is well after Kristy and Bart go to a dance together.
Meanwhile, the Bashers and Krushers have a "World Series" which consists of one game (not a series). The Krushers rally hard and win, because they have can-do spirit.

Interesting tidbits

On the first page of the story, Kristy announces straight out she has a crush on Bart.
Bart wants to talk about something other than softball, so he asks Kristy how the BSC members are. He couldn't talk about movies, or television, or what he's taking in school? (On the interesting side, Kristy says she's worried about Stacey because she's not looking well, which sets up #43 Stacey's Emergency, a whole five books early.)

Nannie doesn't act like a grandmother because she wears pants. I guess neither of my grandmothers acted like grandmothers either...
Wow, just tons of foreshadowing. Kristy also mentions she thinks Logan and Mary Anne are having problems, setting up #41 Mary Anne Versus Logan.

I'm always amused when the BSC uses words and then defines them. Honestly, even nine year olds know how to use the dictionary, if they can't figure things out through the context clues. (I'm waiting for the books to start reading like a Lemony Snicket book.)
Kristy uses the BSC slang distant about five times in three paragraphs. It's as if the ghostwriter forgot how to use his thesaurus.

Ahh, Kristy describes herself as a slob. I still don't think that's right. There's a difference between being sloppy/messy and not really caring about clothes.
Jessi jokes that the head fell off the Barbie in her Kid-kit, but Barbies CAN lose their heads. I found that out after I smacked my sister with my favorite one. (I still kept the doll, broken neck and all, for a couple of years.)

In this one, Shannon's mom works full time.

So many inappropriate jokes spring to mind: Shannon calls Kristy to tell her that a letter for Kristy covered in hearts was delivered to the Kilbournes'. Kristy hides to take the call, and Shannon says, "Kristy, would you get out of that closet?"

When describing Shannon, Kristy says Dawn is gorgeous, Stacey is attractive, and Shannon is interesting-looking.

For once, the picture on the cover is something that actually happens in the book (on page 35-6).
Shall I type out the notes for you? Here's the first one: "Dear Kristy, I think you are beautiful. And you're the nicest girl I know. I would like to go steady with you. I wish I could tell you this in person. Love, your mystery admirer"

Nice, Kristy. She says Shannon has had millions of boyfriends and gone on plenty of dates. It makes her sound like the thirteen-year-old version of slutty.

Add to the earlier dirty jokes. Kristy thinks the letter looks like it's from a girl because it's covered in hearts and flowers. Shannon is like, a girl who wants to go steady with you?

Letter number dos! "Dearest Kristy, I can't stop thinking about you. Maybe I'm in love with you. I don't know. I've never been in love before. You are as beautiful as a snow-covered mountain. Love, your mystery admirer" Kristy says the last part is a little flowery, but no one except her mom has called her beautiful before.

And number drei: "Dear Kristy, I love you, I love you, I love you. Love (get the picture?), your mystery admirer"

Apparently, most of the BSC members don't really know Shannon too well at this point. Stacey and Shannon bond during a Krushers practice.

At this point, Maria is not athletic at all--a far cry from the swim champion in the last book, who's thinking about training for a triathlon.

Oh, Stacey. Kristy and Bart walked home together and decided to have a "World Series." Kristy doesn't tell Stacey this; she asks her to guess what she and Bart decided. Stacey guesses they're going to elope.

Kristy's being immature and disgusting at the lunch table, and Dawn says that she's surprised that, of the party at the table, Kristy would be the one with the admirer. A) Dawn's just jealous. B) It wouldn't be entertaining if the most likely person had an admirer. (Dawn is the last of the eighth grade BSC members at this point to get kissed. Only Mallory, and eventually Abby, haven't been kissed when the series ends.)

Kristy shocks Stacey when she asks Bart to the dance. Claudia and Stacey are hoping on various guys to go with, and Dawn gets all defensive when she decides to go alone. (What an individual!)

I know it's been said before, by many other people, but it's really annoying when BSC refer to an event/holiday that happened while they were in eighth grade, when they're getting ready to celebrate the same event/holiday AGAIN in eighth grade. In this one, it's when they refer back to the events of #17, when they humiliated Cokie on Halloween. In Shannon's story, it was the Mother's Day in #24.

Nannie leaves Kristy in charge in of DM and EM. Emily cries when Nannie leaves, and then asks for a cookie. DM pretends he misses Nannie, and then asks for a cookie also.

