|[||Tags|||||character we'll never see again, claudia, dawn, drama, facepalm, headache inducing, kristy, lame, mary anne, non-bsc friends exist?, parody of itself, rampant lesbianism, rampent lesbianism, shut up dawn, shut up kristy, sms field trip fetish, snow, ss#3: baby-sitter's winter vacation, stacey, unwarranted self-importance, wtf?, wth moment, zombies would starve in stoneybrook||]|
Shall we continue on the fail-train?
For posterity: Prologue - Chapter 4
I wrote this about ten hours ago, but wanted to run chapter 7 by a couple friends of mine who are black for their thumbs-up after first consulting them about something that happens in that chapter. It's a sensitive topic that is dealt with in a very snark-worthy way, and so I feel what what I say needs to get approval of people who have experience dealing with real, true, major racism (one whose family even had to move out of where they were in Texas because of how bad the threats were and how little help they were getting from the police). So that chapter snark has their approval EXACTLY as it will be posted, and future Jessi-chapters will also be given to them to read first and approve or smack me upside the head.
Head-desk, face-palm this way.
After they got back to the loge, the kids were straving, and no one knew what to do since all the teachers went 30 miles away to the hospitle.
You guessed it. This is a Claudia chapter.
Well, they get to the lodge, and these kids perk up and get excited. Bull shit. Ann has very obviously never seen a kid after a severe accident. Only Pinky (this name will bother you more later) asked where the teachers were. You know, the only adults she knows on the trip. Naturally a crowd gathers to gawk at the kids like they're a side-show.
They decide to have dinner, and you'd think Claudia would know how diabetes works by now. [Stacey] shouldn’t skip meals. It messes up her blood sugar or something. Or something. Claudia gets a jab in how how Camp Mohawk has some food Stacey can't eat, but the people at the lodge are nice and don't serve meal items Stacey can't eat. Good this this was over 20 years ago. Try finding one meal you could serve to hundreds of people that won't be on someone's medical- or religiously-restricted list. Don't even bother with moral preferences. Just try the medical and religious first. If you can find a meal or two, see if they pass the vegan test. No white sugar. No yeast. Good luck.
So the teachers and the Georges have a meeting, and the BSC is invited to sit in. Of course. What else would we expect? That the BSC might be put in charge of the kids?
Mrs. George says that the man-teacher who went through the storm had several broken ribs. I can tell you, from having had a few broken ribs, that a bunch of broken ribs would kid of mean you can't trudge through the snow for two miles. The lady-teacher had a broken arm. The bus driver had a broken leg. Somehow of the 16 kids, only one had an injury, and only minor. Can't deprive the BSC of a chance to be heros, can we? And got to get those meddling kids, I mean, meddling adults, out of the picture somehow.
Something meant to be a minor point in the book, but will be important to something I say later, is that these kids are very poor, and they won this trip. Some of them have never been out of the Conway Cove area. This trip is a massive, huge deal because, unlike the BSC, these kids aren't taking several vacations a year.
Here's the only funny thinks Claudia says, or thinks anyway.
“We could help,” I whispered. “We could watch the kids.”
Kristy smiled. “Exactly what I was thinking. Should I say something?”
“Nothing ever stopped you before.”
Ooh. If looks could kill . . .
Well, as you can guess, the adults are touched, Mrs. George cries, and I would throw my computer across the room, but I don't want two broken devices in one day.
I've got to go see what strings I can pull to get my three-day-old iPad (yes, it's new) replaced. So my computer is safe.
Oh, even better, they'll gladly move out of their rooms and in with the kids. Ashley's going to have that dorm all to herself. She's this series' Luna Lovegood. In other words, she kids ass. Too bad there's no Harry, et. al. to accept her, strangeness and all. One of the most touching moments in the entire HP series is when they go to her home looking for her in the last book, and Harry sees that she painted all of their faces on the ceiling her her bedroom, with a ribbon winding around them that said "Friends." Tell me if that doesn't touch your heart.
Back to the shit-show.
So all 16 kids plus 7 babysitters will be in one dorm. Well, Timberline Lodge (remember, Ann just decided that this lodge is a replica of the one used in The Shining) doesn't have a dorm that sleeps that many.
Pinky's ankle starts to hurt. It's slightly sprained. Either it is, or it isn't. What it can be is mild.
