So I blogged this on Saturday evening, and then Sunday, instead of celebrating Tessie’s birthday with pedicures, I spent the whole day in the ER. I guess I just couldn’t read about Stacey’s health problems without having a few of my own. (For the record, I will be better in a few days.)
I promised you all a vlog entry, but I want to apologize for it before I post it. There’s a reason I don’t generally do videos. I tend to look everywhere BUT at the camera, the camera work is shoddy (it’s sitting in my lap) and I have certain tics (like pushing my glasses up my nose) that I just cannot control for the short amount of time the video is recorded. That said, watch on if you dare!
So. The plot. For more than the past ten books, they’ve been foreshadowing Stacey getting ill: she’s tired, she has to watch her diet more, whatever. Stacey’s making things even worse by sneaking chocolate and not telling her mum she’s feeling poorly. (I’m going a little Brit here). She ends up hospitalized in NYC while visiting her dad. Her parents bicker and refuse to be in the same room, but she has a talk with them and they promise to stop making her life hard(er) by grilling her about the other. We all know how well that goes.
Meanwhile, Charlotte is crazy-worried about Stacey being ill, so she gets all hypochondriac. It’s as boring as it sounds.
There is a lot of diabetes in my family, so when I read this as a kid, I worried a lot about my dad and uncles and grandmother getting sick like Stacey did. It wasn’t until I got older that I learned the difference between Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, like Stacey has, and Type 2 diabetes, which runs in my family. For those who complain about the way Stacey’s diabetes is treated, I suggest one of the One Last Wish books by Lurlene McDaniel, about a girl with Type 1 diabetes—which, it should be noted, Lurlene McDaniel’s son also suffers with. The book is called All the Days of her Life and is notable for being one of the very few LM books in which no one dies!
Even though this is the British version, let’s talk about the American cover. It’s one of my favorites. 1) Action is happening there! You really want Stacey to catch that bowl! 2) This actually happens in the book, as Charlotte and Becca make a massive mess as Martian fudge makers. They’re even wearing deely-bobbers (that’s the technical term for the antennae the girls have) and aprons, just like it says in the text:
Brit-isms for the first three chapters: a posh hotel instead of a fancy hotel; Claudia likes to wear ‘hairslides’ and plait her hair; Claudia keeps winegums in her bedroom (rather than, say Mounds bars); Mal wears ‘a brace’ on her teeth; Kristy and Claudia are chairman and vice chairman of the club; Stacey is very good at ‘maths’; they eat Maltesers at the meeting
You know this is a diabetes-centric book very early on, because Stacey’s discussion of how she gives herself insulin is a) very detailed and b) happens in the first couple of pages.
Real book: The Dancing Cats of Applesap.
I laugh every time someone describes Stacey’s perm as fluffy. I can’t explain that reaction at all. Maybe it’s the association between her hair and a towel.
Just so everyone knows, the official ‘genius IQ’ isn’t 150 like they say in these books. It’s 130, which is two standard deviations from ‘normal.’ If I remember my statistics class (from twelve years ago) correctly, 90 percent of the population has an IQ between 70 and 130.
If I ever get divorced, I’m going to move to Stoneybrook. It’s apparently the thing to do.
Stacey considers herself the seventh member of the BSC, because they were a six before she moved back. Interesting. She also says that she doesn’t think there will be any more members unless someone else ‘has to’ leave. That’s actually kinda accurate.
Cootie catchers! Of course, we never called them that growing up, but I know a few people who did. I made one on Christmas when I was avoiding celebrating and wrote really foul ‘fortunes’ inside.
I’m really loving all the British candy. I used to love Maltesers, until I overdosed on them once. Haven’t been able to eat anything with malted milk ever since.
Chapters 4-6: Stacey’s dad lives in a flat; Stacey ‘clears up’ the fudge making mess; Stacey wraps fudge in a serviette rather than a napkin; a form teacher rather than a home room teacher
Stacey’s parents are jerks. Her dad calls to talk to her about the weekend she’ll be at his place and asks where her mother is. Stacey tells him honestly—she’s only at the Pikes’—but her dad gets all pissy with Stacey because he’s mad at her mom for not being home. I do love Stacey’s response, though: “I’ve been able to stay home alone for several years now. Sometimes, I even babysit.” And her mom’s not really any better.
I stock the ingredients for what I call “Betty Crocker’s Cheaty Whale Fudge”* in my house on a regular basis because I find that it’s sometimes the only cure for PMS, but do most people keep all the ingredients for ‘regular’ fudge in their cupboards? Even if that’s normal, how does Charlotte know that they have all the ingredients, or even what the ingredients are? (Maybe her mom bought them and promised to make fudge with her sometime soon, and it just never happened?)
I would so totally stay at the Grand Sparkle-Glitter Hotel. I imagine the décor is done up in rainbows and unicorns.
