Tuesday, August 4, 2015

“They look disgusting, so they must be good for you.” BSC #83: Stacey v. the BSC (1995)

Stacey’s been spending all of her time hanging out with Robert and his friends because she thinks they’re so much more mature than the BSC. She’s been late to—or missing—meetings and has gotten subs for her jobs on several occasions. Kristy keeps getting more and more upset. The final straws come right back to back, when Stacey has a party and doesn’t invite the BSC (besides Claudia, who comes but ends up regretting it) and then, because of that, skips the subplot talent show. This breaks Charlotte’s heart because Stace had promised her she’d be there (Charlotte was really nervous about performing.) Stacey gets into a big fight where she and the other BSC members call each other bitches and assholes (or maybe I just imagined that part! hee hee!) and Stacey both drops out of the club and is simultaneously fired. It’s OH HELL YEAH! awesome.
Interesting tidbits
The cover: What kind of movie is this they’re watching? ‘Cause Stacey and Claudia are laughing their asses off and Mal looks like she’s going to throw up. I’m picturing a scene like the one with the beer in American Pie, where it’s either very funny or very disgusting, depending on taste. Also, it looks like all the background people are looking at the BSC, not the screen. Although, Kristy is throwing popcorn and Claud and Stace look like they’re screeching with laughter, so I don’t blame them.

