This is one of those ‘something big happens and it changes the BSC’ books. My only memories of it from when I was 12? Other than (spoiler! not really) Dawn moves back to CA for six months and the BSC throws her a party, I remembered Mary Anne telling her dad he’s being goofy, and he replies by saying, “Gorsh!” like the cartoon character.
Dawn’s been missing her dad and Jeff for some time, so she decides to go back for an extended visit. Everyone’s really supportive, but she starts to wonder if that means that they’re really glad to be rid of her. She starts to question her decision, but it’s already been made, so she heads off to California.
Meanwhile, everyone’s practicing for a charity event called Run for Your Money between Stoneybrook and Lawrenceville. It’s really not that interesting except that Richard agrees to strip down for everyone for everyone in both towns for
pole dance the ‘underwear race.’ And after it’s over, the BSC throws Dawn a
goodbye party with 300,000,000 little children in attendance. No wonder Dawn
doesn’t miss her CT friends or babysitting in the California Diaries!
The cover: It’s the eighth grade BSC members doing what they do best. Claudia and Stacey are looking into a mirror, with another mirror behind them. Kristy’s writing in what I assume is the BSC notebook. (I have no proof of that, but it’s what I prefer to think.) Mary Anne’s got a photo of someone who is either Logan or Cam Geary in her locker. Meanwhile, the dress is nearly uniformly atrocious. I have one word for MA and Kristy’s shirts: EWWW! Claudia’s leggings should be outlawed, and Stacey (not for the first time either, mind you) is wearing all black…except for her brown shoes. I actually blame Hodges Soileau for that, rather than Stacey. Dawn’s outfit isn’t that bad, except for that giant scrunchie. Scrunchies are possibly the root of all evil.
I’d eat Tofu Garden Delight, even if I’m (apparently) allergic to soy.
Sharon-itis symptoms: finding mittens in the refrigerator and keys in the microwave, raisins in the clam chowder. I really hope they didn’t turn the microwave on.
Isn’t the BSC policy that they get the info for the job, decide who’s going to take the job and then call back? They’re really bad at that in some of these books, including this one. They just cup their hands over the phone and say, ‘Who’s going to take the job?’
Claudia discovered Christmas M&M’s in the back of her closet, while this book is set in September. I found Cadbury Crème Eggs in my house in September. Sadly, I’m pretty sure that, while the ones in the fridge were from Easter, 2014, the ones under my end table were likely from Easter, 2012.
ZOMG! Dawn calls Claudia’s room “a junk food Where’s Waldo?” This is both awesome and accurate.
Umm, Dawn, Stacey is not the only member of the BSC (besides yourself) to know what divorce is like. Have you forgotten Kristy?
There’s something both funny and really disturbing about Richard Spier agreeing to be part of the underwear race, where he has to drop his clothes while he’s running. I’ve never thought of Richard as tubby, but “his belly jiggled beneath his undershirt” while he was stripping. And then the Arnold family catches him in his undies.
Claudia spelling! Dont, orgenising, tryed, seemd, perfict, practis, didnt’, pased (this is after she tried collapsed three times. Oh, and did you know the club sits for Jammie Newtn?
Mr. Arnold’s name is Jack…and his boxers for the underwear race are covered in Garfield pictures.
The Schafer-Spier family actually read their fortune cookie fortunes and seem to put some stock in them, until Dawn’s says, “You will be going on a long journey to a faraway place.” This would have been much funnier if they’d played the ‘in bed’ game.
I wanted to use this as the title quote but I think it’s too long: “Mom was practically asleep, watching some old bearded man conduct an orchestra full of younger bearded men and unbearded women.” I should hope the women were unbearded.
The actual title quote comes from the conversation between Jack (Schafer, not Arnold) and Sharon regarding Dawn’s potential move and how to keep things consistent. They also talk about stuff like whether Dawn dates and what her curfew is, so it’s not all stupid questions.
I want to study Ancient Streptococcus with the kids at Vista in Palo City.
Kristy/Stacey math (as opposed to Laura math): Everyone was happy for Dawn to visit her father except Kristy, who gets upset because she’ll be short a member. She makes Stacey do the math: six months, twenty-six weeks, seventy-six meetings.
I actually kinda feel sorry for Dawn. She really wants to see her dad and Jeff again, but she starts to feel guilty about leaving her CT family behind…and then she worries that the fact that her friends and family are being so supportive means that they’re glad to be rid of her. It must be hard to be in her shoes. (LOOK PEOPLE! I’M BEING NICE TO DAWN!) My parents didn’t divorce until I was in college, and even then, ever since my dad moved back from China (don’t ask), they’ve lived in the same town, on ‘opposite sides of the river.’ Back when I lived with my mom, my dad was a ten minute drive away. I can’t imagine how I would have felt if my dad and sister lived three thousand miles away when I was thirteen.
