Before I reread this one, let’s discuss a little Dawn timeline.
#4: Dawn moves to CT from CA
#30: Mom gets married; she and MA (I’m all about the abbrev. today) become stepsisters
#67: Temporarily moves back to CA
SS #12 (between #80 and #81, I believe): Dad gets married; moves back to CT
#87: Finds out Sunny’s mom has cancer
#88: Moves back to CA (not really for good, since she narrates 2 more books and is in every SS for the rest of BSC-time.)
If Dawn’s visit to California was six months and 14ish books, then how long was she back in Connecticut before she turned around and moved back to California?
Anyhoo, people, obviously, Dawn decides she needs to permanently move back to California for two reasons. 1. She needs to be near Sunny while her mom’s dying. 2. Ann M. Martin decided she needed to write the California Diaries. (Yeah, I went there.) The most interesting part is that she doesn’t tell Mary Anne she’s leaving because she knows it would hurt her feelings; she procrastinates until MA finds out from someone else and is even more hurt.
In the B plot, James Hobart breaks his leg and the BSC throw him a Christmas party (in the middle of summer vacation) to cheer him up.
Stop! Cover time! Is it just me, or is it really funny that Claudia and Kristy look so happy to see Dawn go? It’s more like “Good riddance!” than “Farewell!”
Hmm. Maybe #85 wasn’t a mistake when it had three separate pages stating the title. This one is the same way….
Oh look, there’s Norman. Let’s talk about his weight. *eye roll*
I love this: One phone call to Sunny and Dawn makes up her mind that she must move back to California.
Dawn says Stacey’s still changing, even with her return to the BSC. Teeki’s psychoanalysis? She seems to be having a crisis of self-esteem, not quite knowing who she is or where she stands. Very normal for a girl her age, if you ask me.
There’s one paragraph in chapter 2 that is indented further than the rest, and it’s extremely distracting.
This is actually nice and true about Mal: Dawn says she’s quick with a snappy retort. They do it subtly most of the time, but Mal is pretty sarcastic and quick witted.
Reactions to being told Dawn wants to move back to CA:
Carol: Tells her to just come on back home (as if it’s that easy. Even Carol should know that it’s not.)
Sharon: Says she hates it, but it’s Dawn’s choice and she respects it
Richard: Waits for Sharon’s approval, then starts working on the legal aspects
Kristy: ‘Oh no! I’m really going to miss you, but what is the BSC going to do?’ (my paraphrase)
Mary Anne: feels betrayed because she hears it second hand (actually, sixth hand). She actually purposely smashes a mug on the floor
Nicky manages to get Margo to play football with him and the Hobart boys by imitating her and saying girls are horrible at the game. Most of the time he doesn’t want anything to do with the girls in his family, but it’s nice to see that he’s learned to read them so well. (Ben: “I’m not big on American football.” Mal: “That shows intelligence.”)
Aww, Claire is really sweet. Being the baby of the family, she doesn’t really get the chance to be comforting and supportive to others, but when James breaks his leg, Johnny starts crying. Claire gives him a hug and gets him to stop.
Mary Anne hears Dawn’s news from Logan, who heard it from Robert (who knew the two of them were friends?), who heard from Stacey, who heard from Claudia, who heard from Kristy. Dawn told Kristy not to tell anyone—she’d only informed her so that she could be aware as the BSC president. Who knew Kristy was such a gossip?
When MA finds out Dawn is leaving, they get into a fight and basically just call each other selfish (for only thinking about her own feelings, not the others). But Dawn gets mad and told MA she was glad she wasn’t her and didn’t feel the way MA did…because MA’s solution to problems is to sit there, worry and cry, while Dawn is more an action person. This is true, but not a nice thing to say, especially the way Dawn phrases it. I always forget how bitchy Dawn and Mary Anne get when they fight. I love it.
Sharon-itis: Christmas cards in with the cookie sheets. I actually understand this one…I lost my camera once and found it in my Christmas decorations nearly a year later. Last time I’d used it was at a Christmas party.
My favorite sitting client moment of the book is this ongoing rivalry between Jenny Prezzioso and Archie Rodowsky. He sprays her with faux snow and then the two of them fight over which of their macaroni ornaments looks better. (Who cares? It’s still macaroni.)
The Christmas in Summer idea for James was created simply because Christmas is the happiest time of the year and James was miserable. But it worked out better than they expected because Christmas occurs in summer in Australia. He felt like he was back home. Shannon sort of narrates that chapter, which works out pretty well. She makes a mention of being glad that she’d gotten more involved in the BSC, which makes Dawn sort of regret her choice to leave.
Heh. At Dawn’s going away party, there are two tables of food, Healthy Food and Dawn’s Yucky Food.
Stacey’s being all existential about her identity crisis. She tells Dawn that you have to follow your instincts or you won’t be happy in life, which gives Dawn more confidence about her decision.
The title quote is Claudia’s explanation about why the BSC came to the airport to say goodbye to Dawn.
Just a weird little nitpicky thing. (I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have one of these!) Dawn’s flight is the “flight to California.” There are a LOT of airports in California. Even saying it’s the flight to LA wouldn’t probably be enough information.
I actually liked the BSC goodbyes. Some of them were boring, with people promising to write back and forth. But Shannon says she’ll write asking for advice, such as “How do I do a million things at once?” That’s mostly interesting because Shannon is always overbooked anyway. She doesn’t need Dawn’s advice on that.
Mary Anne, after she got over her fight with Dawn, was acting distant and cold and fake-polite. She told Dawn she had to deal with the move in her own way, which is fair enough. Finally, she gets all upset because she and Dawn won’t be sharing a bathroom at night to brush their teeth anymore. When Dawn was temporarily gone, Mary Anne imagined she was still there. But now that will be harder, so the two of them agree to each take a picture of herself brushing her teeth and send it to the other, to put in the bathroom.
The final chapter is all letters back and forth. There are a few highlights, such as Dawn acknowledging the fact that school starts back up earlier in CA than in CT. Jessi says she looks up to Dawn and wants her to know what their friendship has meant. James thanks Dawn for Christmas and says he too understands what it’s like to be homesick, which is really sweet. MA doesn’t want anyone to see the picture of her brushing her teeth ‘except parents’, but I have a feeling Jeff will see it, too, unless Dawn has her own private bathroom. And Mrs. Bruen will definitely see it when she cleans.
Oh, and of course Claudia writes a letter as well. The funniest part (aside from the spelling) is that she gets chocolate on the postcard but sends it anyway. Spelling: Weve, alredy, starded, buzy, amound, choclit, wile. She signs it luv, Claudia, but I can’t tell if that’s a spelling error or if Stacey’s rubbed off on her.
I only have two more Dawn books to read, #98 and her autobiography. I’m actually a little sad about that.
Mary Anne: blue and white plaid shorts, blue t-shirt
Dawn: white shirt, flowered blouse; gauzy blue sun dress with white buttons
Mr. and Mrs. Hill: jogging suits (whee!)
Claudia: oversized white cotton jumpsuit with jungle scene painted on one leg, pink sleeveless tee with purple sleeveless tee, safety pin and bead belt, parrot earrings; red shorts, green vest, white t-shirt, sandals with red and green ribbons
Next: Claudia and the Recipe for Danger. Sounds awesome!