Claudia starts off the book by making Stacey pose and not move for a very long time…and then she doesn’t even draw Stacey, just her ‘essence,’ which seems to involve a bunch of bright colors. I’d have thought Stacey’s essence would be more ‘sophisticated.’ (Also, Janine wants to know if it’s a still life or landscape. Ha!)
“And suddenly BD gave way to a big, ugly D.” The very juvenile part of me is chuckling very hard over that statement. (In this case, BD is ‘before divorce’, and D is ‘divorce’.)
Hee hee. Stacey is calling Kristy childish for singing about Stacey and Robert sitting in a tree, but then she turns around and starts talking about LUV…because that’s terribly mature.
‘Discretionary surplus enhancement’ is a fun finance way of saying pizza party, but it doesn’t really make sense. Wouldn’t ‘discretionary supplementary calorie intake’ or something be more accurate?
“The Amazing Mind of Kristy Thomas.” Sounds like a really bad kids’ movie.
Mary Anne allegedly sobs while watching Barney. So do I, but that’s not because I’m super-sensitive; it’s because it’s so mind-numbingly awful.
Usually the BSC members refer to Dawn as not caring what others think and being a bit of a free spirit. Stacey here calls Dawn “easygoing, intense, open-minded and opinionated.” It’s interesting, because I’d agree to her being intense and opinionated, but not so much easygoing. I’m of two minds about her being open-minded, because I’ve always pictured Dawn being one of the members who, as they aged, was willing to try all kinds of stuff: pot, making out with a girl, mushrooms, acid, skydiving…you name it.
Did you know Dawn doesn’t lecture people? I’m not trying to Dawn-hate here (any more than normal), but there are several books when she spends pretty much the whole plot lecturing…
Adam is disappointed when Mary Anne shows up for a sitting job instead of Stacey (who asked MA to fill in at the last minute so she could go out for pizza with Robert). I thought he didn’t like girls that much…so what’s the deal with him being so excited to see Stacey? Maybe she’s just more fun than Mary Anne is….
I can’t even imagine making pizza with the Pike household. Mrs. Pike needs to be introduced to frozen pizza, seriously. (Not to mention the fact that the kids spend more time dancing and playing the spoons than anything else.)
Seriously? Stacey is wearing turquoise wool slacks to the pizza parlor, and she asks her mother if she pressed them. A) It’s a pizza place. Garlic sauce, cheese threads and marinara sauce…chances are you’re going to get a little bit dirty. B) That’s the second time someone in this story wore wool slacks. Am I reading about 13 year olds or 80 year olds?
Stacey’s mom is a terrible driver, which Stacey blames on her not driving often before she moved to Stoneybrook.
Stacey’s grossed out by the thought of pineapple pizza. Has she never heard of Hawaiian pizza before? (I used to order pineapple and anchovy….)
Dawn spots Stacey at the pizza place while Mary Anne is subbing on her sitting job and then starts spying on her, ducking behind booths and the jukebox to watch her. Stacey says that the whole thing is very juvenile and I have to agree. Honestly, what I can’t figure out is whether Dawn was stalking Stacey (trying to figure out if she’d really had an emergency [heh—Stacey’s Emergency!] or not) or whether she was just downtown and spotted Stacey and started spying on her.
At the end of chapter five, Stacey wonders if she’s outgrowing the BSC. I honestly don’t think it’s a matter of ‘outgrowing.’ She feels like she’s more mature than Mal and Jessi, who are younger than her, and Kristy, who does things like calling Robert her true lovey poo. If Stacey had seriously left the club and not come back (and I’m sorry, I would have been able to figure out if I’d read this book back in 1995 that this was not going to be a permanent departure), it wouldn’t have been a matter of her being more mature so much as finding new friends and moving on. The fact that Stacey keeps being late to meetings and skipping jobs to hang out with her boyfriend and his friends belies her claims of maturity. Mary Anne hangs out with Logan and his friends, but she doesn’t skip meetings or jobs to do it. She makes the BSC a priority, which Stacey doesn’t do in this book. That’s not an issue of maturity level.
That said, I do have to agree with Robert’s friends that the BSC takes itself waaaaaaay too seriously.
After Dawn tells the BSC about the real reason Stacey missed a job, they’re all upset with her. She calls them the Six Sisters of Doom, which is kind of funny.
The title quote comes from Claudia’s attempt to smooth over everyone’s feelings with Goobers and pretzels. And it works! (Claud keeps being put in the peace keeper role at this point in the book, since she’s stuck in the middle.)
Ugh. Stacey tells herself not to be a snob, but then she turns around and does just that. She invites Mary Anne to the mall to smooth over any hurt feelings about misleading her about the job. (Stacey never said it was an emergency, but also never corrected Mary Anne when she assumed it was.) First she’s embarrassed when MA says ‘bestest’, even though she’s just joking. Then she says she’ll have to wear a mask to the mall so no one sees her with MA…because she’s got a sticker on her backpack that Stacey finds childish. Mary Anne is her friend…and had been a very GOOD friend to her, at that.
“Boy, was Mary Anne furious. She socked me in the jaw, pulled my hair, and refused to talk to me for a month.” Obviously, Stacey’s just kidding, but this would have been much more interesting than MA just forgiving Stacey…again…and cheerfully agreeing to reschedule their shopping trip.
Linny wants Emily and Sari to sing a ‘doot’ of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It reminded me so much of Tessie, because she would read words when she was a kid and not know how to pronounce them. (He means ‘duet.’) In fact, she used to pronounce Sari as Sah-RYE.
All the kids in Kristy’s neighborhood come over to her house while she’s sitting to audition with very questionable talents. My favorite comment, though, is when she says that Melody Korman did not live up to her name.
The Fat and Sugar Capital of Stoneybrook. I bet Claudia loooooves eating there!
Why the hell would Dawn agree to go to Burger Town (the aforementioned fat and sugar capital)? She asks Kristy and MA if they have anything besides ‘cow carcasses’ on the menu. I don’t eat red meat either, but I generally avoid places where everyone else will be eating them, as well.
Kristy really is behaving like a seven year old (or Alan Gray) all through dinner. I don’t blame Stacey for being a little embarrassed by her, after she ate butter, spit soda out her nose and stuck straws up her nose.
“I can smell spring.” “That’s just exhaust from Burger Town.” Trust me, those two things smell nothing alike.
