Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The bracelet on my wrist felt as heavy as an iron chain; or, BSC #41: Mary Anne vs. Logan

So, this cover:



What do I see? I see two high school sweethearts meeting up when they come home for the holidays after their first semester of college. And they’re all, “It’s soooo good to see you! How have you been these past few months?” “I’m good. I’ve missed you! So, how’s the new boyfriend?” “He’s good…how’s you’re new boyfriend? Have you come out to your parents yet?” “Yeah, they’ve been really supportive. And so have you…”

Whoa. (Record scratching sound.) Got lost there in the moment. Yeah, this cover doesn’t look like an unhappy 13-year-old couple. Nope.

So, this is yet another of the “Mary Anne grows a pair” books. See, Logan’s all clingy and take-advantagey and Mary Anne finally realizes that she’s being smothered…Logan always wants to do stuff together, and he gives her presents (shut up, I know that’s what most women want, but give the girl a break! She’s 13, she doesn’t want a hubbie quite yet!) and calls her while she’s sitting! [My theory: Logan totally wants to be the first kid in their class to a) get laid, or b) get a blow job, or c) get a hand job. Why else would a 13-year-old boy be so lovey and gifty. For chrissake, he wants to spend all his time with “his girl,” instead of playing Nintendo with his friend…Seriously?]

So, Mary Anne tells him that she needs a break. Then, after their break, Logan’s all “It’s ON!” And everything’s exactly as it was, so MARY ANNE DUMPS HIS ASS!

Oh, and the Prezzioso family gets a new addition in the form of Andrea. And Jenny’s all upset and jealous until literally the moment the new baby comes home.

But on to the fun stuff!

“A typical Claudia outfit might be black leggings, a baggy black-and-white shirtdress, low black shoes, and big wild earrings for her pierced ears.”

“Stacey also wears super-trendy clothes—layers on layers, hats, pins, cowboy boots, that short of thing. Plus she’s allowed to have her blonde hair permed and she likes to wear nail polish, usually with sparkles in it.” [I just don’t get how sparkly nail polish IN THE 80s, was the height of sophistication…]

“She was looking especially acute that day. (Acute means cool…) Claud was wearing an oversized raspberry-colored shirt, a short black skirt, and black leggings (the layered look) [no, the layered look is five pairs of scrunchy socks]. On her feet were black cowboy boots, and dangling from an earcuff was a huge collection of beads and stones.”

“Compared to Claudia, I looked like a complete nerd, even though I was wearing one of my better outfits: blue print pants that were wide on top but narrowed to cuffs at the ankles [It’s called “pegged” M.A.], and a short-cropped t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up and this acute [angle? accent?] picture of a cactus wearing a cowboy boot.”

Oh, who are the Ohdners?

So, Mary Anne is all about Wuthering Heights in this book, and I went out and got it because of this book, and I still have never managed to read the whole damn thing…Stupid ANM!

Aww…Logan gets choked up when he gets dumped.

And I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t think of anything, and my cat won’t shut up…

Oh, I’m not sure if I’ll have an entry next week…I’m going conferencing for work, so I don’t know how much time I’ll have to work on the blogging…

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I will never pine for a boy; or, BSC #29: Mallory and the Mystery Diary

Well, I’m on a Mal-bashing kick, eh?

So, she writes a journal, not a diary. [“It’s my gournal.” “You mean journal?” “Whatever. Guess I’m not all smart like you.”] “The difference between a journal and a diary, as far as I can tell, is that a diary is a recording of daily events and you’re supposed to write in it everyday.” Yes, that hard and fast line between the diary and the journal…no, Dear Diary for her…I have to reproduce the diary entry vs. the journal entry.

Diary:
Got up. Went to school. Made gum chains with Jessi during recess. Came home. Had a fight with Vanessa. Baby-sat for the Barrett kids. Went to a meeting of the Baby-sitters Club. Came home. Ate dinner. Had a fight with Mom over a pair of shoes I want that she won’t let me buy. Did homework. Went to bed.


