This definitely has to be one of the more out-there plots this series ever conceived. Seriously, I’ve seen more realistic plot twists on Dr. Who (can you tell I’ve been fan-girling all weekend?) Claudia enters a contest and wins a month-long gig as a DJ. How, I can’t figure out exactly. See my tidbit below. Anyway, her ‘assistant’ is the contest runner up, none other than Claud’s old ‘friend’ Ashley Wyeth. The two of them butt heads a lot, and Claud’s format involves auditioning a lot of really terrible kid acts. They manage to get their acts together (like the pun there?), have fun and save the radio station to boot. Go Claud go!
Haha, my book has a screw up before you even get to the story. Normally, there’s a title page with the BSC logo, then the copyright info (with the information about your book maybe being stolen), and then the acknowledgement of the ghostwriter…er, manuscript assistant… and then chapter one begins. This book has not one but TWO extra pages that both just say “Claudia Kishi, Live from WSTO”. One is the first page in the book; the other is right before chapter one begins. Amusing.
Le Cover! Claudia’s wearing a tuxedo, which is straight out of the book, and so Claud:
The book begins with Kristy boring Claudia, MA and Dawn with a Krushers story. You’d think she’d have learned to judge her audience by age thirteen, but I guess not.
Janine, on Claudia’s attire: “Is that why you wore your jacket to breakfast this morning? To cover that up so we wouldn’t have indigestion?” I love you, Janine.
Claud calls that outfit (the Frankenstein jumpsuit, another Janine gem) ‘deconstructionist’ but changes out of it before going to the Pikes…because there’s already enough deconstruction in that house
Mallory creates this neatfreak monster and tells stories about him that are good enough to enthrall all seven of her younger siblings. It doesn’t help that she gets Ben to dress up as the monster and act out the story, but I actually enjoyed hearing about the monster’s search for a tooth brush. I’d read that book.
Claudia starts feeling sorry for herself because she no longer has a best friend, has no boyfriend and—outside of art, which apparently doesn’t count in this book—has no activities to get involved in. She makes a list of potential things to shake her life up. Her spelling is, of course, intact.
2. Tap dancing
6. Dramma club
Then of course, she gives up on most of them without even trying, especially after learning that chlorine would damage her hair and she’d have to audition for the chorus.
Claudia loves having club meetings at her house…because then she’s almost never late.
Claudia brings up how much Mal and Jessi love The Saddle Club. I wonder if they call it TSC and run out to buy all the books when they first come out, the way BSC fans used to…
I love that Claudia thinks tofu tastes like warm socks. Tofu has absolutely no flavor, just an odd texture, so what she tasted was whatever flavoring was put in with it. Maybe whoever made the tofu shouldn’t be allowed to cook anymore.
Claudia says that Dawn doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of her. I think the last book shows that it’s more that Dawn does care what others think; she just stands up for herself in the midst of it. (I didn’t make fun of Dawn too much yesterday, did I? I actually kind of liked Dawn in most of that book.)
Claudia brings up the two choices she hasn’t rejected from her list (tap and drama) at the BSC meeting. First Jessi tries to give her a tap dancing lesson (which Claudia says makes her feel uncoordinated, despite the fact that Mal, Shannon and Dawn all catch on pretty quickly). Then Kristy tells Shannon to give her a drama lesson, telling her she has the floor. Claudia’s response is the title quote.
Claudia attempts to write a contest entry…four times. The following are her spelling mistakes: hoast, becaus, expirience, exacly, freinds, stacion, hoste, importanse, expeshully, rabbid, intensly. When I was a kid, I would have tried to spell especially as expeshully.
While considering this, she eats about seven pounds of junk food. Considering she’s not really into exercise, how does she not weigh 700 pounds?!
Her final entry isn’t really all that good, but after rereading it, I do get why Claudia made the short list. She’s self-depreciating—“I’m an expert at talking. Just ask any of my friends”—and shows a sense of humor. She even uses this colorful quote about having an open mind but not letting bats in. (I’d never heard that one before; it’s silly but accurate.) But how in the hell does this get her the winning slot? All I can imagine is that they took all of the entries that met certain qualifications and then put the names into a hat and picked one.
The two funniest bits about Claudia winning the contest? First of all, she rudely hangs up a BSC phone call to hear who won. Second, the host describes Claudia as enjoying mysteries, art and ‘fine dining,’ which throws Kristy for a moment.
Awww. When Claud tells her family that she won the contest, her parents want to know if it will interfere with her homework, but Janine actually pours ginger ale into champagne flutes for a toast. That’s so sweet!
Anyone surprised to learn that the Junk Bucket is air conditioned by ‘two holes in the floor?’ I’m more surprised it’s only two.
More Claudia spelling, this one from a list of notes about her radio show (which has the working ‘titel’ “Four Kids Only”: theams, frenship, seasin, seggments, geusts, storys, awdition, posible
Ashley makes fun of Claudia’s spelling. I get that, because I used to make fun of my friend Kelly’s spelling…and we were best friends. Ashley and Claudia barely tolerate each other.
