Monday, December 7, 2015

“I felt as if I’d just been kicked in the stomach by a Tyrannosaurus rex.” BSC #95: Kristy + Bart = ? (1996)

This book is one big OH HELL YEAH! moment. I mean, let’s look at all the reasons.
1.    It’s an issue book, which always equals awesome.
2.    The title is a math problem, which means Stacey should like it.
3.    There’s making out!
4.    KRISTY is the one making out!
5.    Kristy also gets super-duper-mega grounded.
Come on, people! How does it get any better than that?
As for the plot: Do I really need to explain it? Or can you get it from that synopsis?
Interesting Tidbits
As I’ve mentioned before, the last regular-series book I owned as a child was #73. But it wasn’t the last book I read. About once a month, my mother would drop my sister and I off at the mall. I wasn’t really much of a shopper, so I used to always go to the bookstore and spend 90% of the time we were at the mall curled up in the Super Crown or Waldenbooks. In March of 1996, I was fifteen, and I spent almost two hours reading this piece of literary genius. I literally remembered two pieces about it later: one was the basic plot that Kristy was ambivalent about Bart and a real relationship. The other part, I’ll mention as it pops up. 
The cover: Kristy looks like she’s got a serious problem with Bart’s arm. Incredulous Kristy is back, and this time, she’s gonna take revenge…on an appendage!

Here’s #6 for our reasons this book rocks: Peter Lerangis wrote it.
I love it when Claudia uses vocabulary words no one else knows. I also love it when Abby makes fun of her by making words up.
I can’t understand Kristy’s obsession with Anna. She’s nice but not exactly friendly, and she seems to constantly blow Kristy off. Yet Kristy spends a lot of time trying to be good friends with her. Also, Anna is so one-dimensional at this point; she thinks only of music.
Nannie’s handwriting looks a lot like Kristy’s. I love the fact that she wrote her note in little snippets, as if she were giving quick directions before rushing out the door.
Apparently the Pink Clinker has more than 100K miles on it….like that’s some sort of accomplishment.
Haha! Charlie’s making out in the Junk Bucket, which Kristy insists is no big deal. Yet she gets all embarrassed and runs off before he can see her “spying” on him.
Kristy says that the rule that no girlfriends are allowed in the house when no one else is home is stupid. This is how you can tell she’s too young for a boyfriend (or girlfriend, if you subscribe to that logic), because she doesn’t have any clue why her mom’s rule is a good one…and pretty standard for most parents. I would have understood that rule at her age. Hell, I would have understood that rule at Karen’s age.
“Joke. Get it? Eye exam…Ralph?” No, I don’t get it. Does anyone get it? Care to explain it to me? Actually, better yet, don’t.
Leave it to Karen. Bart points out they can’t play softball yet because they’re still wearing down coats. Karen: “Mine’s not down. It’s Hollofil.” She’s so literal it’s annoying.
How do the Pikes not have a toilet plunger? Mrs. Pike calls the BSC and, in addition to asking for a sitter, she asks Mallory to borrow the Kishis’ plunger. Mal isn’t at all concerned about why the plunger is necessary…just the fact that she has to carry it down the street.
Oh, and there’s a bad pun: Abby volunteers to take the plunge and sit for the Pikes with Mal.
I’m with Kristy. When someone puts his arm around you and you sit in the same position for too long, it’s uncomfortable. Of course, Kristy’s really just having an issue with it because she doesn’t like Bart that way, but I happen to agree with her on that part of it.
Kristy suggests that the Pike neighbors must all use earplugs all day long to deal with how loud they are. I would think that if the houses are far enough apart, it would muffle the sound enough.
The Pikes actually make Abby cry! The subplot of the book is the various kids setting crazy records. (Vanessa wins a speed multiplication contest; Margo wears the most hats on her head, etc.) Claire and Vanessa start a bubble gum spit, and a wad (I love that word) ends up in Abby’s hair. When peanut butter and ice don’t work, Mal has to cut the gum free.
Bart suggests that Logan’s only in the BSC because Mary Anne is in it. It rubs Kristy the wrong way even though it’s actually true. Logan only tries to join the BSC because Mary Anne was a member. I have the feeling if she was in the glee club, he would have joined that instead. Or the cheerleaders….
Oh, and interestingly, Bart says Logan’s only in the BSC because ‘his girlfriend’ is in it as a way of dismissing Kristy’s idea that he should join the club. But…he called Kristy his girlfriend earlier and clearly wants the kind of relationship Logan and Mary Anne have, so why would he say that?
This is actually what’s interesting about this book: Kristy isn’t totally comfortable with Bart, and she doesn’t want a kissyface (her word) lovey-dovey relationship with him. She’d rather play softball than hold hands, and actually watch movies instead of making out in the back of the theater. Yet she’s jealous of Logan and Mary Anne and how easy and natural romance seems for them. Who didn’t feel that way at one point or another in their teens? Or at least know someone who felt that way? It’s a lot more realistic than many of the other book plot lines, even though Kristy’s all muddled. She’s acting like a normal teenager, blaming Bart for everything even though she’s as much at fault as he is.
Another really bad pun: The Brewer-Thomas kids were singing the longest version of The Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly. Karen sings the wrong line, about a yak swallowing a platypus when she should have said the yak swallowed the gnu. David Michael pipes up from his own room and shouts, “No gnus is good news!” Abby would be so proud.
Let’s back up here a minute. Remember the rule about no girlfriends when no one else is home? Remember how Kristy would have rather been watching the movie with Bart than kissing him? Okay. Bart shows up at Kristy’s house while she’s babysitting and everyone else is in bed. She lets him in to watch the game, and doesn’t even stop to consider that no girlfriends when no one else is home also means no boyfriends when no one else at home is awake. This is because a) she doesn’t consider Bart her boyfriend, really, and b) she is actually just thinking about watching the game, not making out. But of course Watson and her mother come home while they’re kissing. (It’s nothing too wild and crazy, of course: all their clothes are still on and all of their hands are still where they can be seen…)
“As if he’d just stumbled onto a murder scene, with the killer still there.” Kristy’s take on Watson’s expression when he finds her and Bart alone.
Ooh, you know Kristy’s mom is mad because she calls her Kristin Amanda. Heehee!
The title quote is Kristy’s reaction to having to have a long talk with her mother…which then doesn’t happen. She apologizes and her mom grounds her.
I’ve heard some other people complain about the way Kristy is grounded. She’s not allowed to leave her bedroom except to go to the bathroom. If Kristy were an only child, I’d agree that was cruel. But honestly, being punished by being stuck in your house when there are 9 other people running around isn’t really a punishment. So they have to lock her away.

