Sunday, April 09, 2006

So much red meat and white rice and disgusting stuff; or, BSC #15: Little Miss Stoneybrook…and Dawn.

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.

22 comments:

bennett said...

for some reason, this one was always my favorite. and i always make sure to include the long pause for the ellipses when saying the title aloud.

Library Lady said...

Did anyone really like Mallory? I mean, seriously... She really was the most boring BSC member. What sort of exciting things happened to her, with the exception of the boy behind the ice cream counter at Sea City falling in love with her (much to Claire's dismay). I could do without her... And Claire's rhyming habit, for that matter.

Tiff said...

Vanessa rhymed, which was annoying, but not nearly as much as Claire's never-ending "silly phase," in which she called everyone silly-billy-goo-goo...i.e. Library Lady-silly-billy-goo-goo. So annoying, even to read.

Library Lady said...

Ahhh, yes.

Thanks for the correction, Obi Wan Tiff. This is why you have the blog--your all knowing memory. Then I guess it was also Vanessa who was smitten with the ice cream guy?!

I had forgotten the silly-billy-goo-goo part. Baby talk is just unacceptable. Period. The kid kits should have contained a water gun. That way, when Claire busted out the "silly-billy bit", *bam* squirt to the face. Had that been the case I would have read every second chapter.

Library Lady said...

p.s. How do you pronounce "Cokie"--like the beverage, but with an IE on the end?

If so, how did she manage to go from Stacey, Claudia, Mary Anne, Mallory, Dawn, Jessi, Kristy... Cokie... Hmmm?

Tiff said...

I always said Coke-y, but it could be Cookie...But I think it might actually be Coke-y, like Cokie Roberts...

Rebecca f said...

Aww, you don't like Dawn? She's so my favorite. However, that may have something to do with Larissa Oleynik's portrayal of her, since I haven't read the books in so long...

Mallory does suck. I never liked her one bit.

Tiff said...

i really loved Dawn when I was younger. I either didn't notice or didn't mind some of the stuff that drives me crazy now...

Rebecca said...

Regarding Cokie, I want to say that the girl actually WAS named Cokie Roberts, like the journalist. I remember thinking that it was weird at the time. Or am I totally off here?

PS I never liked Dawn either. Especially in the book where they go to NYC and Dawn is a big chicken. Like, she was from California, NOT Kansas. Get a grip, Dawn.

Sara said...

I always thought Dawn was a total wuss. I'm sure in her previous life she was a white-glove-wearing Southern debutante who shrieked if she saw an ant.

But then again, everyone in the series had a really irritating habit or personality trait...

Library Lady said...

Rebecca F: I don't think you're off... It was Cokie Mason, but still. Cokie? Do we ever get clarification on this one? Was this really her first name, or was it some sort of bizzar-o nickname?

Obi Wan Tiff?

KO said...

I kind of liked Mallory. I think I liked that she and Jessie both knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up (I think - Mal wanted to be a writer, right?). Besides Claudia's art, the other girls didn't really have grown-up ambition that I remember. But I liked that book with Mal and the twins, where she helps them convince their mom they need makeovers because they don't want to be identical anymore and then Mal gets her own makeover at the end.

dammit sami said...

I remember thinking, even through the uncritical eyes of a BSC-smitten child, that Dawn's charactarization was kind of bizarre. For someone so "laid-back" and "California cool," she sure did have a hissy fit every other book. Yoosh.

rachel said...

haha, i used to sing the title of this book, sort of like "shave and a haircut"...oh lord. well, it didn't make sense to me otherwise.

mallory was awful. i really hated everything she did...except get mono. that book was really good. i hated that she was the writer chick, because i was a writer chick and i didn't like feeling that i had to "identify" with her. my least-favorite mallory memory was when she dyed her hair blonde in california. what the hell.

as for this book, mostly what i can remember is that i still get confused about the lyrics of "on the good ship lollipop" (damn myriah perkins), how do you pronounce myriah?, and i still don't know what turtle wax is.

Lindsay said...

Cokie is... somehow... a nickname for Marguerite. :)

BSCer 4 ever said...

the quote that always drives me up the wall from Dawn's Family Feud:
When Jeff suggests sending over roomservice to Mary Ann and doing other pranks, Dawn says
“ I had to admit, Jeff was being a bit imature.”
He is TEN YEARS OLD! Shut the f up!

Katie said...

don't bash jonbenet. she didn't deserve what she got. nobody does. and besides, jonbenet liked doing pageants.

mouse said...

Is this the one where one of the kid's talents is unpeeling a banana with her feet? I sooo wanted to learn how to do that, but my mom wouldn't let me waste bananas like that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the "Living Dolls" recommendation. I watched the whole thing on YouTube and was thoroughly disgusted.

Anonymous said...

This is my all-time favorite BSC book. I think b/c Dawn was my fave (I even got sent a free book once when I voted--via snail mail back then--for my favorte BSC member and Dawn apparently won). Seriously though, I remember staying up til 1 a.m. reading this on top of my friends bunk bed, and crying when Jeff moved back to California. I love your blog, brings back great memories.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who noticed that the snobby girl from their middle school somehow turned into an 8 year old and won the pageant??? Damn ghostwriters used the same name to both characters- Sabrina Bouvier. I refuse to believe their are two separate girls in Stoneybrook with that name. As a kid this always bugged me because it made the book not be "real", know what I mean?

Julie Fedele said...

I never noticed that continuity error but there are sooo many others. At one point I kept a list and planned on writing to AMM to point them all out cause it grated on my nerves so badly but then I got over it :)