Wednesday, October 9, 2013

“Never been in a food fight? Does your lunchroom serve edible food or something?” BSC #90: Welcome to the BSC, Abby (1995)

This is Abby’s first book and it tries to cram a lot into one plot. First, it’s sort of a get to know you for Abby and the Stevensons: we learn about her dad and his death, learn her mom is a workaholic because it distracts her from missing dad (okay, that part is inferred), and that Abby, Anna and their mom are not super close. Meanwhile, there’s a carnival for the arts that the BSC and all the BSC families are involved in. Abby’s fam tentatively agrees to have a booth. When the train they believe their mom is on derails, Abby and Anna pull together. Of course their mom is okay, and the three of them address their dad’s belongings together.

Oh, I almost forgot. Kristy doesn’t trust Abby—it’s been a while since I read #89, but if I remember correctly, Abby kind of grated on her when they first met—because Abby has an asthma attack during a sitting job. She keeps trying to give Abby’s sitting jobs to other people. But she gets over it with time. It’s not really a plot line so much as Kristy being bossy.

Interesting Tidbits

The cover art must have been done before it was decided that Abby had no sense of fashion. She actually looks cute on the cover and very fashionable for that era. (In case you were wondering, those are the Papadakises on the cover. You can tell because all of their pets are represented also. Man, Sari has a lot of hair!)

Pretty much the very first thing is Abby making fun of Kristy’s family and their habit of nicknaming their cars.

Abby’s dad was an environmental engineer.

Apparently, Abby’s family has to order two pizzas even though there are only three of them. This is because Abby’s allergic to everything Anna likes on her pizza.

It’s interesting getting a different backstory than you usually get to read. But it’s then ruined by Abby using the same codified language to describe the BSC and its members. Seriously, if they brought in a new member to make the BSC fresh and interesting, they pretty well failed.

Ha! When describing the pairs of friends, Abby says that Mary Anne and Kristy both have blended families and ghosts. I never thought about that, probably because I don’t believe in ghosts. (It says something that the two people who believe in ghosts are Karen, who is seven and you could almost forgive for it, and Dawn.)

It seems that Claudia and Stacey are knockout babes. Huh.

Best. Description. Ever. “…and looks great in combinations of colors and styles that no one else would be caught dead in.” Hmmm. I wonder who Abby is talking about….

Abby asks the question I’ve always wondered: “I wonder if I would feel flattered if someone named a dog after me.”

Abby’s only been in the club for five minutes, and she already wants to make banners. Greaaaaat.

Don’t the Korman kids go to private school? Why would they be involved in a public school carnival? (The book claims that the carnival is for “all the schools in Stoneybrook”, but that makes zippo sense.)

I’m trying to figure this one out. Abby describes the carnival to her mom and says it’s for a good cause. Anna says, “Do we have to?” because she doesn’t want to participate. And then Mrs. Stevenson decides to help, but she says this right as she agrees: “I see your point, Anna.” Is this a mistake on the ghostwriter’s part, or Mrs. Stevenson’s part (which Abby would have called her on) or am I just reading the whole thing wrong?

Also, if Anna’s so into music, why does she dislike wanting to support the arts so much?

I love how, when BSC charges are told that they can’t do something without an adult, BSC members always decide they count as an adult. I mean, it didn’t bother me when Mallory decided she counted as an adult for going into the attic, but Kristy’s watching a nine year old and seven year old and decides she counts as an adult for hammering and sawing.

I always forget the Kormans are Jewish. Melody’s writing fortunes for her fortune telling booth and writes “You will get lots of presents for Hanukkah.” (My favorite fortune? “If your goldfish goes missing, avoid sushi for dinner.”)

Ooh! Melody likes to wear mismatched socks. She’s super trendy!

Abby’s dad was at Woodstock. This was 1995, so it had been 26 years since Woodstock. I don’t know how old he was supposed to be then, but let’s say he was 18. That would make him—had he still been alive—44 years old at the time, meaning that Abby and Anna were born when he was in his early thirties. That works.

Apparently, Marilyn and Carolyn are really close to Mary Anne…because she introduced them to Elvira the goat.

Abby says M&C have identical hair, but didn’t Carolyn cut hers short and Marilyn grow hers out? Sorta like Abby and Anna. I’m almost certain about this because that’s when Mal gets a haircut too. The cover of #66 backs me up, too.

The Arnolds have a veterinarian? Do they even have a pet?

Darn you, Shannon and Claudia. Karen decides to paint the BSC booth (being built by Charlie and Sam, because…well, what else would they be doing with their afterschool hours?) She’s really just using it as an excuse to exact control and be bossy, but Shannon tells her that color is powerful sales tool and Claudia says the color makes an artistic statement. They’re both right, but why did they have to go and vindicate Karen?

Heh. Later, Karen calls DM David Michelangelo.

Oooh, Claudia spelling time! Bild, carnavil, complaning, chalenge. She also uses pikes for Pikes and Im for I’m.

Abby’s booth, which she is working by herself, involves children decorating cupcakes. Brave girl. Later, Mal and Jessi relieve her so she can enjoy herself. She buys ride tickets from Kristy, who says, “One ticket for the girl wearing the food.” (First time, I wrote ticked for the girl wearing foot.)

The Pike kids have a booth selling crafts, and Abby finds them all wearing price stickers. I wonder how much the Pikes are asking for their kids. I bet they’re going realllllly cheap.

Abby walks back up to her booth after leaving Anna alone there the next morning and finds Anna and Shannon fighting with whipped cream cans. I liked this because usually Shannon is so studious and serious that she’s almost boring.

Mistake! Abby overhears an emergency announcement of the train derailment. Earlier in the chapter, she said her mother was on the 12:45 train. She’s standing next to someone who mentions how the 11:45 derailed, and she replies, “the 12:45 from where?” The two sentences are literally one line apart. I don’t know how they missed that.

Mrs. Stevenson has a “cellular phone” but doesn’t usually carry it.

Abby makes a bad pun about how sweet being ‘the Cupcake Family’ was. And I growled loud enough to scare away my cat. Sorry, Bella!

Blah. I think it would have been awesome if the Dads in the BSC-verse had had some more creative names instead of all being named John/Jon/Jack. Where are the Melvins and Ernests and other old man names?

I actually laughed at this part. Kristy doesn’t call the meeting to order at the second it turns 5:30 (which I actually find highly suspect anyway) and is outraged when Abby calls her on it. But then Abby asks if Kristy’s getting a little behind and points to Kristy’s butt. It’s actually not funny until Mary Anne snorts and sprays potato chips everywhere. I think it’s mostly the idea of MA snorting that makes it funny.

And Abby says that she didn’t really feel like part of the club until she talked on the phone with Dawn. For some reason, that makes me like Abby less. Hmmm.


Marilyn and Carolyn: overalls, denim work shirts, and high top sneakers

Next week: I was going to do a mystery next week, but I think we’ll wait until the last week of the month for that. I’m going to jump ahead to #116 Abby and the Best Kid Ever, instead. Part of me wants to force my friend/hetero-lifemate/pseudo-sister Tessie to read it with me, because she’s a social worker. But I think I’ll save that for when I blog the original Lou book, #62. She can be a guest blogger!

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