Sunday, November 3, 2013

"You're getting in the way of science!" BSC #72: Dawn and the We Heart Kids Club

Before we begin our regularly scheduled snark, I need to point out a few things. This book is half the reason I quit reading the series. It is utterly, utterly ludicrous. Even as a 13 year old I knew how crazy and wrong Dawn stealing her dad’s credit card and flying across the country was. I remember finishing this book and going…WTF? Not only did Dawn throw the world’s most expensive and illegal temper tantrum, but the whole plot is just so…out there. I remember being really annoyed that Mr. Schafer would not only break off his engagement but his whole relationship because of it.

This brings me to point number two. I’ve finally figured out what it is that bugs me about Dawn. First of all, by this point in the series, she’d become a caricature. Plus, she’s a total hypocrite—either that or she’s got all her friends totally snowed. They describe Dawn as an individual who doesn’t care what others think about her, but she spends a whole heap of time being insecure about just about everything. I like the Dawn of the California Diaries so much better, even though she’s all preachy and holier than thou. At least she openly talks about her insecurities.

So I’ve pretty well spoiled the important parts of the plot for you. The We Heart Kids Club gets publicity and starts having problems because of lack of organization. They finally pull their poop together and start having more structure to their club. This leads into the Kristy subplot, wherein she’s jealous of the W3KC (the not-so-convenient acronym) and tries to get publicity for the BSC.

The other, personal plot is the one I mentioned above. Mr. Schafer gets engaged to his girlfriend Carol, and Dawn somehow interprets this to mean that her dad doesn’t want her around. So she runs away from home, to Connecticut. When she gets shipped right back to California, dad and Carol break up and Dawn (rightly) feels responsible.

Interesting tidbits

The cover of this book cracks me up. All the girls look the same, except Maggie. I have a hard time remembering she dressed all punk in the BSC books after picturing her as she is in the California Diaries—dressing retro, with a Daddy’s little girl haircut, singing in a band and being anorexic….  Add to that the fact that they all look sunburned and one of them is wearing socks with her beach attire and I just don’t know what to think.

Dawn thinks “being bicoastal” sounds glamorous, and she says that having friends on both sides of the country is great. I think it sounds miserable. No matter where you choose to be, you’re missing someone you love.

Stephie calls Joanna’s boyfriend a hunk, and then asks if it means something good.

Oh, shut up Dawn. You’re Stephie’s babysitter, not her parent. If Stephie’s dad says she can bake a cake, then let her bake the cake. Quit complaining about how much sugar is in it. You don’t have to eat it!

I always forget how much I love Jeff until he shows up in the book telling awful jokes.

I’m totally embarrassed to be reading this. Dawn mentions how young Carol tries to be even though she’s thirty-two (translation: old). Makes me feel ancient…

Although, Carol does say that the chimichangas smell bodacious. I didn’t even use that word back when it was hip.

Mary Anne is reading Julie of the Wolves. Sounds strange that someone who reads Wuthering Heights would read that. I think I read that in fifth grade.

Why do all the (former) hippies in these books have ridiculously named kids? I know some hippies gave their kids goofy names, but I think most of them didn’t (especially if their kids got named in the seventies and eighties). My friend Moni (whom I’ve mentioned before) had hippies for parents, and while she does have a brother named Moses Freedom, most of the family has (relatively) normal names, if you can consider Shemona normal.

Did you know Maggie has had dinner with Keanu Reeves? I think that’s mentioned in most of the California-based books.

Heh. After Stephie uses a word she doesn’t know what it means, Dawn does the same thing with the word indisposed. (And yes, she uses it correctly.)

How does one “grunt politely”? I’d think that by definition grunting is rude.

All the girls are drooling over the photographer who accompanies the reporter. He has a ponytail and “luscious” brown eyes. Umm, hot?

The article is…uh…interesting. It describes Dawn as “a silken-haired beauty with a laugh like pealing bells.” While that’s nice, what does it have to do with her as a babysitter?

I’m not even going to describe the television interview the W3KC gets, other than to mention that the reporter has a bald spot that gets covered in spray paint prior to going on air.

Carol gives Dawn a director’s chair with a visor and sunglasses. Ditch the sunglasses and she’s Kristy.

When the W3KC gets all the publicity, they start getting tons of new clients and decide to actually write down all their jobs. That’s when Maggie discovers she’s double booked herself…and Dawn discovers that the record calendar Sunny’s using is from last year.

This part was funny, though. Sunny asks Jill to spell her new client’s unusual last name, and then asks Maggie what her new client’s name is. Maggie replies, “Smith, S-M-I-T-H.” And Sunny just kinda rolls her eyes at her.

Dawn wants the club to come up with a few rules to prevent the kind of issues they’ve been having. All they manage to come up with is a club handshake. Honestly, that sounds more realistic out of thirteen year olds than anything the BSC does.

