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.
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.