Oh, no. Mary Anne is SO that girl who would spot a celebrity and follow them into the bathroom, shoving a piece of paper under the stall for an autograph. She has the potential to be a celebrity stalker. She wants Stacey to bring back table scraps from any famous people she sees. Kristy: “If, for whatever strange reason, I ever end up as a celebrity, don’t let Mary Anne anywhere near me.”
I have two distinct memories of this book: One is of Stacey going into the bathroom on the train repeatedly for more and more sips of water, which she has to drink straight from the faucet.
Chapters 7-9: Charlotte and Claudia play pairs (Memory); rubbish instead of trash or garbage; Stacey’s specialist is on holiday (vacation); Charlotte sends Stacey a parcel
Claudia spelling! Charlot Johansin, whant, mihgt, whith, Charlote, beleive, worreid, surprized. She also keeps spelling Martians as martins.
Stacey’s mom calls Claudia while she’s at the Johanssens’, sitting for Charlotte. Um, how did she know she was there? Wouldn’t she have called Claudia’s number? Maybe she called the Kishis and they told her where Claudia was, but is it really responsible to call a teen and tell her that her best friend’s in the hospital while she’s babysitting?
To make that worse, Claudia actually thinks it’s her job to tell Charlotte…instead of telling Dr. and Mr. Johanssen when they get home and letting them break the news.
If Stacey loves Porky Pig and has a pig collection, how is it that she’s never had a stuffed pig before?
Stacey muses as to why the hospital stamps their name on their sheets, saying she doesn’t think anyone wants to be reminded of their hospital stay like that. Yet you know that someone, somewhere, has a set of stolen hospital sheets in the closet.
Why is there no shower in Stacey’s hospital room? You’d think that long-term visitors might need one.
Stacey’s mom (mum) calls her Lovey. I’m fairly certain that’s not in the American version.
Chapter 10-12: Charlotte sleeps in a nightdress; Jessi posted a letter; Stacey calls her friends ‘you lot;
Is it weird that I’m wondering who is covering all of Stacey’s sitting jobs while she’s in the hospital? You know that had to be one of the first things out of Kristy’s mouth when she heard!
I’m as bad as Claudia today: I keep trying to spell Charlotte as Charlote. And then when I tried to write Charlote on purpose, I spelled it properly. Ugh.
Another real book (probably): The Dachshunds of Mama Island. I’ve never in my live had to spell dachshunds before; ‘wiener dogs’ is so much easier to write.
Charlotte’s list of hypochondriac complaints: sore throat, stomachache, headache, earache, pinched nerve, ulcer, diabetes, anemia (actually, anaemia). It would have been much more realistic if Charlotte just decided she had diabetes, like Stacey.
Ooh, the other thing I’ve always remembered: Laine visits Stacey and brings her a bunch of stuff. The one I really remember is the mirror that laughs whenever someone looks into it. I wanted to give one to my sister back when I was ten.
Stacey has a crush on Ross Brown. Why does that name sound so familiar? (She says as she grabs her complete guide to the BSC…which she keeps nearby because the map comes in handy while fanficting.) He’s only mentioned in the guide as being Stacey’s crush in this book, but (correct me if I’m wrong—and I know you will!) isn’t he the one who later develops a crush on Abby in Abby’s Un-Valentine? I don’t own a copy of that yet.
The title quote is Stacey’s response to the idea that you can always tell when someone’s had a nose job—in this case, Cokie. Only one kid in my (fairly wealthy) high school got a nose job, and that was senior year, when she was eighteen. But the gossip about her was just as thick as the BSC makes the gossip about Cokie sound.
Chapter 13-15: ‘full stop’ instead of a period at the end of a sentence; motorway rather than highway; dust cart instead of garbage truck (that one took me a while); piggy in the middle instead of monkey in the middle
Go, Stacey, go! Her parents start arguing in front of her, and she tells them both to shut up and then kicks them out of her hospital room. And she makes them both cry. Normally, I’d say she kinda deserved it: I mean, she does know her parents are divorced and not going to get back together, and also that they don’t want to be in the same room, yet she makes them stay anyway. But even though it’s easy to forget in these books, she’s only thirteen! Her parents need to learn to get over their egos and get along for the sake of their daughter, especially when she’s sick and needs them.
More Charlotte diseases: Lyme disease, arthritis, kidney disease, another sore throat. She sounds like Veda in My Girl, how she’s constantly dying of something because her dad owns a funeral home.
Another real book: Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. I remember I read part of that one once because it was mentioned in this book, but I don’t think I finished it.
Charlotte suggests making a banner for Stacey’s homecoming. No, Charlotte, no! Bad Charlotte! No more banners!
Even this book has a mistake…there is a quotation mark at the end of a paragraph when no one is talking.
No outfits, unless you include Stacey and Charlotte’s nightdresses.
*Basically, this is just a can of sweetened condensed milk, a bag of chocolate chips and a little bit of vanilla. Heat and stir, then let settle for a couple hours. I got the recipe from Betty Crocker, and the Cheaty Whale bit is an old inside joke from high school.
Next week: We’re headed back to NYC for a more successful trip…Super Special #6!