Scary letter number one: "I love you, I love you, I love you, but beware. Love is fickle. So are friends. Watch out for your mystery admirer."

Before the mean note shows up, everyone but Kristy thinks Bart is behind the notes. After the mean one, Shannon comes over again to look at the note. Kristy's sure Bart sent them now, and Shannon isn't. I guess Kristy thinks Bart is bipolar, or crazy or something.

Vanessa, Haley and Charlotte decide to dress up as a threesome for the Krusher cheerleaders. The triplets suggest the three little pigs and three little kittens. Instead, they decide on the Three Stooges. The costumes keep falling off while they cheer.

Armageddon! Kristy doesn't call a meeting to order at exactly five thirty! The world is ending!

Second scary note: "Violets are blue, blood is red, I'll remember you when you're dead."

And the third: "I want to be with you forever--eternal togetherness. So I'm coming to get you."

Kristy starts imagining all the various ways a psycho could kidnap her in the middle of the night. Later, she shares her concerns with Shannon, who dismisses them, because if someone was going to kidnap to get a ransom out of Watson, they'd go for one of his real kids. (Earlier in the story, Mal references "The Ransom of Red Chief" wherein a kidnap ransom is never paid because the kidnappee is so awful. That's exactly what would happen if someone kidnapped Karen.)

Shannon decides to watch a Basher-Krusher game, and gets hit in the head by a fly ball. Buddy, who hit the ball, comes over and develops an instant crush on Shannon. (She asks to keep the ball that hit her.) It would have been cute if they had kept that up, with his mom calling and asking specifically for Shannon.

Ew. Next icky note: "Beware. I'm coming sooner than you think. And once I find you, this is all that will be left of Kristin Amanda Thomas." Inside the envelope? Nail clippings. Kristy saves them in case she needs them "for evidence."

Suzi keeps teasing Buddy about his crush. He shuts her up by threatening to reveal something that we (and MA, babysitting them) never get to hear about.

Worried that Bart's to blame for the creepiness, Kristy stops talking to him. Kristy even tells Sam to tell Bart (over the phone) that Kristy went to Europe.

When Bart shows up at her house, she takes him up to her room....seems so wrong. Nannie's home at the time, so why would she allow that?

When they get up in the room, Kristy's relieved it's fairly neat. She says she's not exactly a slob...didn't she say earlier that she WAS a slob?

Kristy hides the letters in the pages of The Cat Age My Gym Suit, by Paula Danziger.

I read this for the first time when I was ten, and I knew who sent the nasty notes then. It didn't hurt that, as I've said before, these books are so obvious on the foreshadowing. There was no reason to mention Cokie and last Halloween except to bring her in as a suspect. Yet Kristy keeps saying she doesn't have any enemies.

I love how BSC holidays always happen on weekends.

I find it so convenient that Charlie and, sometimes, Sam, are always willing to help out with things like driving the BSC everywhere, manning refreshment stands, and so on.

Cokie and her cronies show up to watch the "World Series." Because they're almost as lame as Sam and Charlie. And of course, Cokie lets slip that she wrote the scary letters.

Shannon tells Kristy she's weird, and Kristy takes it as a compliment.

Karen asks Kristy if Bart is her boyfriend, and Kristy says she doesn't know. This cracks me up, because I recently saw a Little Sister book where Bart is babysitting Karen and Andrew (odd, huh?) and Karen thinks Bart is in LUV with her.

Stacey gets up the nerve to ask a boy to the dance, while Claudia waits for the guy she likes to ask her out. This says something about the two of them.

There's an actual band playing at the dance. We didn't even have bands play at my high school.

Shannon dismisses all sixth grade boys as "clods" (actually Jessi's word.) Half of them have hit growth spurts and don't know what to do with their bodies, and the other half are still really short. I remember this being true, but closer to eighth or ninth grade.

Bart kisses Kristy on the cheek, and Mallory announces it to Shannon (who demands dance details at the slumber party after). When Kristy asks her how she knows, MA starts giggling and says the whole school saw it.

Shannon writes a really goofy note threatening Kristy, using the letters cut out of magazines. She says it took her all night.

Even more lame is the letter Kristy sends Cokie, signed "Your mystery perspirer."

One final thing about the book. This is one of the original ones, printed back in 1990 and so the ads at the back are awesomely vintage. First, you can get your 1990-1991 BSC school planner! Relive your childhood (assuming you were even born then.) Also, they advertise the BSC game, which I used to own (I see both that and the mystery game at thrift stores a lot). Finally, they have the VHS of the TV show. I have to admit, I've only ever seen one episode of the show, but I do know large chunks of the theme song.

