Before I go on, I routinely get asked, “Hey, what about book number…?” So before anyone asks, I blogged #121, #122, #123 and super special #15 in the early, zygote days of this blog. I promise to have an entry on every BSC book (except the Secret Santa book, which I still believe is a conspiracy and doesn’t really exist), whether I liked that book or not. Just go back and look at my ‘Voldemort Book’ entry if you don’t believe me.
That taken care of, I must say I love this title. It’s so…unsure. In this story, yet another new client comes to town. Mr. Brooke is recently divorced, and Stacey is sitting for his kids. Her mom and Mr. Brooke meet and flirt a little bit, so Stacey tries to set them up with each other. Joni Brooke hates the idea and tries everything she can to break up her father’s relationship. Stacey pushes for the two of them, even as her mother sees flaws she can’t live with in Mr. Brooke.
In the B-plot, Mallory is contemplating going to boarding school. The BSC relate it to the plot of a book they’re reading as a BSC book club.
Stacey and her mom have started a mother-daughter book club. They’re reading Pride and Prejudice and discussing it weekly. It’s a neat idea, but wouldn’t that be more fun if they had more people involved?
Kristy gets mad at Claudia…for answering her phone before the meeting starts. As Claudia points out, this is her bedroom and her phone…what if the phone call was a personal one? Maybe Kristy doesn’t get those from people outside of the BSC, but Claudia does.
I’ll repeat, since this is coming to a head soon: I love the fact that Mallory’s depression and unhappiness built up over five whole books before she actually left for boarding school. Stacey points out exactly what I said about Mal’s whole experience teaching eighth grade: how ridiculous and unfair was it that the school sent an eleven year old to teach kids older than she was? She mentions the possibility of transferring schools for the first time in this book.
Abby is reading Jacob Have I Loved. That’s one of my favorites! The other members of the club mention The Great Gilly Hopkins and Bridge to Terabithia as being awesome, too.
Mr. Brooke writes detective stories, but Joni describes his books as, “horrible stuff. People being killed….” She seems really happy when describing this, and all I could think was, serial killer in the making!
This is what happens when I watch too much Criminal Minds.
The Brooke kids want to watch the movie of The Indian in the Cupboard. This book is full of other books!
The title quote is Mr. Brooke’s explanation as to why he uses a pseudonym for his books.
Ewan is reading a book called The Wrong-Way Rabbit. I’ve never heard of it, but I don’t doubt it really exists.
Ha! Joni says she thinks her dad used to be cool, way back before he had kids. I can’t help but think that this is not a normal thing for a kid to think, but such a normal kid way of thinking it, if that makes any sense. (I never thought my parents were cool when I was a kid, but if I had, I would have thought they used to be cool.)
Since when is Kristy allowed to babysit past midnight? When Mr. Brooke and Ms. McGill go out on their first date, he doesn’t come home till 12:30, leaving Kristy in charge. Last update I remember was Kristy saying she could sit until 10 on weeknights.
When talking about the Brookes kids, Mary Anne says she never knew whether her dad’s girlfriends (I almost wrote boyfriends, heh) actually liked her or not. I’d always had the impression that Richard didn’t date much before Sharon, though I’m not sure if that’s canon or just my internal image of him as a balding introvert in a sweater vest. I know it’s mentioned in one book that Richard and Sharon were both dating other people less (or something like that), but I questioned that image, as well.
Overall, these girls are really interested in their parents’ love lives. Stacey’s excited that her mom is dating again, while Abby wishes her mom would go on dates. Dawn and MA actively campaigned for Richard and Sharon to hook up. I probably wouldn’t have been so understanding of my mom dating when I was a teen.
Most ironically-funny line in this book award goes to Mallory: “But I’m not a character in a book.”
There is a metric ton of book analysis in this story. Ms. McGill reads Mr. Brooke’s stories and doesn’t like some of the rhetoric his characters spew. She sees the main character distrusting people and thinking they’re all innately selfish across all his writing. She points out that people write what they know, what’s in their head. Stacey, being young and not as knowledgeable, states that it may not be something Mr. Brookes believes as well, but I’m with her mom. It’s very possible to write characters that don’t agree with your world view, but when he’s got that many protagonists with the same position, then it’s obviously something he firmly believes.
Wow, is Joni ever crying out for attention. She steals the mouse from her father’s computer and throws it up a tree. The most annoying part of the story thus far is the fact that Mr. Brooke just keeps telling Stacey and her mom that Joni needs to get over it and he has to be firm with her. Come on, dude. You’re now a single dad; you need to be more sensitive to your nine-year-old’s feelings. I don’t think that she should be allowed to dictate whether or not her dad dates, but knowing that she’s unhappy should probably give him the hint to slow down and let her and Ms. McGill get to know each other before trying to work on a relationship.
I loooove when these books show their age by using real movies and bands and whatnot. Stacey’s mom is playing classical music, which I feel like she’s done before. Joni complains, so Stacey’s mom offers to change it. (This is actually a nice way to make a connection to Joni, so of course, her dad shoots the idea down.) Joni wants to listen to…Hanson. Can’t you just picture it? “Please pass the turkey.” “Mmmmbop!”
The final nail in the coffin? Joni refuses to eat Ms. McGill’s turkey, claiming she’d become a vegetarian since breakfast and that the turkey looked disgusting. Stacey convinces her to come back to the table. Ewan: “Joni, the turkey is good. You should have some even if you’re a vegetable now.”
Every time Stacey describes Ethan, she mentions his earring. Every time, I think…is that supposed to be a selling point for him? Add to that, I’ve always seen Ethan as a completely useless character, like he was only created so Stacey would get over Robert. However, he’s actually smart in this situation. He suggests to Stacey that she should trust her mom when she wants to break up with Mr. Brooke, because a) she’s her flippin’ mom! and b) there might be more to the relationship that what Stacey had seen. (He doesn’t say it, but I couldn’t help but think that maybe Mr. Brooke is really bad in bed and that’s part of the issue….)
Claudia spelling. Strang, wold, thot (thought), terning, tho. She also spells Brooke as Brook, though I completely forgive her for that. (I can’t spell Massachusetts, so I’m not going to misjudge spelling a last name wrong…unless she spells her own last name wrong. I feel like she might have done that once….)
Aww, this is sad. Joni finally gets over her anger at her dad dating again when Stacey tells her it’s normal….right before Ms. McGill breaks up with her dad. She becomes convinced she drove both Ms. McGill and her own mother away with her behavior. Claudia tries to assure her it’s not her fault that Ms. McGill broke up with her father by saying that she loves kids who are a pain—after all, she loves Stacey. This made me laugh.
Joni and Ewan Brooke (9 and 5)—27 and 23
Claudia: tie-dyed overalls