It's been a long time since I posted anything here but I thought what better way than to get back into things with a good old snark about the world's most spoiled seven-year-old? I remember reading this book as a child and being shocked at the fact that Karen actually got punished at the end - though in retrospect, ten to one says that her parents let the punishment drop within a day or two.
We'll start with the cover. Before this book, I never realized that Ms. Colman was black. Considering the way that the BSC books go out of their way to shove Jessi down your throat every time, it's pretty surprising. But then maybe I was just never paying that close attention. I mean, it was Karen. I tended to skim through the little pest even then. I also want to add that Karen looks really tall for a little kid. Either that, or Ms. Colman is short.
Chapter 1: We start off in school. Karen is boasting about how Ms. Colman likes her so much (true or false: it's easier to pretend to love Karen than to admit how you really feel) and how she's going to be the flower girl in Ms. Colman's wedding. Karen also tells us she's bad at math... and then goes into a boring spiel about her classmates and Ricky Torres. Seriously, Karen, I think I know why you're bad at math, considering that she's not paying any attention whatsoever. I was like this during grade eleven. I was at a table with the other "dumb" kids and we spent every class in hysterics. How I passed that class remains a mystery.
Ms. Colman makes a surprising announcement about how the whole school is being forced to take regular math quizzes. Supposedly this will last the year but I'm pretty sure we never hear about it again. The quizzes will also be timed. Karen counts on her fingers to come up with the answers and notices that Ricky doesn't have to anymore. I realize that we are on page 2 and there are no contractions, and suddenly I want a drink even though I don't. To be honest, though, if anything were to drive you to drink it'd be Karen. I bet Ms. Colman's wedding will have an epic open bar.
Chapter 2: Leaping straight into the whole explanation about the families, god. Does anyone read this crap? I refuse to.
Chapter 3: It's the weekend. Friday night they have BBQ'd chicken and ice cream for dessert. On Saturday Karen claims that her whole family gathers in the back yard. I have to wonder if she's lying around, as Watson never spends this much time with his children. But then again, she also says Charlie and Sam are there... and since those two are the lamest high school boys ever, maybe she's being honest. But on the other hand, there are children around and Kristy is just sitting down instead of being a dictator, so...
David Michael wants to get his hair shaved, or an ear pierced, or a tattoo. Easiest way to deal with this? Say yes to the ear piercing and let him see the gun. I was his age when I wanted my ears pierced and when I saw how it was done, I back pedalled so fast I nearly tripped. Sadly, my father forced me to go through with it, but that's neither here nor there. Since Watson and Elizabeth veto-ed all of his ideas, DM later pulls Karen aside and tells her he's going to get a tattoo anyway.
Chapter 4: Weekend over. Karen gets her quiz back and she got a 68. She's upset, especially because Ricky got an 88. But she makes excuses for herself by saying that she hadn't had time to count and that they hadn't had enough time. Karen thinks about studying, but later when she's on the playground with Hannie and Nancy, she gets huffy when Hannie points out that her method of counting is too slow, even though it's true.
Chapter 5: She goes home and searches for her flash cards. By the time she finds them she decides she is too tired. Ah, procrastination, my old friend. The next day she gets distracted playing with her pet rat and doesn't study either. Yep, distraction, been there too. On Wednesday she flat-out admits she didn't study at all but she regrets it big time on Thursday when Ms. Colman comes out with the math quiz that she isn't ready for.
Karen begins the quiz with the cardinal sin: jumping from problem to problem without finishing anything. In doing so, she makes herself more confused and I wince because yeah, that sounds about right. She's getting frustrated because she can't do the answers without counting. She can't help but notice that Ricky is speeding through the problems and *gasp* starts copying. She says "It was wrong but I had to do it. I did not want another red 68." Really, Karen? Had to? And seriously, contractions, not going to bite you.
Chapter 6: Karen feels guilty and has this weird dream about Andrew running outside in the snow barefoot, claiming he's copying her (which makes no sense as Karen is inside the house... ah the power of dreams). She feels guilty about copying, but not guilty enough to study. She bitches about the fact that the quizzes are timed to Hannie and Nancy, and gets mad when Hannie asks if she's studied and says she thinks the quizzes are unfair.
She ends up getting an 80 on the quiz and is all proud of herself for a few minutes until reality dawns. Most of the answers she wrote down are wrong, while most of Ricky's were correct. He got a 90 and a smiley face and she pouts over the lack of smiley face on her test. Maybe you would if you, oh I don't know, studied? Karen vows to not copy from Ricky again.
Chapter 7: Another weekend, this time at the little house. Karen claims she studied a little even though we all know she didn't. Karen, sitting on your bed staring at the cards like they're going to attack does not equal studying, just saying.
She complains to her dolls about having to learn adding and subtracting and asks Seth why she has to learn them. Seth rightfully points out that adding and subtracting are necessary for like, everything (just wait until she gets to high school math that you NEVER USE AGAIN) and she storms back upstairs.
Monday goes by with no studying. Tuesday night she gets a call from David Michael. He tells her he got a tattoo on his shoulder and asks her not to tell anyone. Because if I got a real tattoo when my parents said I couldn't, the first thing I'd do is tell my sister. Right. Karen agrees to keep it a secret and I mourn the days where I, too, would have been naive enough to believe an eight-year-old could get a tattoo alone.
Chapter 8: Shockingly, Karen does not study and on Friday there is another quiz. She is prepared for addition questions but uh-oh! Ms. Colman is changing things up and she's got subtraction questions to deal with. Karen is not ready for that and she immediately dismisses trying to work the questions out on her own. She starts looking for someone to copy from after remembering that she promised not to copy from Ricky, but hey, that leaves the rest of her classmates wide open! I feel like Karen is going to end up in law or politics someday.
She can't see Natalie Springer's paper so she does try to work it out... and then is like "fuck that" and starts copying from Ricky to avoid another 68. Later on, she, Hannie and Nancy are on the playground. Hannie says the test was easy and Karen calls her a show off. Karen's a sweetheart in this, as always. She says Hannie was "looking at her very strangely" but apparently doesn't see where this is headed.
That's it for tonight... Hopefully the rest will be up sometime this weekend.