Claudia: off the shoulder sweatshirts, dayglo high tops, cut up jeans and friendship bracelets

Dance wear! Kristy and Bart go as lobsters; MA and Logan, a witch and Frankenstein; Dawn, Alice in Wonderland; Stacey wears "regular clothes;" Mallory, clown (no mention of Ben's outfit).

"A big baby, huh? Sounds like a job for the BSC." BSC Special Edition: Shannon's Story (1994)

This story is the one that made me realize that Shannon, who seemed so normal because you only read about her here and there, was just as screwed up as the rest of the BSC (well, maybe not Dawn).

The plot? There's not much too it. Shannon's mom feels left out now that her daughters are growing up, so she's up in Shannon's grill all the time (sorry, just had to put it that way.) When she decides to chaperone Shannon's French class trip to Paris, Shannon purposely flunks the test so she's not eligible to attend the trip. While her mom is gone, Shannon realizes how boring mom's life is and they all decide to do more stuff together. I think it lasts only a little while, otherwise #112 would probably never happen.

Subplot? Even less exciting. Mother's Day is coming up again, and the BSC decides to hold a gift-athon and a softball game, moms v. kids.

Interesting tidbits

On the way home from school, Shannon, Maria and Tiffany are all sitting together. Shannon and Maria play Gross Food, which is pretty self-explanatory.

When I was writing the intro, I was trying to place this book in the series. I know it's after #70 where the subplot is all about Tiffany not having a hobby and deciding to take up gardening--something that's mentioned on the second page here--but before #73, the last book I read. I'm wondering if it's before or after Dawn decided to do something really stupid in response to her parents' actions (#72). That's what I was thinking of, by the way, when I said that Shannon's not as screwed up as Dawn. But come to think about it, their actions are pretty similar. Shannon does not steal her mom's credit card, however.

It's neat getting to hear about how Shannon's family all resemble one another. If I remember correctly, normally in the books, we just get to hear how Shannon is blonde, has a ski-slope nose, and wears mascara every day. Here, we hear how her face resembles her father's, and how Tiffany and her mom are also blonde, but they wear it short and have long, dark eyelashes. Maria has dark hair and looks like their dad. (Someone needs to talk to the person who designed the cover. It shows three girls, presumably Shannon and her sisters, dressing up Astrid in clothes. But all three are blonde. And Tiffany, the one with short hair on the right, has dreadful fashion sense. She's wearing a white sweater with red and green designs and a purple skirt.)

Shannon's dad is a lawyer. So are Mallory's dad and Mary Anne's dad. Hmm.

Heh. Shannon’s parents call her Shanny, and she's all embarrassed about it, like Dawn and Stacey get about their "baby nicknames."

Ummm...Shannon gets mad at her mom for not remember her BSC meeting, and she says this: "And why did she sound so critical, as if my meeting was some weird indulgence of base desires?" I'm not sure if they're trying to make Shannon sounds super smart, but it just makes her sound weird.

Having Shannon give the club intros is a little weird, mostly because she's not normally there for meetings, yet she uses the exact same phrases to describe everything. (Lazy, lazy, lazy)

Claudia says she's multi-lingual (how does she know that word?) because she can say yes in Spanish, French and Japanese. But apparently, not English.

When she has breakfast alone during a lazy Saturday, Shannon takes all the flavors of jam out of the fridge and starts playing with them. But at least she admits what she's doing. (How many flavors of jam do they have, anyway?) Then she drinks some coffee that's mostly milk.

Tiffany is growing sugar snap peas, and Shannon wonders what Claudia would think of them, since they're sweet.

A sign of how screwed up Shannon's family is: when her dad comes home (first time you've seen him all book, and it's page 48), Shannon tells him Maria's at a swim meet and Tiffany's in her garden. And he's surprised that a) Maria has a meet and b) Tiffany has a garden. He apparently spends so much time working he doesn't know anything about his daughters.

Mrs. Kilbourne buys her and Shannon matching dresses. What about her other daughters? They might not make them in Maria's size (they're Laura Ashley, of course, and she's eight) but Tiffany must be wearing adult sizes by age eleven, unless she's particularly small.

