Saturday, December 17, 2016

"It's called the Stoneybrook Examiner, even though I don't think it examines very much." BSC Friends Forever Special #2: Graduation Day (2000)

The final BSC book...sigh.
There are several threads going through this book at the same time. Obviously, our eighth graders are finally graduating. They are given a project that all eighth graders get at SMS: they are to write themselves letters that will be mailed back to them in four years when they graduate high school. The BSC also decide to help create a time capsule that will be opened in seven years when their oldest sitting charges graduate high school.
Meanwhile, each girl has her own drama:
Claudia, in traditional Claudia style, is worried about passing math...but flunks science instead.
Stacey learns that she can't graduate unless she returns a library book that she doesn't even remember borrowing. She also worries about her Mom, Dad and Samantha all coming to graduation together, although that fear turns out to be irrational.
Mary Anne decides she needs to talk to Logan to get a little more closure on their break up.
Kristy isn't ready to let go of SMS, or the BSC...despite the fact that her other friends are all talking about new opportunities and fresh starts.
Interesting Tidbits
The cover. Why is there a different Claudia on this one? Could they not get the girl who'd been on the other covers? Very distracting.

Like the first SS, the chapters are not numbered. There's a reason for it this time, though, so that they can toss in little short chapters from various other characters. These chapters are all handwritten and cover people's entries into the time capsule. There are entries from the current BSC members, ex-BSC members, and clients.
In her very first journal entry, Kristy wonders if it's possible to have a do-over at eighth grade. Like she hasn't done that enough times already!
Where is Boiceville State? Is that a real school? It's where Charlie (allegedly) wants to go to college. (It doesn't appear to be real, but there is a real Boiceville, NY, which is just outside of Ithaca.)
Did anyone go to a school where middle school graduation was such a big deal that they actually sold memory boxes for them? I can see Mary Anne wanting one, but it seems ridiculous. To be fair, I grew up in a place where the whole school district was two buildings: K-6 and 7-12. There was no middle school graduation ceremony, just a year end dance and field trip.
Stacey's dad's email handle is bigdad. I'm picture him weighing 300lb now. (Bigdaddy would have been funnier, or olddad.)
"Can you believe Charlotte will be in fourth grade next year?" Umm, she skipped a grade. She's already in fourth grade. (That's one on-going flaw that really annoys me.)
Claudia IM spelling (lol): assinment, myslef. She also uses your for you're and its for it's. Normally, this wouldn't be too noticable, but Stacey types in complete sentences with proper grammar and no txt speak.
This sounds like me. Claudia contemplates writing her letter to herself. Two hours later, she's got "Dear Claudia," and chosen a font. I once spent two hours setting up my work space and fudging the margins, font size and line spacing on my computer before starting a research paper. (Did you know that if the assignment is 10 pages, 10pt font, single spaced, with 1" margins, you can cut a whole paragraph or more off the paper by making it 10.5pt font, 1.2 space, 1.1" margins? And it doesn't really look any different? College: where you learn how to cheat...)
Mary Anne is actually the one who comes up with the BSC time capsule--or, as she calls it, a neighborhood time capsule. Well, Vanessa says the words 'time capsule' first, but why would she want to make a BSC capsule? Kristy points out that they used to do stuff like the time capsule all the time, like those were the good old days instead of the insane, unrealistic plotline days.
Claudia email spelling: Mary ann, aftrenoon, realy, cant, tomorow, Maryanne, nervouse. She also uses grate for great and finale for final. (Some of this could just be typos rather than spelling, but it's Claudia.)
Hmm. Claudia and Stacey are emailing/IMing each other and others for all their chapter openers, but MA and Kristy are just writing in their diaries/journals. And while I can list a bunch of people's email addresses (Ethan's is MRDALI), I don't think I have one for either Kristy or MA. I can't believe Kristy doesn't have her own email handle.
So what goes into the time capsule? Mary Anne: a piece of burnt wood from her old house. Mal: a chamber of commerce brochure. Jackie: a softball to represent Kristy's Krushers. Jessi: an article about racial intolerance (hate to break it to her, but 16 years later, that still exists.) Kristy: BSC flier--of course. Abby: photo album of BSC members, club clients and important places. Stacey: flier from one of the BSC events. Claire: her teddy bear (she later gets him back). Dawn: pages from the newspaper. Claudia: Stoneybrook 250th birthday flier on which she did the artwork. Charlotte: elementary school newspaper with an article she wrote.
There's this whole Charlie subplot in this book, which loops back around to FF#1. He didn't get around to applying to schools until it was too late to get into anything but smaller state schools, so he's accepted into Boiceville State (which apparently is somewhere he can commute to, but he wants to live in the dorms.) He's planning to transfer to UCLA for his second year. Kristy points out that UCLA is "near Dad", but Patrick is in Sausalito, in northern CA. He's probably six hours from Los Angeles. By Kristy's argument, Charlie would still be "near Dad" at the University of Washington, or Idaho, or even Kansas...
Heh. Stacey actually pictures her mom and Samantha getting into a Jerry Springer-style brawl at graduation. She doesn't give her parents much credit, does she? If they can't be adult, they don't sit together and they avoid each other's company. Simple as that.
