About me: I’m the “Anonymous” who lurked and would write comments like “Yay, 3_foot_6 snark!” or “Great snark, hilarious!” without actually joining LJ. I’ve decided to atone for my creeper ways by actually joining and contributing now that I’ve finished college and I’m waiting to leave for JET to teach in Japan (I know there are several of you guys on here, too!).
This is my first snark and I went through the treasure trove of BSC books I had in a box to see what hasn’t been done lately since I have no new books to add to the mix. I got stuck between “Mary-Anne vs. the Emotionally Abusive + Future Wifebeater Logan” and “Claudia Injured by the Kid the BSC Still Stupidly Sits for” and chose the latter for now. I’m new to the format of LJ so let me know if I screwed up and I will appreciate it like the noob I am : ) You guys have provided me with hours of endless entertainment, whether through snarking or comments and I hope to return the favor in some way!
This one was ghostwritten by- oh, no, wait this is actually early enough in the series for Ann to have written it herself!
The cover: I have the newer version which is pretty much the same as the old one. I’m not sure of the best way to link it and the ones I found don’t have the best quality but go ahead and google image it if you want to see. (Amusingly, when I typed the title in I got results with images from the film “Interview with the Vampire.”)
Claudia appears to be wearing something a little sexier than a hospital nightgown. I had my appendix out at 13 and my nightie was not nearly as cute. This is also one of the only covers where she does NOT have a side ponytail or some sort of odd hairstyle. Her facial expression is hilarious, like she’s reading a card from the kids and going “Erm, thanks, I guess…” If the brunette little girl is Betsy Sobak the Prankster herself, I can’t blame Claud for being uncomfortable. I guess they thought it would be too threatening if Claudia glared at a small child. The mass of flowers Claudia receives in the hospital also make an appearance in the background. The little girl, who I’m going to guess is Betsy, looks a little smug or like she’s fake smiling. The blonde kid (Buddy?) looks really, really happy with the flowers he’s holding. Maybe it’s Logan as a child, discovering his femininity.
First page!...and I’m already rolling my eyes.
The first line: “You know,” said Kristy Thomas, “I have never been hit in the face with a pie.” That’s Pulitzer material right there, Ann. Such prophetic pondering is only rivaled by the greats. The dialogue that follows is hilariously out of character for girls between eleven and thirteen, you know the drill. (Because Ann has never met people these ages, clearly.) Mallory says it depends on the pie, which I guess it would be better because you’d be less crabby about getting hit when you at least have some reward of it being a pie you like. Also of note is that Kristy thinks a double chocolate pie would be great to get hit with. K Ron, just order a double chocolate pie! I’m sure Watson is giving you some allowance money and you’ve always got those meager BSC wages, too. Why fantasize so whimsically about getting hit in the face with one? Uh oh, guys, I fear she will become a food fetishist!
Next nugget of gold: “Logan Bruno looked at Kristy as if she were crazy. He was the only boy among us. Therefore, he had never been at one our slumber parties…” Hold up, pause! This is great that she feels the need to elaborate this point. No, Claudia, I thought Logan would be at all your slumber parties and that co-ed was a thing in Stoneybrook! Or maybe Ann is just trying to remind readers’ parents who peek at the first page that it’s all good, clean G-rated fun? Also, the narration is great. Picture Claudia actually speaking so mechanically and saying “therefore” and “among us.” Oh, I’m sorry. I mean, “Theirfor” and “Amung use” according to the Holy Claudia Dictionary spelling standards.
Back to the quote: “…which explains why he didn’t know about Kristy’s food theory-“ Does she only talk about it at slumber parties usually? Warning sign!-“ The thing is, Kristy has always thought it would be kind of cool to wear food. Like, to hang grapes from your earlobes, or make a vest out of teabags.” Sounds more like a Claudia thing, but ok. I thought Kristy was more a turtleneck, no earrings kind of girl. I’m not touching the teabags mention…
Mary Anne starts to get queasy (sensitive tummy and mind, methinks) and Claudia awesomely cuts Dawn off and saws she would only want to get hit with an all-natural, sugar-free pie, but then says she can get hit with any pie and be cool with it. Kristy’s already got a future member for her food fetish club. Hear that, K Ron? That’s your future after the BSC! Logan says he’ll keep Claudia’s preference in mind. Whoa, Logan, shhhh! Mary Anne’s sitting right there, you horndog!
It’s only page two and I’m reading into their words too much.
Anyway, they’re actually not in the cafeteria, but at a slapstick film festival at the public library and it was Logan’s idea (because that’s totally what a thirteen-year-old boy wants to do with his girlfriend on a Saturday). “That in itself was pretty good,” Claud narrates. “Better yet, it was free.” Finally, some realism. I still jump at free things.
Claudia then goes into this long diatribe about how they all heard of the film festival from Logan, who called who, etc. Is this really necessary? I can understand “Logan called Mary-Anne and she spread the word” but blow-by-blow who called who seems silly.
