I really don’t have a very strong recollection of this book. I remember that it existed and the basic plot, but I don’t remember what I thought of it. I am pretty sure I thought it was predictable. Because, the back of the book says that something bad happens to a pregnant person (in slightly different language), and at that point I was old enough to know that meant she lost the baby. If it was an earlier book (and I was younger), I might have been more surprised, or thought it was sadder. But since I knew it was happening, I don’t think I was that affected by it.
When I decided to recap this book, I was thinking it was called, “Claudia and the Crazy Peaches”…which doesn’t really make a lot of sense if you know Peaches is a person (which I do).
Claudia’s aunt, Peaches, announces that she is pregnant. Claud and her family are all thrilled, as one would expect. That same day, Peaches calls back to say that she quit her job and is moving to Stoneybrook (along with her husband Russ). The people they sold their house to want to be in it in a week-and-a-half, which is unfortunate, since the house Peaches and Russ bought won’t be ready for another month. But Claud’s mom insists that they stay at the Kishis’. Now, for the record, Peaches is two months along at this point.
Claudia loves Peaches, because her aunt likes to go on “adventures” and will drag Claudia with her. They go shopping for new baby supplies, plan fancy dinners, etc. Claud starts to blow off her homework, because that is what Claudia does anyway. And when an adult is telling her it is okay, she does it even more so. So when Peaches wakes Claudia up at 11:30 pm on a Friday night to go get pizza, Claudia goes. Apparently Peaches had a craving, the place didn’t deliver after 11, and she didn’t want to wake Russ or go alone. But, Peaches doesn’t leave a note. So, when Mrs. Kishi wakes up and sees Claudia’s room empty in the middle of the night, she freaks out.
When Claudia and Peaches get home, Mrs. Kishi does this whole, “I’m so disappointed in you” speech. Claud yells back that it is all Peaches fault, and stomps away. The two don’t talk for a couple days, and then have another argument when Claud whines about helping Peaches look at decorating supplies. This makes Peaches rant about Claudia being a sulky teenage. A few days later, Peaches has a miscarriage, and Claudia decides it is all her fault for making Peaches upset. But, Peaches tells her that isn’t true and they make up.
There is also this subplot with Natalie Springer, this character from the Little Sister books. Poor Natalie doesn’t have a lot of friends, and the BSC decides to get involved to get her some. And of course, they connect her with Charlotte and Becca and the three bond over jump rope songs. Supposedly, they become super close, but we never see her hanging out with Becca or Charlotte in later books.
- The word miscarriage is not actually used once in the book. They just say she “lost the baby.” I guess it is kind of like how in the fifties, TV characters would say they were “expecting,” but never that they were “pregnant.”
- What is it with the BSC and people demanding to move into a new house instantly? Kristy’s family had to move out of her old house in a week or two as well.
- Claudia owns a pair of shoes that she decorated with red sequins to look like Dorothy’s slippers.
- This is a hypothetical outfit, I guess. Claud says she might “cover an entire jean vest with tiny safety pins and funky plastic charms from a gumball machine and wear that with a jean skirt and bright red cowboy boots.”
- The ghostwriters really go out of their way to make Janine seem lame, don’t they? Claud tells us about a time Peaches and Russ took her and Janine to a park when they were kids. She says how Russ climbed trees with her, Peaches hung from the monkey bars with her and Janine…..stood around and smiled. Just cause she is a genius (and likes studying), doesn’t mean she wouldn’t play in a park as a kid. Even Doogie Houser liked to have fun.
- Claud’s is working on a sculpture made of non-biodegradable things, and she’s calling it “Forever Yours.” I actually think that sounds like a cool idea.
- Apparently, Peaches and Russ lived in Stoneybrook when Claudia was little. She tells us one of the reason she likes them so much is how Russ was always looking out for them. She remembers a time when there was a storm and Russ wanted to make sure her family was okay. He had a broken leg so he couldn’t walk, and the roads were closed because of trees falling down, so he couldn’t drive. He ended up riding over in a golf cart. But, if the roads were full of fallen down trees, how did he ride a golf cart? It is not exactly a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
- “Peaches” is not her aunt’s real name (obviously). Her real name is Miyoshi, but her husband just started calling her Peaches and the name stuck. We don’t hear why he started calling her peaches though, and I think that is the more interesting part of the story.