Speaking of Tiffany being eleven, I'm still trying to figure out why she's still in elementary school and needs a babysitter at that age. Maybe SDS puts sixth graders in elementary school. (My school did back in the day.) But I'm pretty sure that, in #11, when Shannon and Tiffany are introduced, Shannon says Tiffany babysits. I remember being confused by this as a kid.

Heh heh heh. I'm always into making words into adverbs when they aren't. Shannon says that Claudia talked with her mouth full and it came out "gummy wormily." At work I spend a lot of time doing things BOPUSily and Tervisily.

Back to the placement of this story. Mallory is back after having mono, and Claudia references the time she and Stacey coached the Krushers. The former happens in #73, and the latter in #74, which I didn't read until 2009. That means this book must have been the last one I ever bought as a child.

Mrs. Kilbourne shows up at Kristy's during a Mother's Day planning meeting, and starts eating pizza with them. The most amusing part is that, when she compliments the pizza, Jessi tells her it's so good because it has green AND black olives.

When Shannon finds out her mom is going on the Paris trip, she says she has to resist the urge for a Claire Pike style tantrum. Nofe-air!

Claudia spelling time: surprize, giftathone, terific, exxcept, brokken, refreshmints, turst, Jacky.

Apparently Jackie once hit a baseball and knocked a branch off a tree, which removed a rearview mirror off a car. Now, how'd that happen? Rearview mirrors are inside cars. Was it a convertible, or did they mean a side view mirror?

During the Mother's Day gift-athon, Jackie knocks over a table of refreshments all over Stacey, who, in trying to prevent the mess, accidentally sprays pink lemonade all over everyone. This I would pay to see.

Shannon lies to her mom that the Laura Ashley dress is at the cleaners. A) Would Shannon really take her own clothes to the cleaners? B) Why would she launder it when she'd never worn it?

All hell breaks loose when Mr. Kilbourne comes home from golfing on Mother's Day. He comes with a gift for the occasion, but it comes with a card that says Happy Birthday, and Mrs. Kilbourne realizes he kept it in his office as an emergency gift for some time when he forgot a special occasion. Understandably, she's ticked.

Shannon's family reminds me of one I knew growing up, where the parents thought it would be better for the kids if they waited until they were all grown and out of the house before they divorced, so the parents were always fighting or cold or fake friendly with one another.

When Shannon decides to flunk her French final, she does it on a whim at the last second, which makes it more understandable and sane. If she'd planned it, I'd be a lot more worried about it. (What I'm wondering is, how big of a percentage is the final exam to her grade? It must be a really high amount, because she had an A prior to the exam, and her final grade, not the exam grade, is what counts for getting to go to Paris.)

Mrs. Kilbourne hints that she knows Shannon flunked on purpose, and she sets Shannon up with a bunch of responsibilities for while she's gone in exchange for that.

Apparently, the dress code goes out the window on the last day at SDS. The principal wears a hat shape like a pickle, and the math teacher wears a shirt that says 2 + 2 = What?

Shannon mentions the first day of school photos her mom takes; these are mentioned in the memory super special and my favorite moment in that whole book is when Shannon says she once put them together like a flip book and tried to watch herself age. (I'll be blogging that one next week, so stay tuned.)

When Mrs. Kilbourne leaves, she tells Shannon to be careful. Shannon imagines that her mother boobytrapped the house.

Mallory gets Tiffany to help with refreshments at the softball game. Since Tiffany still seems sort of mopey and depressed, I kinda wish that she and Mal had become friends. They seem like they would get along pretty well.

This moment amused me. Jessi and Stacey are watching Marnie and Lucy while their moms and big sibs play baseball. Marnie wakes up from her nap and sees Lucy and says, "Baby!" Since Marnie seems to be a baby herself, it was cute.

There were a few outfits in this one, but I didn't get them. Most of them were what the moms were wearing during the softball game (Mrs. Barrett in sweatpants! Horrors!) and then they mention Stacey wearing all black at one point, and that's about it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Happy Birthday, Shannon!

It's March, which means it's time to celebrate Shannon! I always wanted to BE Shannon when I was a kid. Until I read Shannon's Story, I thought she was the most sane of all the BSC members.

I was going to have #11 Kristy and the Snobs ready for you for today, but my Mistletoe passed away on Friday. For those of you who remember, #11 is when Kristy and company take Louie to be put to sleep and get Shannon the puppy. I took Missy to be put to's too close for comfort. I'm hoping to have it by the end of the month for you. So, by the end of this weekend, I should have Shannon's Story ready, and maybe a superspecial....we shall see.