I remember thinking Dawn was unreasonable in this one as a kid, so I am sure it will seem even worse now. I was about twelve when this book came out and thought all her logic was ridiculous. Maybe Ann Martin thought she needed to talk down to her audience, but Dawn really seemed more immature than she should be at thirteen. Of course, I guess Dawn’s always like that.
Also, I was always such a goody-goody that whenever I read a book, or saw a TV show, where someone did something “bad” I was fascinated by them/it. And in this one, Dawn runs away from home (in a plane), which I could never imagine doing.
Dawn is out in California where everything is perfect and wonderful. She is part of the We Love Kids Club, which is the relaxed “California” version of the BSC that her friend Sunny started. We Love Kids doesn’t have as many clients as the BSC, but Dawn likes it anyway. Then, some local paper writes a story about the club (as part of a series on “enterprising youth”). A local TV station is impressed with the story and interviews Dawn and her friends for a spot on the news. After this, the club’s business sky-rockets and they have trouble keeping up with the jobs. Dawn finally convinces them to start being more organized.
Meanwhile, the real story (although not the one in the title) is about her Dad and his girlfriend Carol. Dawn still doesn’t like the woman, even though she promised to give her a chance. When they announce their engagement, Dawn freaks out because she came to California to spend time with her dad, and now he is spending time with Carol. I mean, how dare he do something like that? She actually says, “how dare he?”
Then, Dawn does the only reasonable thing…she steals her dad’s credit card number, buys a plane ticket to Connecticut, and takes off without telling anyone. Then, she is shocked when her parents are pissed at her and mad that they make her fly back to California. Of course, this whole drama makes Mr. Schafer and Carol argue about his priorities and how he has bratty kids and an ex-wife, etc. This leads them to break up. However, they (spoiler alert!) do get married in a later Super Special, so I am sure this isn’t really the end of things.
- Did you know that California is so awesome that they don’t have “obnoxious school bells?”
- Dawn is annoyed that Carol uses the word, “bodacious.” Well, Dawn, I am sure Carol is annoyed that you use words like, “dibble.” But you don’t see her flying across the country because of it.
- Real-life book mention: Mary Anne is reading “Julie of the Wolves.” I remember reading that as a kid, but I have no recollection of what it was about.
- I’m not sure Kristy can claim credit for inventing a club record book. She just decided the BSC should use one.
- Sunny is so “laid back” that she doesn’t even know she has last year’s calendar on her wall. I am going to assume for her sake that this book takes place in January and not December. (All we are told is that it’s winter).
- The day the We Love Kids interview is on the news, Carol gives Dawn a director’s chair with a star and the name “Dawn” written on it. Cause Dawn doesn’t already think she is the center of the universe?
- Kristy is jealous that We Love Kids got so much media attention, so she is trying to get the BSC some publicity. She actually calls some TV station and is told to “send a tape” (aka, get lost). Then the rest of the girls are annoyed she contacted a station without telling them. This leads to the most illogical conversation ever:
Stacey: “Remember when Mary Anne got her haircut?..we felt a little hurt she didn’t tell us in advance that she was doing that.”
Kristy: “Well that was dumb of us...we agreed.”
Stacey: “But this isn’t.”
Seriously? If you are going to cite an example, it should be one that applies.
- Dawn can be a little slow. I remember in the flashback Super-Special, she didn’t realize her parents were going to get divorced when they had a “family meeting” after fighting bitterly for weeks/months. And when her Dad and Carol have an announcement to make, she thinks it is just going to be about her dad getting a promotion.
- Claudia gets the words “telegenic” and “telepathic” mixed up. Not the spelling, the meanings. I would think someone that is so into art and fashion would know what “telegenic” means.
- Dawn gets mad at Carol for wiping up Jeff’s spilled glass of water. Not only because it is wasting the paper, but because Jeff is capable of cleaning it up himself. Honestly, Dawn, she was being nice. I am capable of cooking for myself, but I still enjoy if someone else does. It is not like Carol was enabling him in being a slacker. She was just being helpful.
- Maggie, one of Dawn’s CA friends has had dinner with Keanu Reeves. That is only a semi-dated pop-culture reference.
- This is how the reporter describes We Love Kids:
Dawn: “A silken-haired beauty with a laugh like pealing bells.”
Sunny: “An aptly named fireball of boundless enthusiasm.
Maggie: “Savy, hip, and just this side of au courant.”
Jill: “Warm and nurturing, the calming force of the group.”
All I can say is, WTF?
- Apparently, Mr. Schafer getting engaged means that he doesn’t want Dawn to live with him. I mean, in Dawn’s “all about me” head. And actually, maybe in reality, (assuming her dad has some sense).
- Sunny had double-booked a sitting job, and gets Dawn to cover. Somehow, the parents get the idea that she is canceling the sitting job…then they get pissed when she actually shows up. If Sunny got someone to cover the second job, why would she even tell the parents she double booked the job?
- Jeff wants to be a comedian, so we are treated to many horrible jokes every time he appears in a scene. For example, “What do you call a Smurf in math class….a Smurfboard.” Hysterical stuff.
- Dawn is sitting a lot for Stephie…the girl who Mary Anne bonded with when she was in California. Stephie asks her what “hunk” means and gets bored halfway through Dawn’s answer. I am trying to figure out what Dawn could have said that was that long and boring. Wouldn’t you just say, “a good-looking man?”
- The ghostwriters also decide to give Mary Anne’s entire storyline from that Super-Special to Dawn. In this book, Stephie is so happy to have Dawn sit for her, that her asthma improves. Of course.
- Dawn is surprised at how much a flight costs, but decides that she is saving money because her parents would have eventually had to buy her a ticket, and prices always go up. You know when else they go up? When you buy a ticket the day that you fly.
- Dawn is also surprised that her father calls her mom to tell her she is coming. Really, Dawn? You thought he would sit back and let you surprise her with a phone call when you land?
- Halfway across the country, Dawn does have the sense to realize it might have been a stupid idea, and that people might get pissed at her.
- Dawn complains that she couldn’t get a vegetarian meal and had to share her flight with an “overcooked chick carcass.” Considering Dawn almost always eats chicken and fish (her only problem is red meat) that seems a bit dramatic.
- When she is in Stoneybrook, which is only the span of a day, Dawn is not allowed to call any of her friends. What a rare show of parental discipline.
- Her parents make her pay them back for her ticket to Stoneybrook, plus a ticket back to CA. I kind of hope they booked her on the most expensive flight possible.