- Fun fact: Claud’s mom’s name is Rioko.
- This is an actual quote: “I’m the BSC vice-president. Not because I have any presidential skills, but because I have my own phone and number. Pretty neat, huh?” No Claud, it’s sad. It’s like how kids used to hang out at the Delanys’ to use their pool, but didn’t really like Max and Amanda.
- I like that we hear Claud talking about having a cousin, or wanting to have a cousin. Aside from when Kristy’s mom got married, we hardly hear anything about these girls’ extended families. The only one who really talks about it is Jessi. I know not everyone has big extended families, or at least are not close to their extended families, but what are the chances that out of seven girls (eight if you count Abby), none of them ever mention other relatives?
- Minor continuity error: Claudia’s mom tells her that Peaches is going to call her at 4:00 to give her some news. Which, she does. And she says she is pregnant right away. But then at the BSC meeting, Claudia says that she found out Peaches was pregnant less than an hour ago. Now, we all know the BSC meetings start at 5:30. So….how’s that less than an hour? Can Claud not even tell time now?
- When Claudia first sits for Natalie, Natalie asks her to be her friend. Claud is all, “of course.” So then Natalie starts showing up at Claud’s house and calling her all the time (this is a seven-year-old). And Mrs. Springer is totally fine with it. Which shouldn’t really be that surprising. She’s basically getting free baby-sitting and we all know how much parents in Stoneybrook like to push their kids off on baby-sitters.
- When Claud tells the BSC about Peaches, they all have stereotypical reactions. Kristy says to make sure Peaches exercises, Jessi tells her to listen to classical music (so the baby hears it in the womb and wants to become a dancer), Shannon tells her to speak French to the baby from birth, so she’ll have an ear for languages, etc. It’s so cliché it is painful to read.
- I’d be so embarrassed if I was Natalie…Jessi basically calls up a bunch of neighborhood kids and tells them to come over to meet Natalie and be her friend. And when they get there, James Horbart is all, “so is this the girl we are supposed to meet?” Right in front of Natalie. That’s so awkward.
- According to Kristy, Karen worries about Natalie because she doesn’t have a lot of friends. Hey, Karen, if you see someone with no friends, and you think they are a nice person, maybe you should try being their friend. Then you won’t need to feel bad for them.
- Isn’t two months kind of early for someone to go out and buy baby furniture? I’m sure if I was pregnant, I’d be excited and want to start looking, but still. I mean, don’t lots of people wait until three months before they even tell anyone?
- Another note about shopping at baby stores: Isn’t one of the points of baby showers that you don’t need to run out and buy a million things yourself?
- Natalie teaches Charlotte and Becca a jump rope song called “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,” which I totally remember doing back in elementary school. And, I now have an urge to go out and jump rope.
- Claudia teaches Natalie to make her favorite kind of sandwich – peanut butter, mayonnaise, and banana. That sounds repulsive.
- Stacey, however, says her favorite kind of sandwich is cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Which, I order in delis all the time, and always get questioned by the person making it. It is like no one can believe you would eat a sandwich like that.
- When Janine hears about Peaches being pregnant, she wants to watch the Miracle of Life. I had to watch that in health in 8th grade (and 9th grade….and 12th grade) and the birth scene totally freaked me out. At least, the first time I saw it.
- This is kind of sad…Natalie wants to play “Lovely Ladies,” which is the stupid game Karen invented. But she actually has no idea what the game is, or how to play. She just wants to do it because she heard Karen talk about it.
- Claudia wants Mary Anne to teach her to knit so she can make something for the baby (since Mimi taught Mary Anne to knit and Peaches is Mimi’s daughter). I think that’s actually kind of sweet.