BSC # 12: Claudia and the New Girl
I definitely remember that Ashley was into doing weird stuff and calling it art. And how bitchy the BSCers got when Claudia hung out with her. I vividly remember Claudia finding her bed short-sheeted and reading mean notes. But I also remember knowing they made up in the end. Not, because it is predictable, but because Claudia narrates how she heard about what the BSC behind her back weeks later. They did that with some of the Stacey books later on.
Ashley Wyeth moves to Stoneybrook and is in some of Claudia’s classes. She is also an artist, so sees Claud at an art lesson, thinks she is a talented as an artist, and decides to be-friend her. Ashley thinks Claudia should spend all her free time on art, but Claudia tells her that she has other important things in her life. But they do start hanging out, and they do horrible things like eating lunch at their own table in the school cafeteria and going out to find inspiration for their art. This makes Claud miss BSC meetings, and I think you can guess how the BSC reacts – they pretty much stop talking to her for being friends with Ashley. Plus, they think Ashley is weird, so they think Claud is crazy for wanting to be friends with her. I can see them getting annoyed at her skipping meetings, since they are at her house, but they are really just bitches who want to control her.
Meanwhile, Ashley tries to convince Claudia to sculpt a traffic light for some art contest. Claudia decides not to be “cutting edge” and sculpts Jackie Rodowski instead. But, since she spent so much time with Ashley, she fell behind at school and doesn’t have time to finish. Her teacher enters it as a work-in-progress and she gets an honorable mention. Anyway, Ashley thinks ignoring her advice on the sculpture is a betrayal, and they have a fight. Once this happens she makes up with the BSC and apologizes for wanting an outside life. I guess the club is like the mafia or something…once you’re in, you can never get out.
- Claudia is bored in class and let’s her mind wander. She debates whether flies have family reunions, and decides no, because reunions are usually picnics and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between flies that are guests and flies that are invade picnics.
- On a spelling test, Claudia decides that pharaoh should be spelled “farow,” because in a sentence her teacher also used the word “famous” and ‘that must be a clue.’ She also is proud of herself for knowing there was a silent w.
- In this book we get more Ashley outfits than anything else: “She was wearing a very pretty pink flowered skirt that was full and so long it touched the tops of her shoes – which [Claud] soon realized were not shoes, but sort of hiking boots. Her blouse, loose and lacy, was embroidered with pink flowers.” Kind of hippy, but no worse than anything Claud usually wears.
- Claudia outfit: “A very short pink cotton dress, white tights, and black ballet slippers.” That actually seems fairly normal.
- The early books are so weird: At a meeting, the girls all hang out downstairs until everyone gets there, then they go upstairs and start the meeting. None of this, ‘Kristy watches the clock like a hawk’ thing.
- Claudia tries not to use the word ‘new girl’ when talking about Ashley, because she doesn’t want to offend Stacey or Dawn, who were once both new girls. I can’t figure out what is offensive about that term.
- Another Ashley outfit: “A puffy white blouse, a blue-jean jacket, a long blue-jean skirt, and those hiking boots again.” You know, there was a time when hiking boots were actually kind of stylish. Probably not when this book was written, though.
- When Claudia introduces Ashley to kids in her art class, Ashley looks at their work, and only talks to people she thinks are good artists.
- More Ashley clothes: “A long petticoat and work boots.”
- Ashley asks Claudia why she “has to” baby-sit right in front of the Radowskys. That’s kind of mean.
- This part is ridiculous. Jeff gets in trouble at school, and his teacher says he couldn’t leave until she talks to his mom. But, they can’t reach Mrs. Schafer. So, he calls Dawn, who then drags the Perkins girls all the way to the school, to talk to the teacher in place of her mom. It is so absurd. If the teacher really couldn’t reach the mom, I would think she would eventually let the kid go home and call the parents the next day. She certainly would not take the word of a teenager in place of a parent.
- Dawn also forgets to leave a note for Mrs. Perkins, who is all worried when she gets home and finds no one. A BSC member making a mistake? Shocking.
- Stacey makes fun of Ashley for wearing bell-bottoms to school. Now, I am not exactly defending that fashion choice, but you can’t be best friends with Claudia and then make fun of other people’s fashion choices. Plus, I am almost positive Claud has worn bell-bottoms at least once.
- I still can’t believe the Kishis let the BSC meet in their house when Claud isn’t there.
- Claud’s unfinished sculpture of Jackie wins an honorable mention, and Claud’s art teacher tells her it would have won first prize if it were finished. But, Ashley’s freaky sculpture of a fire hydrant wins first prize, and if the judges were into that, I don’t see them giving a regular old sculpture a prize.
- Claudia goes over to the Rodowskys to get their permission to sculpt Jackie. Of course, they aren’t there, so she just asks Jackie and doesn’t bother checking back in with his parents.
- The mature BSC plays all these jokes on Claud, like hiding her junk food, short sheeting her bed, and leaving mean notes all over the place. And all the girl did was make a new friend.
- Mary Anne thinks Ashley is stuck up, because she never talks to anyone but Claud. But, Mary Anne only talks to BSC members, so who is she to judge?