I’m still not sure why there are ellipses in the title of this one. Is it meant to be ominous? Unexpected? What? I don’t get it!!!!
So, as the title makes pretty damn obvious, this one is all about the Little Miss Stoneybrook pageant, for girls ages 5-8. Here’s the deal: the drama starts when Charlotte Johanssen asks specifically for Claudia to sit for her. The explanation is that she misses Stacey (who left in the last book), and Claudia is the next best thing, being Stacey’s best friend. Of course, the girls freak out, cause they’re all “What? I’m an excellent sitter! Why wouldn’t she want me?” Talk about insecure. So, when Mrs. Pike asks Dawn (who, of all the BSC except Mallory [duh], lives closest to the Pikes) to help prepare Claire and Margo for the pageant, she sees is as the chance to prove herself as a sitter. And Mary Anne convinces Myriah Perkins to compete, with her help. And Kristy is going to help Karen. And, in a decision that makes no sense whatsoever, Claudia cons Charlotte—the shyest girl that ever existed—into competing. So the BSC gets all competitive and petty over the pageant. Except for Mallory and Jessi, who in a rare BSC moment, are the voices of sanity, pointing out the sexism and jackassery of the pageants in general. (Who ever thought I’d think that Mallory was the most, um, least lame member of the BSC? Well, tied for the honor, anyway.) Of course all the girls are horrible and completely fuck it up EXCEPT the uber-talented and over-booked Myriah, who comes in second behind JonBenet Ramsey. Oops, I mean Sabrina Bouvier. Seriously, if you’ve seen that documentary Living Dolls (highly recommended, incidentally), you know all you need to know about the winner.
The subplot in this book actually takes up almost as much time as the “real” plot. Jeff decides he wants to go back to California, and their mom agrees that it’s for the best. So, Dawn is “dealing” with this the whole book. And has the STUPIDEST fights and tantrums about the situation…
“You little twerp!...You are a rotten spoiled baby.”
“You won’t be homesick for us? You mean that when you’re in California you won’t miss us anymore? That’s nice, Jeff. That’s real nice. You are so, so thoughtful.”
No thirteen-year-old girl reacts so…I guess properly is the closest word. Where are the “I HATE YOU! FINE! GO! I DON’T CARE IF I NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN!” or “THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, MOM!” or any of the really, really mean things girls say when they’re upset?
Oh, and the other absolutely ridiculous thing: the book ends with Claire deciding to be in a “Beautiful Child” contest and Dawn agreeing to help her, again. My ass.
I’ve never understood why the BSC put so much value on the pageant. After all, what does baby-sitting really have to do with being a miniature stage mother? Speaking of stage mothers, what’s up with the multi-talented Myriah Perkins? She takes dance and acting and music and I think someone’s trying to relive her childhood dreams of superstardom…
Okay, so I finally figured out what it is I can’t stand about Dawn:
1. She is whiny and self-righteous. Preachy, one could argue. She has no sense of compromise or persuasion. She’s just right, and you should follow along without any reason or any attempt on her part to acknowledge that you have a right to an opinion. That said…
2. For being such an “individual” and “not caring what anyone thinks,” she cares waaaaaay too much what other people think, She’s crazy insecure. Yet every thinks she’s such an individual, but she never even comes close to stepping outside any boundaries. The closest she comes is when she changes into “cool Dawn” FOR A BOY! How is that being so laid back and confident? Most of the other girls attempt to define themselves outside the BSC in some way or another, but the closest Dawn comes is moving back to CA. None of which would really be a problem if everyone weren’t always saying how much of an INDIVIDUAL she is…She’s got everyone snowed apparently. Shut up, Dawn.