Wednesday, April 23, 2014

“I have to warn you that I found a pot of honey inside.” BSC #37: Dawn and the Older Boy (1990)

This book is the start of the “Dawn makes a fool of herself for a boy” trend that continued to pop up through several of the books. If she’s this annoying and pathetic when she’s thirteen, can you imagine what she’ll be like when she’s seventeen and the guys she’s got crushes on want her to put out? Heh.
A friend of Sam and Charlie’s named Travis takes an interest in Dawn. He buys her things and keeps trying to get her to change her look. She thinks he wants to date her, but eventually just figures out he sees her as a project for him to work on. Meanwhile, James Hobart is putting on a play and his friend Zach keeps pulling him away from the play to do “boy things.” It’s interesting because the BSC is minimally involved and never attempts to “solve” the problem. It’s less interesting because it’s only there so people can make the connection between how Travis wants to change Dawn and how Zach wants to change James.
Interesting Tidbits
I am so totally sacrificing for the sake of my blog today: It is a gorgeous, eighty degree Easter…and instead of hunting for eggs with my nieces and nephew (or eating Cadbury Cream Eggs), I am reading a book about Dawn.
The cover: All I want to point out is the kid on the left shooting his straw wrapper at Dawn. He's totally cut out of the later covers so they could put the stripe down the side.

How does Dawn know what material Claudia’s clothes are? Did she ask, or can she just sense it?
Mallory sleeps on an air mattress during the sleepover at Kristy’s. Is she just a princess, or are all the girls sleeping on them? I mean, Watson could have bought a bunch of air mattresses for BSC sleepovers. (I am imagining this purchase happening at my work and it’s hilarious.)
I think it’s funny how stereotypical and clichéd Ann M. Martin likes to make all of her characters. Stacey’s from NYC, so she must be sophisticated. Dawn and Travis are from California, so they must like health food. I’ve been to California. There are as many fast food restaurants per capita as in the rest of the nation, and I’m sure people do eat the food, or they’d go out of business. And I’m sure there are some unsophisticated, dumpy dressers in New York.
Oh no! Dawn’s late to a meeting because she was at a sitting job! You’d think Kristy would accept that as a valid excuse, but she doesn’t. What happens when someone needs a sitter all afternoon and evening, say, from right after school until ten p.m.?
Mallory and Ben, sitting in a movie theater…I can’t think of a way to finish that song. I guess this is Mal and Ben’s first date, although Mallory refuses to call it that….   
I’ve always wondered about the “driving at seventeen” thing in the books. In several BSC books, they mention you can’t get your license until you’re seventeen; other times, you can get your license at sixteen but no one ever does. I will have to Google; stay tuned until the end of this entry.
Why does Travis have an interest in Dawn? I guess he sees her as a “project,” but why?  Because she’s blonde and from California? It’s not as if she particularly did anything to charm him the first time they met.
Mistake! Dawn says that Ben is her age—that he’s “in her class.” But he’s in sixth grade with Mal and Jessi.
I would ask how Gabbie Perkins remembers everyone’s name, but my niece Kennady remembers everyone’s name, including people she’s only seen pictures of, and she just turned three.
Travis is a terrible braggart. I’m bored just reading when he’s talking about how all the clubs want him and he’s the world’s best athlete. Snooze….
Speaking of snoozing, Karen’s in the next chapter. (Although the title quote is how Karen says she knows a bear lives in her tent because of the honey pot.) Could this book get any worse?
Yes, it could. The A plot and the B plot meet, as Dawn realizes that James is trying to change who he is just to please Zach and fit in, but doesn’t make the connection to herself. (Honestly, I’d ask why he wanted to do that, but he’s eight. All you want when you’re eight is to have friends and fit in.) Zach was one of the jerks making fun of the Hobarts in #32, though, so I don’t get why James is so desperate to be friends with him specifically.
Although, the point about James always hanging out with girls and not doing “boy stuff,” (despite the fact that he plays sports and things like that on a regular basis) is kind of the eight year old version of what happened a lot in my high school to a couple guys who later came out of the closet….I’m not drawing any conclusions there. I’m just sayin’.
Dawn’s teacher lets her class out ten minutes early. I’ve never gone to or worked at any school where that was allowed. Later, Dawn finishes a test early and is allowed to leave all by herself.
When Dawn finally finds out Travis is dating someone, she stalks him for a while and then tells her friends about what’s been going on. (Dawn is totally a stalker. I’m pretty sure she basically stalks Stacey in #83, and I want to say she does it a few other times too. Not to mention various sundry mysteries with ‘stakeouts’ and stuff.) Kristy says that Dawn read too much into the situation (which she definitely did) while Claudia and Stacey are closer to the opinion that Travis definitely led Dawn on. I’m stuck on this, because I agree with both of them. He should have realized how the situation would look to her and not played with her heart, but she also should have realized that him not asking her on a real date or trying to kiss her means something. I definitely find the Travis character more than a little skeezy…what is he doing taking middle school girls out shopping and to eat?
Mrs. Pike actually agrees to see the Hobart/Perkins play. I know she’s just trying to be nice, but she really should get a job or something. She needs a life.
Mistake? The following sentences are a little…odd. “Then Mary Anne thought about Dawn and Travis and got an idea. Dawn would be sure to read the notebook.” It’s a Dawn book. Shouldn’t that say, “Mary Anne thought about Travis and me and got an idea.”? I’m not sure if this is supposed to be MA’s thought process or if it’s just a flat-out mistake. Either way, it’s awkward.
So MA writes all about Dawn and Travis in the notebook. Where everyone will read it. Wouldn’t have been much more sensitive to tell Dawn these things to her face instead of embarrassing her in the notebook?
What would the BSC do without their sitting charges? (Not literally, because obviously they just wouldn’t have a club.) I mean, they solve half of their life problems because the exact same thing is happening right in front of them with a group of eight year olds! Some of these stories might have taken years to resolve if the BSC hadn’t seen themselves in the events happening to the kids.
Dawn makes fun of Travis’s stone washed jeans. I think this may be one of the few times Dawn and I have agreed on anything (other than health food). It was 1990, so the jeans probably looked like this:

Sexy, no? (Humorously, when I looked up "stone washed jeans" on Google images, a whole bunch of photos of Mario Lopez from Saved by the Bell came up.)
To go with our NYC and Cali stereotypes, apparently people from Louisville love grits and have hound dogs named Beau. Lewis (Logan’s cousin…remember him?) is trying to get Dawn to not believe those things about him, yet even he thinks people from California love health food.
So that’s everything….except my research. Currently in the state of Connecticut, you can apply for a learner’s permit when you turn sixteen. After 120 or 180 days (depending on whether you take an approved course or are taught at home), you can get your “restricted” license that applies until you’re 18. You cannot drive with passengers except a driving instructor or parent/guardian who is at least 20 for the first six months, and then after that only with immediate family for the next six months. So essentially, these days, you can get a ‘permit’/license at sixteen, but you’ll be going on eighteen before you can give the entire BSC a ride to the mall the way Charlie always does. I’m wondering if maybe the age has changed through the years, hence the inconsistency to the statements throughout the BSC books. Then again, it could just be another BSC issue and have nothing to do with the real world in any way.
Claudia: black bib overalls, white turtleneck, black patent leather belt, white socks, black ankle boots, white barrettes (Dawn compares her to a penguin; I thought of a checkerboard.)
Dawn: blue button down shirt and jeans
Travis: blue work shirt, faded jeans
Sara, Travis’s girlfriend: white flight suit

Next week: Mallory’s Poor! Ha ha!

No comments:

Post a Comment