Thursday, October 8, 2015

“Claudia Kishi, sports fashion consultant.” BSC #89: Kristy and the Dirty Diapers (1995)

Let’s Vlog! Doo-da-doo-da-da-doo!

There are three plotlines in this story that all sorta overlap. The title comes from the fact that a diaper company agrees to sponsor the Krushers. The new uniforms say Diapers and the owner feels that he has a stake in the Krushers now that he’s sponsoring them. Kristy eventually tells him to take a hike.
The other two plots relate into the Krushers at different levels. Mrs. Porter’s granddaughter, Druscilla (Dru), who was the subject of a Little Sister book, is staying with ol’ Morbidda Destiny because her parents are getting divorced. Kristy gets her to join the Krushers because she thinks it would be good for Dru, who’s drifting and ‘being difficult.’ She doesn’t like playing and quits, but makes friends with some neighborhood kids and starts a band.
Probably the most important part of the story, though, is that some new neighbors have moved in down the street, the Stevensons. Kristy doesn’t like Abby much at first. She does like Anna but feels they have little in common. Kristy asks them both to join the BSC, but Anna turns her down. Abby not only joins the club (duh) but becomes assistant Krushers’ coach.
Interesting tidbits
Gotta love Kristy’s cover sweater. Paging Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable…

When Emily Michelle watches Krushers practice, she yells ‘stike one!’ every time someone swings the bat. That’s probably both extremely cute and extremely annoying after a while.
There are construction workers updating the Stevensons’ house before they move in. David Michael calls them destruction workers, not because he doesn’t know they correct term, but because they’re knocking stuff down so they can build it back up.
Ooh, I knew this was a Peter Lerangis book the second Linny Papadakis started talking with his mouth full…to insult his sister. Linny: You throw like a girl. Hannie: I am a girl! Linny: That’s no excuse!
A moment later, DM hits Kristy with a softball. When she explains she’s fine because he didn’t throw it hard enough, DM’s insulted by that idea, so Kristy belatedly pretends she’s injured.
Kristy ponders a future as a sports reporter, but you’d think that was the last thing she’d want to be. Isn’t that what her deadbeat father (whom she just four pages before said she doesn’t like even thinking about) did for a living?
IOAG: It’s only a game. Shannon has the right attitude, but we all know Kristy ain’t gonna hear none of that.
Mistake: Shannon shows up to Krushers practice with the Barrett kids, for whom she was sitting. But she leaves practice with the Kuhn kids. Maybe that’s not a mistake; maybe she had a job for the Barretts that ended during practice and has a job with the Kuhns that starts during practice. But that seems weird and unlikely.
Claudia muses on the ‘flavor bouquet’ of year-old candy corn she finds in the back of her closet. I really wish PL had written all these books, honestly.
There’s this way Kristy describes Mal and Jessi joining the club that makes them sound like stray cats—she says they ‘took them in’. It’s a little odd.
Kristy has a dream about the BSC taking on an alien member that sounds very much like the plot line of a bad kids television show. The girl looks normal, but changes into alien form whenever the parents leave and takes the kids aboard her spaceship. The kids adore her and the parents never find out.
Oh, let’s make fun of Morbidda Destiny for a little bit. (Kristy even almost calls her that to her face.) But it’s okay, because we humanize her a moment later by having her tell Watson and Elizabeth that her daughter’s getting divorced and she’s worried about her granddaughter. She even sounds like she’s going to cry.
Heh. The diaper service man has the same name as the boy I had a giant crush on from fifth grade all the way through high school.
I think the diaper-related stuff would have been more interesting if the diaper company had been the same one that Kristy had called when she pranked Shannon back in #11.
The title quote comes after Claudia suggests Kristy demand veto power over the baseball ‘costumes,’ but obviously this wasn’t a bad idea. Maybe Kristy should have listened to her.
“Shannon’s life was one big club sandwich.” After reading Shannon’s Story, I’ve always kind of felt that Shannon overbooks herself on purpose to get out of her house. I like the fact that Shannon’s family is a little dysfunctional, because it’s realistic. (It’s the same reason that I like that Stacey’s parents put her in the middle after their divorce.) Everyone knows a family where the parents don’t really get along/love each other anymore but stay together anyway. Both Shannon and Tiffany’s behavior throughout the series make more sense when you consider their family environment.