Mary Anne shows her distrust for Logan. In her entry to him, she says, I should have been excited about the day that lay ahead, but I couldn’t work up any enthusiasm. All I could think about was you and Aruba and whatever you were doing down there. I guess there are a lot of beautiful girls on an island like that. I'm not bothering to comment on this. All I can do is shake my head. And say Natalee Holloway, just to be a killjoy. No, wait, the killjoy is this book.
We get a run-down on bunks again, and Pinky is the one no one wants to share with. I want to introduce her to Ashley and tell them to go give the rest of the kids and the BSC a bunch of hell.
Mrs. Halliday pops in to tell them that she and the Conway Cove teachers will be dorm supervisors for the kids. Thank the gods, someone actually put some adults in charge, at least as puppets for the BSC.
The kids got over their trauma in record time, and all of them except the unfortunately-named-one go outside to play. Poor kid. Jessi's staying with her.
Mary Anne decides to start on her extra credit project as "historian," and finds an old legend of a ghost, and pisses herself. She rushes off to interview the cook who decides to freak her out and be all cryptic. Did he ever see a ghost? Maybe I have, and maybe I haven’t. I love him.
Hello, Mary Anne. Come and play with us. Come and play with us, Mary Anne. Forever … and ever … and ever.
Mary Anne responds by writing a Logan a letter that starts,
My dearest Logan,
You can’t possibly know how much I miss you. My thoughts are with you and only you every second of every day. During the night, you fill my dreams. I cannot bear to be apart from you.Mary Anne is scarier than those twins.
And goes on...for six pages. The entire last page consisted of xxx’s and ooo’s.
Before I get into this chapter, I just want to make something clear. I don't approve of racism, and I understand some people have lived through hell and are more sensitive to comments and such. Aside from the book Keep Out, Claudia, the only "racism" we've ever heard of Jessi experiencing is that Stoneybrook didn't roll out the welcome wagon, which they never roll out anyway. I strongly disapprove of how these books handle issues of race. Someone apparently decided that the appropriate way is to have Jessi project beliefs of racist intent onto people who are doing absolutely nothing to give that idea. In fact, we see her being welcomed very quickly (Dawn moved to Stoneybrook months before her first book, and still had no friends), never being treated as an inferior person even by their enemies, and Jessi even has no trouble being cast in lead ballet rolls in a time when race, even more than today, was a big factor in deciding who to cast. Unlike in BSC in the USA, her grandma isn't here to tell her to put a sock in it and stop accusing an innocent person of racism. So while I'll be aiming my comments at Jessi, they're really aimed at Ann herself for thinking this is all appropriate.
Onward. Downward. Since shit's about to go down.
Kristy asks whose going skiing, and Jessi almost said yes. Thanks to several paragraphs of her playing the worst-case-scenarios on her head of every winter activity, including amputations, she says no because someone needs to watch Pinky Winkler. That kid can't get a break. Mary Anne offered, since she genuinely wanted to stay inside, but no no no, Jessi really wants to. Well, not really. Pinky's just a cop-out for not doing what she wants to do because she's a ballerina, and ballerinas who are 11 must deprive themselves of fun.
Let's just start off with me showing you what to expect.
Jessi says they'll have lots of fun.
“It’ll be swell,” said Pinky dispiritedly.
I cringed slightly, remembering that none of the little kids had wanted Pinky for their bunkie. What was wrong with her? I wondered. Oh, well. I couldn’t worry about that. I need an excuse, and Pinky was a good one.First off, no kid says "swell" without being sarcastic. Second, can you think of any reasons Pinky might not be happy?
1) She's a poor kid who has never been on a trip, and now she's stuck inside watching the other kids.
2) She's injured.
3) She probably wants her parents.
4) She's the bully-target for her entire class, and no one is enthused about being with her, even the BSC.
5) She's once again not getting to be one of the group.
6) She can't go ice skating, skiing, or anything else.
7) She has no TV, none of her books, nothing to pass hours upon hours of time.
I could say she is staying with someone who only sees her an an excuse, but she doesn't know that.
Also fuck you, Jessi, for thinking there must be something wrong with Pinky instead of the kids who bully her.