Ha! The Papadakis family reunion includes four lambs rotating in the backyard. It actually grosses Kristy out. (I’d be absolutely disgusted, but I’m a vegetarian. It’s usually pretty hard to gross Kristy out with food.) She does end up eating some and finding it delicious, though. Humorously, when Mr. Papadakis later offers some lamb to Melody Korman, she replies, “Do you have any Triscuits?”
You know I love stuff like this: the extended Papadakis clan includes five Nikos, 4 Alexandras, 3 Peters, 2 Marias, 2 Takis and a Gus.
Sari runs a three-legged race…with a Cabbage Patch doll as her partner.
Why the hell would Claudia buy ‘Chock Full of Chakra Macrobiotic Dessert Snacks?’ They’re made with comfrey, kelp, barley malt and raisin juice. Even Dawn finds them disgusting.
Because the BSC loves them some heavy-handed foreshadowing (although this isn’t actually foreshadowing), Jessi goes back to visit her old neighborhood in Oakley, where everything’s changed. Her old dance school no longer exists, the trees in the front yard of her old house were being chopped down, and her cousin Keisha only wanted to talk about the mall and boys. Stacey says it’s also weird for her to go back to NYC, because things keep changing while she’s gone.
Someone explain to me why Mal and MA thought it would be smarter to bake the cake for Dawn’s party with the Pikes instead of, you know, doing by themselves after Mr. and Mrs. Pike got home. Margo drops an egg, Byron slips and falls in it…you get the picture.
Richard’s pre-Run for Your Money workout? He calls it calisthenics and a jog, while Sharon says it was three pushups and ‘halfway around the block.’ That’s a man after my own heart right there.
What a rip-off! After all that, Richard actually refuses to participate in the underwear run. Now I have to sublimate my previously unknown urges to see him in his underthings. (Please know I am just kidding here. If I weren’t, I’d want you to have me locked away.)
Other tidbitty goodness from the RfYM (which is what cool people call it): Janine gets all excited about playing foosball with her parents, like she really wants to kick their asses; Adam backs out of doing the rolling race with Jordan at the last second because he was too embarrassed to hold his own brother’s hand; Squirt ran the wrong way in the baby race because he decided he wanted to give Becca a hug.
If Logan spent all morning working at the Rosebud, why would he suggest going there to hang out? I don’t like know many people who work in food service who like going to their restaurant on their off time if they can avoid it.
Why would Richard ring the doorbell at his own house? He does it twice in this book, rather than just walking in the door.
Dawn realizes that MA has a surprise planned for her when she keeps rushing her to eat breakfast and get dressed, so she keeps expecting to find people hiding in her den or waiting outside when the doorbell rings. She gets more suspicious when they get to Kristy’s, but still no one. Finally Kristy suggests they go see the monster zucchini in Watson’s garden. Dawn: See? All was not lost. Maybe I wasn’t getting a party, but at least I’d get to see a very large vegetable. (Of course, the party’s in the backyard.)
Do you think the BSC gets sick of throwing Dawn parties and giving her presents? She’s constantly leaving and coming back. Speaking of, I think the reason no one in the BSC gets a birthday (except Mary Anne) is that they’d have to invite a bunch of kids to their birthday parties.
As for the 300,000,000 kids I said were at the party: obviously, that was just a charming, Laura-style over-exaggeration. I’ve attempted the math, and I think there were closer to 20. It depends on whether Lucy, Sari and Marnie were part of the party. (If yes on all counts, probably 23 kids. If no, then probably 20. Only 19 other kids were mentioned, but I assume Becca is there for logical reasons.)
And, as anyone could have seen coming, Dawn decides at the last minute not to go. And, as anyone could also see coming, Richard and Sharon convince her to go ahead and go to CA, not just because they’d already bought her tickets and worked out things with her schools, but, because, as Kristy said earlier in the book: The most important thing is for Dawn to be happy.
Sharon: summery print oversized blouse and shorts (sounds like something my mom would have worn in that era); running shorts and top, leg warmers, sneakers (something my mom would NOT have worn in that era)
Richard: Simpsons undershirt, red-heart boxers, pants (not described, other than you can see his shorts through them and he can’t get them off); baggy jeans, sweat shirt, ‘walking shoes’
Dawn: bathing suit, sweat suit, sneakers; cream colored drawstring pants, ribbed t-shirt with buttons
Next week: There will be a lot less math, for starters. I hope, in any case. I’ll be critiquing #68.