Journal:
I feel as if I’m going to be eleven forever. My ninth year went by in a flash. My tenth year went by in a flash. But my eleventh year already seems a decade long. I think that’s because I’m so anxious to be thirteen. I wonder if my twelfth year will seem a decade long, too. I hope not, because if it does, I’ll feel thirty when I’m really only thirteen.

I hate my nose. I got it from my grandfather. I wish I could have a nose job, but my parents won’t even let me get contacts so there’s no hope for anything more drastic. I wonder if other eleven-year-olds feel like this. If only I were thirteen instead of eleven. Life would be a picnic.


Yeah, sweetheart. Life’ll be a breeze when you’re thirteen. You won’t be longing for turning 16. Or 18. Or 21. And when you turn 25, you’ll want to turn back…

So, in this book, Stacey’s just moved back to the S-town. And Mal and Claud are helping Stacey move stuff into the attic and they find all this old stuff, including an old trunk that Mal gets to keep. And in said trunk is a bunch of old clothes and jewelry (which Vanessa is all about, and I would be, too!) and a diary, which Mal acts like it’s the HOLY FUCKING GRAIL [we’ve already got one]. And of course, there’s a “mystery” and 1890s-style teen angst and they all think that Stacey’s house is haunted. [Okay, when my brother got a couple of old Mac Classics, someone hadn’t cleared their hard drive, so we were able read her diary…and it was AWESOME! But neither of us were like, “We have to find out whether or not she’s actually gay! Who was she? Cause we’re not stupid.] Well, the kiddies help them solve the mystery:

1. Sophie’s grandfather really was OLD HICKORY! (see Mary Anne and the Bad Luck Mystery)

2. He had her mother’s portrait painted over! It was never stolen! BORING!

Oh, and they have a séance to try to contact Sophie. And Kristy plays dress up! She’s Madam Kristin! And she’s a gypsy in grandma makeup!

Heh…”She would never, ever get arrested by the Fashion Police. She wears long, baggy sweaters, tight leggings, dresses with flared skirts, little ballet slippers, and wild jewelry.” Now, who could that be? Could it be Claud? Why, yes it could.

Oh, yeah, Mal also helps Buddy Barrett get better at reading.

Ooooh! ANM name drops Pee-Wee’s Playhouse!!!!

Mal’s shirt that she really likes is a “big white long-sleeved T-shirt that said I <3 KIDS.

More clothes! “Mary Anne, who can be pretty funky in her own shy way, was wearing a very cool short printed jumper over a striped shirt. You might think that those two things would clash, but they didn’t. They looked great together. The jumper was white with a small red print, and the shirt was with narrow, widely-spaced stripes. Claudia called the outfit “a fashion risk that worked.” Claud herself was wearing jeans, a plain white blouse, a pink sweater, white socks, and loafers. She said she’d gone back to the fifties for the day. Stacey, on the other hand, was in a much more typical outfit—a short-sleeved blue-and-white jumpsuit with cuffed pants [Stacey loves the jumpsuits. And the cock. But mainly the jumpsuits.] Parts of it were striped, parts were solid. On her feet were high-topped sneakers laced only halfway up so that she could roll the tongue of the shoe down (extremely cool), plus she was wearing a lot of jewelry.” Sweet!

So, am I the only one who’s like…300 million people in the U.S. as of today, a whole town in Connecticut that can’t stop reproducing…coincidence? I think not!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The opposite of dibble and distant is stale!; or, BSC #39: Poor Mallory!

Or, as I kept inadvertently calling it, Mallory’s Poor!

So, in this one, Mal’s dad gets laid off (along with half of the company) from his cushy corporate lawyer gig. Except that Ms. Martin uses “fired,” “lost his job” and “laid off” interchangeably, which they are very much not.