Jessi and Pinky are finally alone, and Jessi, who has made it clear she's dismayed at being with this kid, starts an inquisition into Pinky's name. Is it her real name? Nope.
Sheesh. I was just trying to make conversation. “What’s your real name, then?” I asked.
“I like Pinky better,” I told her.“I don’t.”
Priscilla. Can't go off calling her Prissy now.
So she gets a nickname that's a slang for a white person. Ann really failed hard on naming this kid. Lose-lose. Poor girl is stuck with a nickname she doesn't like, is injured, can't play, and is with someone who doesn't want to be around her. $10 if you can guess what Jessi says next.
Whoa. This was one bratty little kid. No wonder none of the other children had wanted her for a bunkie.Jessi, SHUT THE FUCK UP. My god, you're supposed to be a genius with kids, and you can't get your head out of your ass long enough to realize there are many really good reasons this kid isn't happy right now! Why don't you try talking about how she feels instead of thinking she's a brat? Next thing we know, you'll be thinking she's a racist or something.
Priscilla (if this kid's going to get one break, it'll be me, and all of you, calling her by the name she prefers) does tell Jessi she doesn't like being asked a bunch of personal question and to stop talking to her. Anyone who knows kids can easily envision one in a bad mood saying, "Stop talking to me," and pouting, and none of us would think anymore more than the kid's in a bad mood.
Ah, what do you know. We hear about a throw-away neighbor who we have never heard of, and won't hear about again, ever. Not once. She's apparently got a neighbor across the street who is a rampant racist who talks about home values being dragged down by non-white people, and is basically loud enough about it to make Westboro Baptist leaders sound like peaceful neighbors to have around. Since we are only told this and are never shown, and there is plenty of opportunity to work this mystery neighbor into the story (nope, not the one in Keep Out, Claudia, since this one has only one child), I'm going to have to question how reliable of a narrator Jessi is, and whether or not there's another reason the child of that house isn't allowed to play with Becca and Jessi's just reading racism into it. I'm pretty sure someone who is that much of a supremacist would have factors into another book somehow. Claudia didn't even know people really were racist until that one After-school Special of a book, and I just don't see how that could happen with a close neighbor who hates non-whites so much. The Ramseys are NOT the only black people in town, and the Kishis aren't the only Asians.
Also it should come as no surprise that Jessi has come to the conclusion that Priscilla isn't happy because she's a racist in the company of a black person. Today I ran this by a couple friends of mine who are black and who I know read the series, one whose family actually had to move because of threats against them for being black. I send them this chapter via e-mail, and asked them both, "Is there anything in Pinky's behavior that should make Jessi think she's racist?" Both of them said no, and the one whose family had to move said even if Jessi had experienced any major racism, there's still nothing racist in any of Pinky's behavior. I wanted to cover my bases here and make sure I'm not overlooking anything due to racial privilege, and since they both said there's nothing even hinting at Pinky being racist and tons of reasons she isn't smiling, I don't feel bad ripping into how this is all going to go down.
Jessi decides she's going to talk to Priscilla anyway and make her play a game. What a way to ensure the kid doesn't like you. She spends a good deal of time looking for a game, and then returns.
“Took you long enough,” Pinky greeted me.
I almost said something really nasty to her, but I held my tongue. Insulting a person never helps a bad situation. Besides, Pinky’s foot hurt her, and she’d had a bad scare the day before. I needed to keep things in perspective.Jessi, again, shut up. You're forcing a game on a kid who wants to be left alone, and then think you have the right to act hurt when she's not bothering to be nice to you. You're not being nice to her, or respecting her. Also, that perspective? You don't have it now, and won't have it at all in this book. So go take a flying leap and land on an oil slick.
Priscilla wants a soda. Jessi bitches about being the kid's maid. See, she forgot she volunteered to stay with a kid who can't walk. So Jessi decides to pummel the kid in every game until the injured, scared kid she already knew was in a bad mood behaved in a way you'd expect a small child to react, and called her a cheater. Jessi, the oh-so-mature one, storms off, grabs a book, thrust the book into Pinky’s hands, bitches at her, and went to sit in another room, and isn't going to speak to Priscilla again until lunchtime.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the girl who we're supposed to think is mature enough to babysit for a whole weekend, who we're supposed to believe is better with kids than her aunt, who is supposed to be an expert in children, yet the first thing she does is mentally accuse an injured kid who wants to be left alone of racism. This is like when you're on a psyche hold and you're accused of being anti-social for not wanting to sing karaoke (this really happens). It doesn't mean you hate anyone. Sometimes people just want to be left along instead of being forced to socialize with strangers when there's something else you really want to do instead.