When Shannon meets Dru, she’s flipping through an old photo album of Morbidda Destiny’s. Shannon mentions that Mrs. Porter—who was pregnant with her daughter at the time—was beautiful, but Dru thinks she looks like “Barney with hair.”
Real books: Esio Trot (I LOVE Roald Dahl!) and Tiffky Doofky.
We finally meet Anna and Abby in chapter six…
The first descriptor we get of ‘the twins’ (Kristy doesn’t know their names yet) is that they are tall—5’6” or 5’7”. I was curious as to how realistic that is, so I dug up a growth chart. It’s always kind of bugged me that Kristy is described as 5’ even and the shortest girl in her class, when this growth chart suggests that that would be the 25th percentile for 13 year old girls. 5th percentile is 4’7”, so Kristy should be closer to that height. On the other hand, while 5’7” is 95th percentile so it’s possible for Abby to be that tall. (Wouldn’t it be funny if Kristy were 4’7”? Abby would be a full foot taller than her!)
I love reading Kristy’s reaction to Abby. I know that Abby can be overbearing because that’s some people’s first response to books with her in them. But I kind of get the feeling that Kristy’s problem isn’t that Abby’s overwhelming or too much—because everyone else is enjoying her presence. Kristy just seems jealous because she’s not the center of things; she’s not running the show. (It’s double-funny because she says the same thing about Abby needing to be the center of attention.) I honestly think that’s half of Kristy’s problem with Abby, in addition to Abby’s lack of focus and inability to take things seriously.
When the Stevensons first arrive at their home, there are no services due to a mix-up. Because the Brewers aren’t insane enough, they invite the Stevensons to stay with them. Abby and Anna pack a night’s clothes, although probably in darkness. Anna and Kristy think it’s hilarious that Abby shows up to breakfast in a striped shirt and clashing paisley skirt. She should have gone ahead and worn it to school, because then Claudia would have gotten the idea and have been wearing a worse version of it next week. (And of course, it would have looked great on her.)
After half a day, some of the kids (boys) already know Abby (and have a nickname for her). Kristy suggests that sports isn’t Abby’s only skill. Not only is this rude—and presumptuous—but there’s almost a hint of jealousy in that arena, too. I wouldn’t have been bothered by this nearly as much if the guys had had at least one girl with them, so that Kristy was suggesting that Abby made friends easily…rather than that she was easy. (I do find it interesting that Abby’s naturally popular with the opposite sex but she’s not particularly interested in them.)
Real book: Mozart Season. I remember reading that when I was about eleven or so.
Before the Krushers became the Diapers, they beat the Bashers in game one of the ‘world series.’ In game two, they have their new uniforms. Several of them are okay with the outfits saying Diapers, but all the older kids (sans Jackie) hate them. Linny says his dog peed on his, while several of the kids show up with their jerseys inside out. Linny actually almost gets into a fist fight with the members of the opposite team. (Hey! That’s usually Haley’s job…at least to threaten fist fights.)
Abby actually corrects Mr. Davis when he calls Hannie at third baseman. He seems bewildered by the political correctness, but it shuts him up for a moment. Before that, he’d insulted Patsy, Jake, and Hannie.
Later she calls him on the horrible way he talks to the kids and tells him off enough to get Kristy on board. She sends back his supplies and makes Abby assistant coach instead.
Kristy calls Bart a dork. Look ‘dork’ up in the dictionary sometime.
The Krushers Quartet, Druscilla’s band, makes its debut in the last game of the World Series and becomes Kristy’s secret weapon. They’re so bad that the Bashers are distracted. (After the series is over, they change their name to Druscilla and the Dynamos.)
So my book was previously owned by a seventh grader named Sylvia who attended FOJH. (That would likely be Fort Osage Junior High, which no longer exists. Kids in that district now attend Osage Trail Middle School.)
Abby: U4ME t-shirt, baggy plaid shorts; striped shirt with paisley skirt
Anna: khaki pants, sandals, short-sleeved button down shirt

Next: Mystery #22. Hot dog!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I agree. Maybe some of the characters would grow up to be lesbian, but a lack of interest in the available boys when you're thirteen doesn't make you lesbian, even if you're into sports. I was one of those girls. Turns out I'm not just heterosexual, but only attracted to the guy I married. No wonder I wasn't into the people in my middle school!