Thursday, June 25, 2015

“So, I thought, breathing’s going to be the big activity around here.” Stacey’s Book (1994)

Just like Kristy’s book, this is a collection of random memories designed to act as Stacey’s autobiography. I’ve broken the story down the way Stacey does.
The early years: Just a bunch of small memories; not anything too important or special
When I was five: Stacey becomes obsessed with Cinderella and, amazingly, her mother is able to get her on the Cinderella float during the Macy’s parade. She’s excited to appear on television, but she winds up leaning off screen to save Cinderella’s crown, missing her big shot. But she gets to keep the crown.
When I was eight: Stacey and Laine’s parents enroll them in ballroom dancing class. Since the class looks boring (and is full of kids they don’t like), they skip it and trek around town alone, something they’re not allowed to do. They are really late getting back to the dance studio and get grounded from seeing each other.
When I was ten: The McGills take a summer vacation on a small island in Maine where there is nothing to do. The only other girl Stacey’s age rubs her the wrong way at first,
but when Stacey’s dad breaks his ankle, the girl is able to safely get him to the hospital on the mainland and becomes Stacey’s friend.
When I was twelve: Claudia comes to visit Stacey while she’s in NYC before her parents get divorced. Claudia’s acting depressed the whole time, and Stacey can’t understand why. Eventually she gets Claud to admit that seeing all the places Stacey loves just reminds her that she and Stacey live so far apart. They end up having a great time.
Interesting Tidbits
They don’t often mention that Stacey is tall, just that she’s rail-thin from the diabetes.
Ha! After describing what she’s wearing, Stacey describes what her room is wearing.
Stacey says she was born at 1:30 in the morning. In #3, she was born at 2:26 a.m. This has me getting out all the other character’s books to compare birth times….
·         Kristy was born at 4 a.m. even after her mother went into labor at a Yankees/Red Sox game (interestingly, Kristy is a Mets fan….) which matches #3.
·         Claudia’s book doesn’t mention a time of birth, although I just noticed that she shares a birthday with both my childhood best friend and my youngest nephew. In #3, she was born at 4:36.
·         Mary Anne’s book doesn’t mention her birth either. It skips straight to her mother’s death and the time she lived with her grandparents…understandably. The closest she gets to her time of birth is Mimi remembering that her parents left for the hospital shortly after dinner and that she may have been born around 11 p.m.
Awww. Stacey took her first steps (at ten months) into her father’s arms. That’s kinda sweet.
Her first childhood memory? Packing to move at age three. She thought all of her toys were gone forever.
Isn’t Stacey special? When she has her fourth birthday at the Palm Court restaurant in the Plaza, everyone sings to her…including Pavarotti.
Stacey sees Cinderella in the theater because it was re-released. According to Wikipedia, this occurred in 1957, 1965, 1973, 1981 and 1987. (Before home videos were common, Disney did a lot of that. I remember seeing Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Song of the South—which has never been released on video or DVD in the U.S.—and others in the theaters.) This is plausible…in 1987, I was six, and at the time this book was released, I was the same age as Stacey.
Stacey’s mom asks if she wants to be in the Macy’s parade. Stacey’s dad: “What a great idea. We’ll make a Stacey balloon. The Stacey McGill balloon floating down Central Park West.” (Laine would rather see a Madonna balloon.)
Stacey has an aunt, uncle and cousins having Thanksgiving dinner with her family…who will never be seen or mentioned again.
Eight year old Stacey’s idea of a good time? Watching music videos on MTV while playing with a Victorian dollhouse.
Stacey and Laine logic: They want to get their own apartment—a studio, because less space equals less cleaning and less furniture to buy. They make a list of what they need: a convertible couch, two bean bag chairs, two bowls, two forks, two spoons, two plates, two knives, a gumball machine, a decorative giant crayon…and a bunch of takeout menus. Reminds me of the brides who register for two place settings of dishes and then can’t figure out why they need more than that.
Even funnier: Laine later determines that they also need a TV, a VCR and a phone. Stacey points out that the only people they call are each other and Laine replies: “Stacey. We need a phone to order takeout!”