I always hate reading the subplots where Kristy is jealous. She’s beyond obnoxious in those cases. In this book, she spends the whole entire time trying to get the same level of publicity for the BSC that the W3KC got and it keeps backfiring. (Stacey writes Dawn a letter in which she refers to this as the “Kristy Crisis.”)

Shannon thinks Dawn is telegenic. She has to explain what that means to Claudia, who thought she meant telepathic. (I don’t know why, but I always love when Shannon shows up in the story…even though she basically just spends chunks of time making Claudia feel stupid.)

Every now and then, they remember the bit from early on about Jessi wanting to be a comedian and give her something almost funny to say. When Claudia remembers she put some Reeces Pieces under the mattress, she makes MA get off the bed so she can retrieve them. MA mentions she thought the bed felt lumpy, and Jessi says, “Mary Anne Spier, the princess and the pieces.” Hey, she’s funnier than Jeff, who’s also trying to be a comedian.

There’s another almost-plot thrown in where Stephie wishes she had a mom. The main reason seems to be that a mom would buy her shoelaces without her having to ask for them. I know that’s just symbolic of a mom, and that’s actually pretty deep coming out of an eight year old. It bugs me that it’s put out there but never dealt with…I mean, Dawn can’t solve Stephie’s problem—her mom’s still going to be dead no matter what—but maybe she should say something to Stephie’s dad or nanny or someone?

Apparently, Carol doesn’t usually wear makeup. Man, if I ever start dating an older man with kids and saying bodacious, I could be Carol.

Jeff and Dawn are each given a small amount of wine to drink during the engagement-announcement dinner. Jeff decides to gulp his, while Dawn has the sense to sip.

I just love how Dawn decides that her dad getting engaged means she’s not wanted. It’s a totally irrational leap. Dawn’s dad didn’t have to agree to let Dawn and Jeff live with him, and yet he did, despite the fact that Dawn’s waffling over where she wants to live had to have been disruptive for everyone.

Dawn thinks her letter sounds sneaky. I think it sounds bitchy and selfish and bratty and a lot of other worse things than sneaky. You be the judge:

Dear Dad,
I won’t be home from school because I’m on my way to Stoneybrook. But I’m sure you don’t mind. Now you can spend as much time as you want with your future wife. You won’t have a daughter around to cramp your style.
Good luck with your wedding plans. Tell Jeff I still love him. And don’t be upset. I’ll be with people who care about me.
Love, Dawn

Why does Dawn’s dad leave his credit cards all over the top of his dresser? If he doesn’t keep them in a wallet, wouldn’t inside the dresser be better? It’d be harder for Dawn to steal one that way.

Dawn leaves her house wearing a wide brimmed hat when she takes a taxi to the airport. She says the last thing she needs is a neighbor recognizing her. Honestly. Like the neighbor wouldn’t know who was getting into a taxi in Dawn’s front yard anyway.

Second best line in the whole book: “Suddenly, two thousand miles away, I felt pretty stupid.”

Dawn’s surprised when her mom meets her at the airport. Did she really think her dad wouldn’t call her? No matter how bad things have been between them, they’ve always seemed to put Dawn and Jeff first.

Sharon’s actually vibrating with anger when she picks Dawn up. I love it. (Is it really sad that I’m enjoying Dawn getting into trouble soooooooo much?)

What flight goes over both Kansas and Minnesota?

Ooh, Dawn’s dad has given me some more great adjectives to describe Dawn: Immature, irresponsible, underhanded, spoiled, reckless.

Aww, I really do love Jeff. He tells Dawn he doesn’t blame her for what she did, and says that if she’d told him, he would have gone with her. It’s nice to see such a close sibling relationship in these books.

Oooh, there’s a (scary) book idea! Fifty Shades of Kristy Thomas.

Third best line in the whole book: Dawn tells Stephie how the W3KC finally got their acts together. Stephie: “I can’t believe you girls are thirteen and you just thought of that.”

Jeff interrupts Dawn doing her homework to tell her more terrible jokes. She tells him to go call Robin Williams.

Best line of the whole book right here. Jack and Carol get into an argument. When they suddenly go quiet, Jeff says, “Did they kill each other?” Love, love, love Jeff.

I love this one so much more as an adult than I did as a teen.


Joanna (Stephie’s nanny): short, fringed skirt, tight beaded top

Rhonda Lieb (the reporter who interviews the W3KC): cotton cardigan, white t-shirt, gray stirrup pants

Mary Anne: LL Bean nightgown (yeppers)

Next week: I’ve decided that I’m going for cheese this month. I think next week will be #87 Stacey and the Bad Girls

Ps. All the 3s in the acronym originally had less than signs in front of them, but blogger considers them broken tags. Blah.

1 comment:

  1. "Oh, shut up Dawn. You’re Stephie’s babysitter, not her parent. If Stephie’s dad says she can bake a cake, then let her bake the cake. Quit complaining about how much sugar is in it. You don’t have to eat it!"

    And she was baking for her nanny's birthday! She was doing something really nice and thoughtful!