Stacey takes a phone call from Robert while sitting for Jamie and Lucy. Jamie hadn’t wanted to eat his dinner, but Stacey made him. He then threw it back up…and because Stacey was on the phone (ignoring him), he had to walk to the bathroom, throwing up all the way, by himself. The Newtons tried to call (twice) so they know Stacey was on the phone during her job. They say it’s no big deal and accept her apology (especially because she cleaned up the mess as best she could), but then they turn around and complain to Kristy about it. It’s kind of passive-aggressive, but at the time they told her it wasn’t a problem, they didn’t realize how upset Jamie was over it.
Robert was planning to have a party and invite all of his friends, but he waits until the last dang second to ask his parents, who tell him no. (This is such a teenager thing!) Since they’d already invited everyone, Stacey just asks her mom if she can have it at her house instead. Her mom says as long as Stacey does all the prep and clean up and all she has to do is ‘look motherly’, then it’s fine. My mom would NOT have been that pleasant about it.
This is a problem though, for Stacey, and even more so for Claudia. When the party is first planned, Stacey invited Claud but not the rest of the BSC. Now that it’s at Stacey’s she doesn’t have the built-in excuse that Robert doesn’t know the BSC well and that’s why they’re not invited. But Stacey doesn’t want to invite them because they’re so ‘immature.’ Poor Claudia is stuck in the middle; she knows her friends will be mad if they find out, even though none of it is her fault.
I guess these girls are young enough that they haven’t figured out that they can have more than one clique of friends. I never really thought of that as an adult concept but I guess it is.
Stacey’s mom actually practices how she’s going to introduce herself at the party, whether she should be hip or formal. It’s not as bad as ‘Keep it real, homeys,’ or ‘What up, yo,’ but some of them are pretty silly. Oh, and then she puts on a baseball cap—backwards—and starts dancing with the guys. I guess she’s supposed to be the ‘cool’ mom.
Dawn is being pretty passive-aggressive in this book. First she was spying, and then she shows up at Stacey’s during the party (which half the class was invited to, explaining how she heard about it) with Mary Anne because ‘you hadn’t said that you were doing anything.’ If they hadn’t known about the party somehow, they would have just called Stacey and asked if she was free. Stacey’s behavior is pretty childish in this book, but Dawn and Kristy (who keeps being borderline obnoxious) aren’t looking much better.
Claudia spelling: talant, thriling, perfict. She also uses weak for week. Oh, and then she helps Dawn and Mary Anne make a banner that says KID’S TALANT SHOW. It takes eight year old Maria to point out the spelling mistake. Oh, and Charlotte (also eight) corrects the grammar on it. (Kids’, not kid’s)
I woke up in the middle of the night and when I couldn’t go back to sleep, I started thinking about this book. (No, I didn’t wake up because I was thinking about the book. I’m not THAT pathetic.) I was trying to figure out what the hell Dawn’s problem was. Then I suddenly realized it wasn’t really that Dawn had a problem. Someone had to be the passive-aggressive snoop. It wasn’t going to be Mary Anne—who is too sensitive and nice for that—and Kristy had already been put in the role of dictator, bugging Stacey for her BSC-related issues. Mal and Jessi, because they were younger, had to appear to be super-young so that Stacey could call the BSC immature. And Claud was the sympathetic friend, stuck in the middle until Stacey crossed her. Dawn was the only one left.
Chapter fourteen is the most OH HELL YEAH! chapter ever. I can’t/won’t repeat it word for word, simply because a) it’s almost the whole chapter and b) another blogger has done that before. But here’s a summary (in my own language, with my take in parentheses):
Claudia: If no one else is going to bring up the fact that Stacey has been selfish and obnoxious lately, then I am.
Stacey: What the hell do you all want from me? I’m human and I’m allowed to have a life outside the club. I have a Venn diagram of different groups of friends, and you weren’t part of that circle! (Yes, she actually brings up Venn diagrams. It’s hilarious.)
Kristy: You’re so immature. You should have told us you were having a party and not inviting us, and after Dawn and Mary Anne showed up, you should have called them to smooth things over. (All true!)
Stacey: I’m immature? You’re all big babies! At least I wasn’t sticking straws up my nose or spying on you from behind a jukebox.
Dawn: Oh, so we embarrass you. We’re not mega-cool like you and your other friends. (Yes, she says mega-cool. I’m going to start calling Stacey mega-cool instead of trendy and sophisticated.)
Stacey: You guys don’t want to be my friends, you want to control me. (This is also true. Tis the BSC cult, yo.) I quit!
Kristy: You can’t quit, you’re fired! Adios, bitch!
What’s actually interesting is that Mal and Jessi, who by this point in the series are largely relegated to a small supporting role, don’t say much, but what they say is very significant. Mal’s the one who says that everything started changing once Robert came into the picture, which is both very true and pretty observant of her. (Stacey can’t believe ‘meek little Mallory’ had the guts to say it.) Jessi is then the one who, at the very end of the conversation, points out that no one is making Stacey stay if she’s so miserable in the club. It’s not a cogent argument like Mal’s, necessarily, but it solves the little war. Stacey is, at least for the moment, happier not being a member of the club, and without her around, there’s less drama.
That’s pretty much the end, except Stacey makes it up to Charlotte by attending her piano recital and says she doesn’t regret quitting. I kind of wish she’d felt that way a little longer, not because I hate that character but because I love the drama-rama.
Claudia; really big shirt (sumo-big), giant wool pants with a sash, old work boots, hair barrette shaped like teeth
Stacey: turquoise linen slacks (but apparently no shirt! Woo!)
Dawn: down coat with big hood, six foot scarf and LL Bean boots (it’s March; I guess this is the California girl in her showing through)

Next: Claudia’s Book


  1. How is Sari pronounced? (I've always said it either Sair-ee or S-are (rhymes with car)-ee.)

  2. The title quote reminds of when I had dinner with my parents last week. Dad and I were going to split a chicken dish, and Mom wanted something with lots of vegetables. Dad and I like some vegetables, but not to the extent Mom does. Dad looked at the menu, pointed to one of the pictures, and said, "That looks pretty gross, do you want that?" (it had broccoli, which he hates but she loves...and she ended up getting it!)