Claudia also says that “it seemed that all of Stoneybrook was there. (Well, all of Stoneybrook under sixteen.)” Ah, Stoneybrook, land where all kids would actually go see things like that. And as far as the BSC is concerned, that age group may as well be all of Stoneybrook. Claudia also says that Logan is not a “true member” of the club. BURN!
“Ka-BOOM!” “Ha,ha,ha. Hee,hee,hee.”
I check again in bewilderment because I thought Peter Lerangis DIDN’T write this one. Also, the second line of humdingers was from Claudia in response to an explosion in one of the films. It just comes off awkwardly to me, but all the better to snark you with, my dear!
OH NO, MORE FOOD FETISH STUFF! “I turned to look at Kristy. She was enthralled. I’m sure she was imagining herself with buttercream eyelashes and hair.” Um, weird.
And here comes ye ol’ Ch. 2 stuff in Ch. 1, noooooooooo. I’ll just nitpick a few things because it’s too much fun.
*Claudia says that Kristy “amazes her” and is “always working, working. She thinks up lots of great ideas.” But then a few sentences later she says that K Ron seems younger and less mature, but really attributes it to her appearance more than her actions. Nice. She then says that nothing’s wrong with turtlenecks but there are other things to wear. And then this: “I mean, she could try a floppy bow in her hair or some interesting ponytail holders, or some big earrings.” Those are accessories, not clothes, Claud.
* I did like this jab at Kristy’s father: “Would it kill her father to remember her birthday by sending a card?” Kristy’s father is a dick, seriously. Not because he doesn’t send cards, but because he doesn’t seem to acknowledge any of his children. Does he ever come back in the books? If he did, I didn’t read those. In the movie he also sucks the big one for coming back, ONLY speaking to Kristy and making her keep his presence a secret, then bailing on her for no good reason. Selfish twat. Those sperm pancakes were also inexcusable and disturbing both in and out of context because he was doing so while parked with his creeper van in the woods with two thirteen-year-old girls. And he only contacts his daughter, not his sons!
*”Andrew and Karen are her steps…Kristy loves them to bits, even though she only sees them every other weekend.” First of all, steps? Hahaha (Oh no, I’m doing what Claudia did laughing on paper! Damn onomatopoeia!) And what’s with this “she loves them even though she only sees them every other weekend” stuff? As if that would stop you from loving someone? Ohhhh k. She also says, “Kristy survived everything, though.” I know divorce and having your dad walk out must be painful, and having a pet put to sleep really sucks, but the way Claudia writes about it, you would think these things are very rare. Then again, she’s only thirteen, has no pets, and her parents are still together so maybe that’s a little realistic.
*Claudia then burns Mary Anne by saying that she doesn’t think MA could have survived this sort of situation and then notes that MA’s mother actually died when she was a little kid. Um, Claudia? That’s pretty awful and I would say worse than Kristy’s situation since her dad is still living even if absent from the picture. Other books say MA was a baby, this one makes her sound a little older and she obviously did survive.
* Claudia then smugly notes that she is “soooo” different from these two girls (yes, all four O’s included) and proceeds with the whole “I’m one of the coolest looking kids at SMS and it’s not conceited cuz everyone knows it’s true.”
* Oops, she realizes she’s forgotten the rest of the gang and backtracks to the rest of ‘em. I’m sorry, guys, I HAVE to comment on the California stereotype here that bewildered me even as a kid. I was born and raised in the L.A. area. I like junk food, I like rain, and I am a complete meat eater (though coincidentally I do live with a vegan in a highly vegan area of L.A. right now). But you guys know that the Dawn thing is BS for the most part. More about Dawn: “Talk about survivors, she’s a champion one.” Yes, divorce is not pleasant, but I still think Kristy and MA went through worse since Kristy’s dad walked out and MA actually LOST HER MOTHER. “She’s also an individual.” Riiiight. Dawn reminds me of someone I know who claims he’s a hipster because he does things his own way, but is the biggest conformist I know.
*OOOOHHHHH, dayum, more stuff to make fun of Dawn with! “She’s not stuck-up, though, and she doesn’t step all over other people trying to get her own way. In fact, she’s one of the nicest people I know.” Is it opposite day in Stoneybrook?
*JEEEZ SO MUCH TO NITPICK AND IT’S STILL CHAPTER ONE! We get this weird passage about how Mallory is so levelheaded and practical (Sorry I’m going Nola Thacker with the parentheses or is that Ellen Miles? But Mallory is not levelheaded or practical. She’s constantly fretting and whining about the silliest things ever!) and then proceeds to say that if you told her a lion was in the basement she would say to close the door and call 911 plus not take meat out of the fridge. This is supposed to be funny, I guess, but just seems weird and random. If you were serious about a lion, no eleven-year-old or anyone for that matter would be “perfectly calm” and making jokes about meat.
*”Mallory wants desperately to grow up and to look older. I think it’s her mission in life.” So levelheaded and practical. We also learn that her parents think she is too young for a glittery sweatshirt. Uh, why? What’s wrong with glitter as long as it doesn’t say something sexual in the glitter like “Baby-sitter Escort Service?”