So, they scale back, Mrs. Pike starts to temp, and all the kids try to earn money to give to their parents so they won’t become homeless and have to use food stamps…and nobody tells the kids that Mr. Pike got a severance package, so they’re not completely broke. And they have a savings account which was supposed to BE A COLLEGE FUND FOR TEN CHILDREN!!!!! Even when college was cheaper, they would have been fools to think they could save up enough money to pay for 10 college educations…especially cause you know Mal’s gonna end up somewhere like Smith or Wellesley or Vassar where she can hate boys and gym and be a writer…And despite the severance package, and the temp income and the savings account, apparently, the Pike parents take the money that the kids make…and seriously, Mr. Pike’s out of work for like a month. That’s it. And it’s like a week from his first interview (he has three) until the time he gets hired when actually finds a job.

So, to help keep them off the streets, Mal gets a month-long, three times a week gig at the Delaneys’. Yup, they of the $400 cat. [And they got a new pool, and can’t figure out who likes them and who likes their pool-style.] And she feels poor. [And her nemeses and ex-friends at school make fun of her cause her dad lost his job…boo-hoo.] And she takes as many sitting jobs as she can…Nicky gets a paper route. The triplets start an odd job “company.” Vanessa transforms herself into a playground hairstylist named Miss Vanessa after she can’t sell her poetry. And Clare and Margo sell lemonade and brownies. Did I forget a kid?

Shocker? Mrs. Pike likes working and is still going to temp from time to time, even after the mister goes back to work…

Mal uses more italics than I do, and I’m an italics-aholic.

Apparently, Kristy is “the only older BSC member who doesn’t wear a bra yet.” Sweetheart…if you don’t need a bra at 13, you probably won’t ever really need one…

Ah, Claudia: “she is so dibbly sophisticated and chic. She wears wild clothes like big hats; flowered vests over long shirts that belong to her father and which she leaves untucked; short black pants; and then, something just a little offbeat like penny loafers from the 1950s with white bobby socks [so, Claudia is the Asian Blossom?] And her jewelry. It’s the height of dibble-dom. [I shit you not, that’s what it says.] She makes most of it herself—ceramic-bead necklaces and big dangly earrings, but in shapes you wouldn’t expect…[blah blah blah] monkey in one ear and a banana in the other…”

Oh, and how do we know that Stacey is the pinnacle of New York sophistication? Cause she “likes to wear sparkly nail polish.”

You gotta love how in some books, Dawn’s a vegetarian, while in others, she just doesn’t eat red meat, and in others, it’s just that she likes healthy food.

Mr. Pike’s a real dick in this book…I know he just lost his job, and he’s all emasculated or whatever, but in every other book, he’s all into his kids and takes on a fair share of the domestic duties…so, his behavior seems a little…off, even given the situation.

How many lawyers does Stoneybrook need? Mary Anne’s dad, Mr. Delaney, Mr. Pike…And I forget what Claud’s dad does…Nobody’s dad is a mechanic, or a salesman, or a teacher or whatever…And what does Watson do anyway? They talk about him being a millionaire, but quite a few of these families probably have incomes in the six digits…

Oh, yeah…Mal’s all worried that her dad will be “reduced to going to some agency and taking a job he was overqualified for? Would he end up as a waiter in a restaurant—when he had gone to school for his law degree?” One, there are quite a few jobs in between lawyer and waiter…And he could open his own practice or start consulting…Two, he’s a lawyer with experience…he’s a little more in demand than someone with a masters in English (trust me, I know).

Apparently, Fig Newtons are a treat! As in a luxury!

Heh. Side ponytails!

According to the cover, Mal’s so poor and bitter, she’s ignoring the kids in the pool (don’t get me started on letting kids use the pool with an 11-year-old baby-sitter as long as an adult neighbor is home)…and she’s like 20! See crappy picture below…

Also, where are these other covers from? I had never seen these! And there are tons of them on the internet!





Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Oh, I could just die! What a stupid thing to say; or, BSC #8: Boy-Crazy Stacey

[Seriously guys? You’re freaking me out with your psychic requests! I had already finished this one when someone suggested it…That said, I’m not really taking requests…but, as Julie from Leftover Lunch on FNX says (or used to say…I know I heard her say it, damn you!), you can make telepathic requests.]

On the cover of this book, Ms. Martin gets downright philosophical…”Who needs baby-sitting when there are boys around!” Who indeed. One could ask who needs baby-sitting when there are dishes or laundry or any other thing at all to do or not to do…

Anyway! So, this is the first of the Sea City books. Back in real time, Stacey and Mary Anne spend two weeks of the summer before eight grade with the Pike family in Sea City, New Jersey! As mother’s helpers! Which I had never heard of before reading this book! And I’ve never heard it used anywhere but in this series!

[Side note: I’m watching the video for “Forever Young” by Alphaville on YouTube, and I just keep thinking that Claudia and Stacey would be all about the singer-with-crazy-hair’s jumpsuit. Shut up! You were thinking it too!]

So, the short version: There’s stuff about the Pike kids that really doesn’t interest me, and Mary Anne meets a boy mother’s helper and they exchange rings (cause they’re 30, not 13). She gets sunburned (this is apparently the first time she’s ever spent time out in the sun, cause I learned a lot earlier than 13 that I burn really easily), and she has her first bikini. Oh, and she gets wicked pissed (as they should be saying more, given that they live in New England) at Stacey. Why? Cause Stacey develops a mad crush on a 17-year-old life guard (I AM A CLICHÉ! I AM A CLICHÉ!) and spends all her time (you know, the time she’s getting a paid vacation for!) getting sodas and sandwiches for this creep and thinking that he’s in love with her. Cause she really is an idiot…

But after spending $10 on a box of chocolates for the boy, she spies him playing human hosepipe with a girl his own age, “curvy and gorgeous and at least eighteen.” But then she meets a 14-year-old and has her first real kiss…[eyes rolling…can’t stop!]

List time!

^Stacy’s idea of a cool (both style-wise and temperature-wise) outfit: “…I decided on this new pink shirt I got the last time we went back to New York City to visit friends. Big, bright green and yellow birds were splashed all over it. It was gigantic, so it would be cool. I put it on with a pair of baggy shorts, looped a wide green belt around my middle, and hunted up some silver jewelry—silver bangle bracelets and a pair of silver earrings shaped like bells that actually ring when they dangle back and forth.”

^Oh, yeah, apparently Stacey’s dad made enough money to afford a four bedroom apartment in Manhattan, yet they all act like Watson’s made of money.

^Stacey’s bikini is “skimpy (and we’re talking very skimpy) and yellow, with tiny bows at the sides on the bottom part. And if I do say so myself, the top part was filled out pretty nicely.” Ah, sophistication!

^I hate that Mary Anne’s all afraid of boys before this book. She’s 13! Not 8! She knows that boys don’t have cooties!

^I tend to think the Sea City town would get pretty pissed that they kept having to give lifeguard Scott new whistles every time he gave one to some young girl…

^Kristy, don’t complain that Watson has a spare car around. You’ll be sixteen in three years.

^For a big night out on the boardwalk: “I put on a white cotton vest over a pink cotton dress and tied a big white bow in my hair so that it flopped over the side of my head. Mary Anne couldn’t find anything of her own that she really liked, so I loaned her my yellow pedalpushers, a yellow and white striped tank top, and an oversized white jacket.” So matchy!

^Stacey’s second boy in two weeks…wears a headband and “plain white [um, see-through much?] swimming trunks, but his shirt was amazing—tan with silly pictures of cowboy boots and cactuses all over it. And his sunglasses—black bands with narrow slits from side to side to see through.” Yup.

^Toby-Bear=YICK!

Okay, so the illustration of Stacey on the cover totally reminds me of young Jenny Lewis…

Exhibit A. (Furthest to the left)



Exhibit B.





Am I totally off base?