After Stacey finds out she owes a library book, she writes this letter to herself: "Dear Stacey, I am thirteen years old, and I am an idiot. Love, Stacey." Not only do I absolutely love that, but I can't help but think...since she's finally graduating, shouldn't she have been allowed to have a fourteenth birthday? It's June, and Stacey was born in April.
Abby's photo album of the neighborhood is pretty BSC-biased, but my favorite part is the picture of Claudia's bedroom. She included it au natural, including a pair of Claudia's underwear hanging out.
I love that Claudia got a D+ on her science experiment. I know that sounds cruel, but hang on a moment. She did a "does music effect plant growth?" project that was worth 25% of her grade. That is the same exact project Charlotte Johanssen did for the science fair...and she's in elementary school. I think the teacher took some pity on her because she followed (or at least tried to follow) the proper procedure and that's why she didn't fail. (Isn't there an episode of the Cosby Show with basically the same plot? Vanessa put together a very elementary school science project and got a bad grade on it because of her age...)
It's too delicious that Stacey included a neighborhood talent show flier for the time capsule. I can't remember what book that was offhand, but I very distinctly remember that Stacey and Claudia snarked at each other about all the acts. Stacey's description of the event includes the fact that Buddy Barrett showed off tricks Pow could do, but if I remember correctly, he claimed he was a lion tamer. The title quote from my entry on that was Stacey asking why he was wearing a Cub Scout uniform if he was a lion tamer. (It was #54.)
In Dawn's letter for the time capsule, she notes that all of the stores in the ads in the newspaper will probably still be around. One of the stores was Merry Go Round, a real store which the BSC always shopped at--but which went out of business in 1996.
More Claudia spelling: yourslef, flyer, brithday, celabration, yars, histary, poeple, gong (going), specail, stateue, enormus, flots (floats), elementry, librery, Stoneybrok, roll (role), revalutonary, originale, undergrond, capsole, celebraton, famouse.
Charlotte says she's nine in this book. Maybe she just had her birthday? Way back in #3, she said her birthday is in June, when this book takes place.
In many ways, the letters from the girls to their older selves are summaries of their major plotlines throughout the series, but also a little glimpse to the future. Stacey wonders whether she'll still be friends with her BSC friends by the time she reads the letter in four years. Mary Anne feels that she's a lot stronger than she used to be and is ready to take control of things. She's excited about starting over in high school. Claudia is more focused on her art and poor grades than her friends, which could be from a combination of worry and hope about the future--but not about whether her friends will be there for her. Kristy's concerned about the fact that the club seems to be slipping out of her grasp. She acknowledges that it's more important to her than it is to her friends, but can't understand why.
Putting those into perspective is Charlie's letter from four years before. I LOVE this. It's all about how his dad leaving changed his life, but despite the fact that having to play daddy to his younger siblings wasn't fun, he liked the fact that it made him more responsible. He wished that by the time he reads the letter again, his mom will be happy (she is), they won't have to pinch every penny (they don't) and Kristy won't take herself so seriously (still working on that one.)
I'd forgotten this bit! When I wrote a fanfic of the triplets graduating high school/going off to college, Byron points out to Adam that they forgot to dig up the BSC time capsule. Adam tells him that, several years before, he, Jordan and Jeff tried to find the capsule and dig it up early, but they couldn't follow the map they'd drawn. I'd just put that in for humor. There's actually a moment, though, at the burial, where Nicky suggests that same thing to Vanessa.
I gave up on Claudia's spelling during her final letter. Oh, I know, so close to the end...I should just go ahead and do it. You talked me into it. Here are the ones I don't remember already chronicling in this entry: Yourslef, stoping, desided, frist, intersting, narow, kindergraten, picturs, freinds, are (our), thier, familys, questoin, waht, improtant, projict, panting (painting), ilustrating, illustatted, newslitters, flys, surprized, musums. Then she writes an email to Stacey about Garduation which includes: beleive, exited (excited). She even hangs a Happy Garduation sign at her grad party.
A middle school valedictorian? Really?
All the girls are discussing who they want to be when they 'grow up,' like Kristy not wanting to get married but thinking of adopting a whole house full of kids, while Dawn doesn't think she wants kids at all. And several of the girls aren't sure what they want to do.
The end up making a pact to meet in 12 years, all eight of them, no matter where they are. I bet, if they were real, they'd mostly stay in touch but not be as close as they are at this moment. In high school, they'll discover that it's okay to have more than one group of friends--okay to be a jock and a theater junkie, or a star student and a cheerleader, or artsy and into community service. Or that it's okay to have friends who don't like one another.
FIN.

3 comments:

  1. It's the last book. I am debating how to proceed next. I've come up with a bunch of random BSC thoughts over the past couple weeks, but I'm not sure how/if to proceed. I'm about two thirds of the way through the first draft of a novel that's taking up a lot of my time and brain power. But that doesn't mean I won't be back the occasional color commentary on a California Diaries book, or the BSC tv show (if I ever get to see it!)

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  2. ican even provide you some ls, kids in ms colman class if you like

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