Instead of taking ballroom dancing, Stacey wants to learn how to moonwalk. She’s definitely a child of the eighties.
Heh. One of Laine and Stacey’s classmates—Randal Peterson the Third—goes around bragging that he’s going to be a senator someday. That’s the kind of thing that a kid who introduces himself as Randal Peterson the Third instead of Randal Peterson or Randal or Randy would do.
We actually get a map of where Stacey and Laine went when they ditched dance class.
Mrs. Cummings is named Peg.
You know Stacey’s dad is mad because he calls her Anastasia.
Consistency: Stacey mentions her family went to Ireland and Scotland, something she mentions in SS#15. (Although, if you were going to those two countries, wouldn’t you go to England while you were there?)
Ten year old Stacey can eat with chopsticks.
Laine explains to Stacey how to cook lobster by boiling them alive. That’s a nice thing to tell someone whose parents just pointed out how much lobster they plan to eat on vacation.
The title quote is Stacey’s reaction to her father pointing out how fresh the air is in Maine. Stacey thinks it smells like ‘bathroom deodorant.’
When Stacey complains about how the cabin’s neighbors make their living by catching lobsters and her opinion that eating lobsters is barbaric, her mom replies by asking how she thinks burgers are made. Heh.
Stacey and the girl who lives on the island, Mara, spend a lot of time putting each other down while arguing about rural v. urban living. Not only is it slightly comical, it’s actually pretty realistic. Mara calls Stacey a snob (true) and Stacey calls Mara a hick (also true.)
Wait a minute. The last section of the book is called “When I was Twelve,” but it takes place in the time between book #13 and book #28, when Stacey was living back in NYC after living in Stoneybrook. Stacey moved back to New York when she was in eighth grade. Given that she was born in April, she’d be thirteen by then already.
Here’s what’s interesting about those chapters, though. Stacey says her parents think they’re keeping their unhappiness from her, but she knows that they’ve been fighting. Yet in book #28, she seems surprised by the divorce. I guess when things slowly get progressively worse (her parents were even fighting when she was 10), you don’t see that things have progressed to divorce-style fights. (Heck, she says at the end of the book that they even saw a marriage counselor who…told them to get divorced.)
I like this: Stacey buys a bunch of junk food for Claudia’s visit and, to make Claud feel more at home, hides it all over her bedroom.
FAIL. Stacey tries to get Claudia to tell her something by saying she’ll ‘go crazy mad out of her mind.’ She says that’s something one of their sitting charges says and she thinks that will make Claudia smile, which it does. But the problem is that it’s Marilyn Arnold…who first shows up in book #21 and whom Stacey has never met at this point. The same thing happens in the next chapter when she says Matt Braddock loves penguins. Again, he shows up in book #16. Stacey may have met him if this takes place after #24 (she goes back to the Brook for the Mother’s Day Surprise and he’s there) but chances are she didn’t get to have enough of a conversation with him—in sign language, which she doesn’t speak at this point—to know what his favorite animal is.
Of course, Stacey gets an A.
Stacey: black tights, pink/black oversized sweatshirt, pink hightops (no pants? ooh, scandalous!); at age eight: pink shift dress with lace collar, white tights, black patent leather shoes, giant sweater; at age ten: jeans, red hightops, long-sleeved blue polo shirt, straw hat
Laine: at age eight: plaid silk dress, giant sweater.
Claudia: purple jacket, black tights, red cowboy boots (clown colors!)

Next week: I’m having surgery next week and, if I’m able to see well enough around my broken nose, I’m hoping to do both Super Special #12 and Mystery #18. I’ll be continuing June with #82 and #83. The former needs a vlog…which will follow as soon as I no longer look like Marcia Brady (“Ow, my nose!”) And then if I stay on track, we’ll finish off with Claudia’s book.

1 comment:

  1. I wondered why they didn't go to England on that trip either.
    Claudia coming to visit when they were "twelve" cracks me up.
    I think Stacey was in denial in book 28 or on some level knew. Yes, she was shocked
    by the divorce. But had been scared enough by the fight in the beginning of the book
    to know that was the worse one they ever had. It is one thing to be scared and worried its heading to divorce but still shocked when it happens.