Monday, February 10, 2014

“We’re moving to Connecticut, Stacey, not the prairie.” BSC #0: The Summer Before (2010)

Okay, so obviously this is not book #0. But I didn’t want to mess up my system here.

As the brilliant title tells you, this is the story of the summer before the BSC started, leading straight into book #1 (I mean, they overlap.) Each girl has her own story, with Kristy, Claudia and Mary Anne’s combining in places and Stacey, who is still in NYC, is off on her own.

Kristy: Deals with her feelings about her dad being absent…and Watson being present. Hopes her dad will show up for her birthday

Mary Anne: Goes on her first baby-sitting jobs. Finds a box of her mother’s things in the attic and tries to learn as much as possible about her.

Claudia: Has a few dates with a boy named Frankie…whom Janine has a crush on. Feels distant from Kristy and MA.

Stacey: Deals with Laine. Moves to Stoneybrook.

Interesting Tidbits

They always describe Kristy as a slob, and yet, on her last day of sixth grade, she cleans her locker out—with actual cleaning supplies, not just by sweeping everything into the garbage can.

Kristy’s family has hoagies whenever Elizabeth and Watson go out. I love it. It actually sounds New England.

I kinda love Richard’s note to MA on the first day of summer vacation. I get that he wants her to check in any time she leaves the house, and it’s not too much to ask for her to do some laundry. But he also wants her to check in when she gets up in the morning (to make sure she didn’t die in her sleep, I guess?) Then he tells her to make sure to eat breakfast and lunch (because she might forget to eat?). And then he adds, “P.S. Have fun!” to the end of the note.

Mary Anne mentions American Girl dolls, bringing the stories into the present day. I don’t mind when they change money references or things like that, but this one feels off.

Janine: “School is my world, math feeds my soul.”

I can understand the Goldmans, who live next door to the Kishis, letting Janine and Claudia come over to swim every now and then. But can you imagine the liability of letting Claudia have a birthday party and invite a bunch of teens the Goldmans’ don’t know to come over?

Heh. Claudia muses over why it’s ‘Goldmans’ instead of ‘Goldmen.’

Claudia spelling: She is writing a ‘geust list’ for her birthday party. She has some boys and some ‘grils.’ (Most of the characters are familiar: Pete, Dorianne, Howie and Emily, but there is also Kurt, Darnell and Polly.

Stacey is eating meatless tofu sausage. I don’t remember her ever eating tofu before…

Mistake? Watson has an honor roll sticker on his car, and Kristy says Karen just finished kindergarten. But Karen is in kindergarten while Kristy’s in seventh grade, at least at the start. She gets skipped up a grade during that year.

Kristy says Watson has an enormous Charlie Brown head. Which I find more than a little hilarious and totally not the way I pictured Watson at all.

Kristy, Mary Anne and the Pikes play “tail trail,” which I have played many times but never called that. We usually played the geography version and made that awful old joke from Married…with Children. (“Alabamer…Daddy, R!”) It seems like a very stupid game to play with a bunch of kids too young to really spell, though.

Naked mole rat…someone’s been watching Kim Possible. (I've never even seen that, but I know what a naked mole rat is because of it.) It's the animal that wins the game of tail trail.

You can tell you’re on the east coast when they start advertising back to school sales in August. We always started school in mid-August in the Chicago suburbs and here in the Kansas City metro, the kids go back a week or two before that.

Mary Anne decides to hold a “Kristy Day” celebration in honor of Kristy. She starts listing people to invite and includes Jenny Prezzioso, although I’m fairly certain that in the original books, they don’t babysit for her until book number 4. Also, Jenny apparently adores Kristy, which is funny considering that Kristy tries to avoid sitting for her on a regular basis.

So far, two cars have been mentioned—the Kishis’ and Frankie’s parents—and they’re both station wagons. You’d think SUVs would be more realistic in 2010.

On moving day, Stacey asks if there are diners in Stoneybrook. (The title quote comes from this conversation.) Didn’t her parents take her to the town and show her around? I know I would have done that if I had a twelve year old. Show her what to expect a little bit. They apparently waited until the day they moved in to do that.

Stacey’s worried about bears in her backyard. Okay then, city girl.

I’m trying to figure out why Kristy’s the only one in her family to have a problem with her mom dating Watson. I figure, DM’s never had a dad, so he likes having a dad figure in Watson. And Sam and Charlie are older and a little more mature and have realized their dad’s never coming back. But Kristy’s old enough to remember her dad and young enough (and hopeful enough) to wish that he’d come back into her life. She keeps imagining her dad will show up for her birthday. And of course he doesn’t.

Isn’t it convenient that no one showed up to Kristy’s fifth birthday party and the same thing happened at one of Claudia’s birthdays? I wonder if that actually happened to Ann M. Martin or something.

Heh. The Kristy Day banner says “We Love You Kisty,” even though Claudia wasn’t there to help make it.

Janine really is smart sometimes. She’s mad when Claudia starts dating Frankie, but she gets over it. And when Frankie dumps Claudia, Mimi suggests Claud should make up with Janine. Janine’s like…I was really just mad because I knew I could never get him.

Kristy and Mary Anne used to play under a tree when they were in Elementary school. Mary Anne because she hated recess and Kristy because Alan thought the tree had cooties or something….

Stacey McPerky. Almost as good as Hottie McStudly, which I saw on a soap opera around 2003 and still use to this day. (Because I am *that* lame, I actually googled it. In addition to where I used it in a fanfic, a transcript of As The World Turns, May 6, 2002 popped up.)

Even though two weeks ago, Stacey and Claudia met by running into each other (wearing off-the-shoulder sweatshirts), they meet at lunch this time. Stacey sits down at the table with Emily (who was her student guide) and says, “I’m Stacey. I’m from another planet.” She can’t remember anyone’s name but Claudia’s when they leave and the two of them meet up after school and walk home together.


Mary Anne: floral capri pants, blouse, sandals; checked pedal pushers, lavender baby-doll top, pink-frilled swimsuit

Kristy: SHS Varsity Soccer t, cutoff jean shorts; too small swimsuit

Claudia: billowy black pants, patterned shirt tied at the midriff, black tank top; bejeweled green engineer’s cap (noooooo!), decorated bell bottoms, chunky bracelet, big earrings and apparently, no top

Janine: jeans and a t-shirt with Albert Einstein and the words “E=mc2

Next week: #24 Kristy and the Mother’s Day Surprise, where I will wax philosophical about overseas adoption.


  1. My maiden name ends in "man" and we refer to groups of ourselves as "___men" sometimes. My godparents' last name ends in "rus" and we call more than one of their family "___ri".