Kristy’s already on my nerves and the book’s not half over yet. First she tries to go to Claudia’s meeting at the station with her, then she just assumes she’ll be on the show, because of course she’s got great ideas. I think she’s been hanging around Karen too long…she’s decided she needs to be a star! She tries to get the Barrett-DeWitts to put on a play, but she doesn’t write it out or anything (not that Suzi, Madeleine or probably Taylor could read it anyway). Instead, she just tells everyone what to say and expects them to memorize it.
Dawn: Claudia is going to kill you, Kristy.
Kristy: Nahh. Too many witnesses.
Isn’t it Robin Hood and Maid Marian? The book keeps spelling it Maid Marion. My great aunt was a Marion, but that’s traditionally the male spelling.
Ashley and Claud sit through three million auditions (okay, only forty…remember what I said yesterday about exaggeration?) My favorite audition was when Alan Gray came in wearing a mask and calling himself Oswald McBelch and burped Row your Boat on key.
Claudia’s possible acts for the first show:
Frank and Tim (comidy)
Peet and Ericka (bike advise)
Shinning* Time stacion corrus
Bil and Katie (at the movys)
Rijina, Cathy, David (goest story)
*It’s the Shinning! “No beer and no tv make Homer…something something.” “Go crazy?”
Kristy tries to get Mal to go on Claudia’s radio show with her clean monster (the Oogly Oogly Beast), and when she refuses, Kristy steals the character and convinces the younger Pikes to audition with her. That’s taking things too far.
Claudia goes to every planning meeting with a bag full of candy. Bob, her tech, says he would hate to be her dentist. But being Claudia, she probably has perfect teeth in addition to clear skin and not being Cartman from South Park. (“I’m not fat, I’m big boned!”)
Bob is in college. He says he remembers listening to WSTO (which is having funding problems and may go out of business) when he was a kid. He also says his parents listened to WSTO when they were kids, and that’s where they heard that WWII was over. Okay. Let’s do some math; you know how I love those words. Let’s say that Bob’s dad was five when WWII ended. Much younger than that and he wouldn’t really remember it, right? That made him fifty-five at the time this book came out (5 in 1945; 55 in 1995). I guess that’s not as old as I thought; I guess I was thinking 2015, not 1995. If Bob is, say, twenty, then his dad was about my age when he was born. And as I’m hoping to have a kid in the next few years, I’d say this is more than plausible. (I thought Bob was older, but he says he’s still in college. I guess it’s just the name Bob makes me think of someone middle aged.)
Claudia wonders why one of the callers made her think of Stacey. Now, a lot of stuff has been making her think of Stacey throughout the book—she even waxed philosophical about her friendship during the ‘friends’ episode of the radio show—but this girl said she’d had a fight with a friend and wanted to make up, but the friend hated her. How would that not make her think of Stacey?
I like that the Arnold twins actually tell Kristy what they’re thinking about her radio ideas. Marilyn said that one was pretty stupid and then Carolyn told her another was boring.
Ted Garber is totally RL Stine. He writes a popular kids book series called Night Frights. And of course, because this is the BSC, he lives in Connecticut. And agrees to be on Claudia’s show.
Claudia seems surprised that Kristy is a ham when she finally gets on the air (with a children’s literature Jeopardy game she put together with Marilyn and Carolyn.)
So during a call-in segment earlier in the month, a boy called and said his parents were getting divorced and everyone in his family was very unhappy about it. (Dad had gone away; sister told mom she wished she was dead, that sort of thing.) Claudia gave him the phone number of the therapist Mary Anne went to once, same as she did for the boy who wrote her personals column for the same reason. During the final show, they do another call-in segment and the mom calls to thank them for their great advice. She’s so happy she writes a check that saves the day and the station can stay open. Yay, happy ending.
Now that the book is over, I was updating my BSC lists. I’m sure it doesn’t surprise any of you that I have MULTIPLE lists dedicated to the BSC, although most of them are just the titles arranged in different ways. I’d found three more BSC-related books in my last few thrift store outings and needed to mark them appropriately. I only have twelve more books to complete my collection, and so far I’ve only had to buy two of them through sources other than thrift stores (#35 and #82). What was interesting to me was what babysitters are harder for me to find. I own all but 7 original series books, 1 mystery and 4 friends forever books, as well as every super special, super mystery, portrait collection, readers’ request and California diary. I own every Dawn, Jessi and Stacey book, and I’m only missing one Mallory (#108), one Abby (#127) and one Kristy (FF #5). Now, if you’re doing math with me—c’mon, you know you wanna—that means that I have nine other books to find…and they’re all Claudia and Mary Anne. Actually, Mary Anne books are the hardest for me to find. I’m missing six Mary Annes…including all three of her FF books.
Luckily for me, I don’t need another book until #97, so I can continue thrift storing (that’s what the cool kids call it) and hopefully find it in time.
Claudia: backwards t-shirt, ‘Frankenstein’s jumpsuit’ which consists of two pairs of overalls cut in half with half of each sewn together; stretch top, jeans and button down shirt; tuxedo with a red cummerbund, sparkly socks, red sneakers
Next: Finally get to read a super mystery! I’ve never read this one before, so that should be interesting.