*Claudia surmises that she “should” mention that Jessi is black. Sure, like we didn’t know.
And one more food fetish moment as we end chapter one: A man in the slapstick film DOES get hit with a coconut cream pie and Kristy sighs, “Awesome! That’s my dream.” This is not the Kristy I know!
Claudia then ominously notes that they were unaware at this point about the practice joke fest about to begin.
Chapter Two! Claudia passive-aggressively mentions that she can’t spell while under her bed looking for snacks. And I’m passive-aggressively (or not) remembering how terribly awkward these books are in terms of writing style. She mentions hiding Nancy Drew books. Firstly, Nancy Drew books are great if you read the originals from the 30s-early 50s and are loaded with sophisticated vocabulary in the early years (and no excessive violence or sex in any of them ever, as far as I know. That’s a hilarious thought, actually, but I bring it up to show that they’re not inappropriate). I can’t speak for the newer versions Claudia was probably reading (the one on the cover of the first book of the BSC is a rewrite #iknowcuziamanerd) but her parents should really be happy she’s reading at all! And if she’s reading so much, you think she’d be better at spelling even simple words because she’s read over them and would remember the spelling, right? Wrongzers!
There’s a sweet mention of Mimi being loved and loving everyone back. I love Mimi.
After a “hilarious” exchange of Claudia bumping her head under the bed while people come in for the meeting of the day, there is a melodramatic mention of Kristy being ready for the meeting at 5:25. As if she’s about to fire on the enemy or defeat the Huns if you look at how “she was ready” gets its own paragraph. (I could make that sentence dirty, but I fear I’ve been doing that a little much). Maybe when I review a book with the Bart-man!
Cue mention of the club’s birth and Claudia’s personal phone line. Wouldn’t that be expensive, especially in the 80s? Also, it sounds like a great way for Claudia’s parents to force her to work harder on academics. “Pass- or no phone!”
After burning MA earlier, Claud says that her job in the BSC means working harder than everyone else because she has to remember everything like when Jessi is at ballet and when so and so goes to the dentist. No, Claudia, she writes it down! There’s a passive aggressive mention of the notebook, though Claudia concedes it’s helpful.
I immaturely snicker at Betsy Sobak’s street name (Cherry Valley Road) when her mother calls for a sitter. Claudia’s free and questions why the people she knows who sit for Betsy aren’t doing it (wait, there are OTHER sitters not à la Liz Lewis? Who?!) and cue plot device! Kristy says the others are probably “all busy.” Ah, so innocent. And not the K Ron I know because she’s not shooting fire out of her eyes and raising hell that other sitters are mentioned. Oh, wait, that’s because Kristy’s about to burst all over MA
because she’s in range of food because she has a pen with disappearing ink. No one thinks it’s funny but K Ron!
There’s a mention of Sharon working super hard (an excuse for her crack habits) and dating the Trip-Man. Hey, I remember this dude! The one Dawn thought had tortoiseshell glasses (or did he really? Where did he ever go?
Why am I using this snark to ask the community what happened in books I never read?)
There’s sad foreshadowing of Mimi not speaking too much and gesturing and yet ANOTHER passive aggressive (MA, is that you? Get outta Claudia’s job for this book!) jab as Claudia only calls Janine by the term “genius” and not her name and sarcastically says that life must be a chore when you’re so smart.
Claudia murders Janine with her eyes when the latter asks how her math quiz went at the dinner table. She got an 81. Mimi is pleased, but the parental units are not. There’s mention of how Mimi thinks they should leave Claudia alone. Claudia changes the subject to Janine’s research project not because she cares, but because she doesn’t want them talking about her own schoolwork. What’s sad is that Janine is touched that Claudia asked and earnestly explains. Poor Janine. Claudia then grumbles internally that she was proud of her B-minus.
She then talks about how someone helps with her homework each night (the family takes turns) and says the worst nights are when Janine helps. Claudia, she’s taking time out of her schedule to help you, stop being a jerk. I bet you’re not even paying attention like in the TV series. And at this point, I’d be pissed to be giving up time when she’s not really benefitting from it or appreciating it.
Mimi’s turn tonight. She’s super sweet and I’m sad that she’s only there for a few more books. Mimi patiently helps Claudia while Claudia meanly snarks that Janine would have been mad, Janine would have thrown a pencil, or Janine would (insert something negative here) in response to Claudia’s actions and work.
Ashley Wyeth calls, which is weird in itself after their friendship fizzled out, but it’s even worse that she’s asking Claudia of all people for the homework assignment. That’s almost as bad as Shawna cheating off Claud’s test.
Claudia gets a crank call about Prince Albert in a can but is so dumb that the caller hangs up on her. LOL. She then muses that practical joke season has begun and she worries about it.
Whew, I’ll have to take a break there. I apologize for the gross length, but it was way more fun to poke at the little things than I thought it would be. Please, let me know what you think! (I’m on a deadline so if there are spelling/grammar errors I will edit them).