Since Jessi is so infuriating, and will get worse, I'm doing another chapter.
Stacey's going to meet the world’s cutest guy today. His name is Pierre. His family is French, but Pierre was born in the U.S. and has lived here all his life. He doesn’t speak with an accent. In fact, he admitted that he doesn’t even speak much French. Pierre has these deep brown eyes that twinkle. I mean, they’re really sparkly. And his voice is starting to change, which is so cool . . .
Because a boy's voice cracking is sexy, right? Read between the lines. The boy's reached puberty. He's probably got a chest hair or two, maybe a pube sprouting it he looks really hard (and teen boys apparently do). His hormones are going to be going wild. If you had or have a teen brother, you know they really start to reek too. I'm so glad I don't have a son when I remember my brother's nasty smelliness during those years.
All of this is giving Stacey tinglies in places some people think girls shouldn't know about yet. She tells us she could have written for several pages in that book for Mary Anne, but she didn’t think Mary Anne need quite such detailed information. Besides, some of my thoughts about Pierre were personal.
Put two and two together and you know EXACTLY what she's thinking.
Boy-crazy Stacey is having sex thoughts, and this is refreshing because it's actually realistic. Which makes the lack of supervision on this whole trip really dangerous.
In her hormone-haze, she starts lamenting about how there's no chance of New York City ever getting a blizzard. The one that happened 11 years before this book was published is just a figment of our imaginations. Since she was born in 1973 (1985 is when the club started, and she was 12, so 1973), she should remember that story. I'm ignoring the time warp for a moment.
No, that's a lie.
It's just a jump to the left.
And then a step to the right.
With your hand on your hips.
You bring your knees in tight.
But it's the pelvic thrust.
They really drive you insane.I love Rocky Horror. And I'm mentally adding the 4 years between the start of the club and this book's publication onto Stacey's age. Just so I don't feel so skeevy not giving a rat's ass about how she's probably going to give away her v-card in this book. There are some heavy hints to come.
Blah blah, a couple pages of filler on getting the kids dressed again, then Stacey's on the slopes, a gorgeous guy lands right on top of her. You know what really drives you insane.
They try to get up, fall again, be cites how it's like a Laurel and Hardy sketch, and she cites Three Stooges. What kind of teenagers know enough about Laurel and Hardy to know what their schticks were?
We do get a cute piece where they introduce themselves, find out where the other is from, and we get a believable lead-in to her knowing about him being French aside from just the name. He's from a school close to the border, and she asks if he's French-Canadian. This is geographically reasonable. No, he's not French-Canadian, but his parents are from France and moved to the US after they got married. He speaks no French, only some Italian. Stacey asks if he speaks any French at all, and he replies, “Chevrolet coupé.” So I like the kid.
She makes a few more slope runs, then checks on the kids who are with Mrs. Halliday, and bails to go back to Pierre. She thought of his voice as they skied. It was changing, acquiring that deepness. Read into that what you will. We're all thinking it. I swear the way Stacey's written in this book reminds me so much of when I was her age having those thoughts for the first time. Ah, his name was Jason Odegaard, and he was the principal's son. I thought his glasses were so cute. I was such a nerd.
Stacey's really crushing on the guy, and I'm on Team Stacey in this book. She's pretty much going to disappear from this book until chapter 22. Bow chicka bow wow....
Wait until we get to the WTFery with Claudia. Mallory will be pretty much age-appropriate. Dawn will manage to be sympathetic. Mary Anne will continue needing therapy. Kristy will continue being Kristy. Jessi will make you want to scream and ban her from being around kids. Stacey's off experiencing "the world."
We will also have a return of bunkie-politics.
And I? I'm going to enjoy some Earl Grey tea, see if I can find any of my old crushes on Facebook, and watch some My Little Pony since season 4 is now on Netflix and I'm kind of a die-hard. For those of you too young to remember the original series, there were people in it. Try to imagine people in Ponyville.