Sorry, I had to take an hour long break to cry because I just finished watching the episode of Doctor Who in which the tenth doctor sacrifices himself to save the most awesome old man. “I’m still not ginger!” So much more heartbreaking than Kristy’s whininess about being grounded.
So what’s Kristy’s whine? She blames Bart for what happened that night, and for her getting caught. This is such a teenager thing and so realistic. Yes, Bart came over when she was sitting, but she didn’t have to let him in. Yes, he kissed her, but she let him…and kissed him back. She could have stopped it, but, as she says, “Kissing was much more fun.” So she’s as much to blame as he is, but her attitude is so typical.
Oh, and Kristy imagines that Abby can’t handle all the kids at the record-making event the two of them had scheduled. She seems to think Abby will have an allergic reaction to that many children. Not only is this really silly, but it verifies the fact that Kristy doesn’t completely trust Abby. (I’m sure Kristy thinks she could handle all the kids on her own, no problem.)
Although, Kristy keeps finding humorous ways to spend her incarceration, such as looking up prison-related words in the thesaurus. She decides she’s a political prisoner under house arrest.
When Kristy calls Abby, Abby almost hangs up on her because it feels like “minus one in the morning.” I’m guessing Abby is NOT a morning person.
My one really strong memory of this book was actually a little hazy. I thought that Kristy had Krushers practice during her grounding and kept yelling out the window to give Abby direction. It was actually that stupid record-setting-meeting that Kristy keeps yelling out the window about. And when her mom tells her she can’t talk, she pantomimes. And when her mom catches her at that, she throws paper airplanes. This is both so silly and so Kristy-resourceful.
I love Abby’s thoughts on Kristy’s weekend (paraphrased): “So, you guys are going to have to play tonsil hockey at Bart’s from now on, huh?” This is also accurate to teens. I know I had that one friend who thought/spoke like that in my teens.
Stacey actually wears a designer baseball cap…but brings along an old, dirty one in case it rains. Oh, Stacey. (You also know she’s in for a great sitting job when she’s greeted at the door by Haley screaming at the top of her lungs.)
Kristy’s trying to figure out her emotions. She doesn’t want to call Mary Anne, since she’s afraid she’ll sound like a baby in comparison to the whole long-term relationship thing MA’s got going, so she calls Jessi…who suggests she call MA. I can only imagine how MA feels when Kristy calls her—crying—and speaks so fast that Mary Anne has to respond, “Say it again, slowly, as if I’m just learning English.”
I like Mary Anne’s response. She points out how young Kristy was when she learned to walk, while MA was a late walker, and then reminds her how everyone grows and matures at their own rates. Even Kristy admits it’s not something she didn’t already know.
Claudia spelling! HOO-ray! Desided, somthing, gyes, realy, funy, evry, somtimes. She also uses no for know, write for right, two for too and grate for great. But best of all, she knows she has lousey speling.
Claudia solves a record-related problem by finding records the little kids—Jenny, Jamie, and Claire—could make without the older kids wanting to best them. (Haley had taught Jenny the potato throw during Stacey’s sitting job, but because she couldn’t throw as far, she threw a tantrum about it.)
Claudia’s signs for the record-setting talent show: Outrageous, Death-Defying, Stupendist, Hare-Raising, Sensational, Colossal and Phenominal.
Jessi asks Mary Anne how to spell Ohdner. Why bother? The Ohdners never go to events like this, because they’re not insane like the rest of Stoneybrook.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Kristy says Zounds! That’s one of my favorite expressions, (as should be clear from a couple books ago) ever since I discovered King’s Quest VI and everyone’s least-favorite computer game character, Alexander of Daventry. I even dressed at Prince Alexander for Halloween one year.
It wouldn’t be a Peter Lerangis book if someone weren’t throwing food. Logan pretended to throw a roll at Bart earlier, and now Claudia throws a chocolate croissant at Kristy. I’m surprised Claudia didn’t eat the croissant instead. What a waste of something chocolaty.
I’m not sure Bart ever shows up in another book. I’m glad that the two of them worked out their differences, but the whole point is that they decide to just be friends…and then stop talking to each other. At some point, they even stop mentioning the Krushers altogether.
Claudia: Bowling shirt with the name Ralph (‘get it?’) on it

Next: Mary Anne’s book

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