Friday, November 27, 2009

“Peaches just happens to be one of my favorite people on the planet”…….BSC # 78: Claudia and Crazy Peaches

Memory Reaction

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).

Revisited Reaction

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.

High/Lowlights

  • 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.”
  • 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.

20 comments:

nikki said...

"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?"

Yep. Kinda early to quit your job and move to a new town too.

Lori said...

Do some women really quit their job and move to a new town when they find out their pregnant? That seems like a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

"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?"

Yeah, it's a little early because there's still a good chance of the woman suffering a miscarriage. I think it's recommended that the woman waits until she's three months pregnant to announce it because then the risk of miscarriage drops to 1% or less.

Janet said...

I'm 31 weeks pregnant now, but I dug this book out months ago.

Yeah, there's no point to buy furniture at 2 months. I could understand setting up a registry, but she probably spent thousands of dollars on the spot. And Russ wasn't even there to give his input. I wouldn't spend that kind of money without my husband. What's left for anyone to give her? Didn't she pick out the entire wardrobe, too? Honestly, I haven't had to buy too much yet (mostly diapers and some clothes), because everyone has been so generous.

Also -- I would be overwhelmed if a bunch of 13 year old girls were trying to impose their pregnancy suggestions on me. Ummm....I have no desire to teach my baby French. And a middle schooler would NOT be in charge of my exercise routine. WTF?

I looove the food descriptions, though. And I totally would have gone out for pizza. Mrs. Kishi overreacted, IMO -- when they all woke up, wouldn't they have noticed that Peaches (and her car) were gone -- and put two and two together? C'mon, now.

Anonymous said...

"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?"

Yeah, it's a little early because there's still a good chance of the woman suffering a miscarriage. I think it's recommended that the woman should wait until she's three months pregnant to announce it because then the risk of miscarriage drops to 1% or less.

Conrad said...

Actually we see a lot of the girls' extended families. Kristy's cousins in Kristy's Big Day, Mary Anne's creepy grandmother Verna Baker, Dawn's Granny and Pop Pop, Stacey's cousins (mentioned in the Truth About Stacey), Mal's Uncle Joe, Jessi's Aunt Cecilia and all her relatives in Jersey (including Keisha), and Abby's extended family in Long Island (Abby's Lucky Thirteen and Abby in Wonderland).

Anonymous said...

hahaha the Miracle of Life video.... we had to watch that in like 6th grade. The entire class screamed at the exact same time when they showed the birth!!

But yeah Peaches was kinda insane making all these impulsive moving/spending/craving decisions... but I guess anyone with the nickname "Peaches" would be a little nutty.

S said...

Claudia owns a pair of shoes that she decorated with red sequins to look like Dorothy’s slippers.

In "Karen's Ghost" Nancy has some too. :) Just saying.

Good post. Love your blog!

Kait said...

Rather than having Janine stand around and smile at the playground, why didn't they have her sit under a tree with a book? I'd see that as more understandable behavior for a "genius" child.

maybeimamazed02 said...

Yeah, I would think Janine would at least have had a book at the park. And yeah, I totally loved the park as a kid, even though I was more of an "indoor" type.

Three months pregnant=(mostly) out of the danger zone. However, I know people who've gone nutty before then and announced it/bought stuff, etc. Which, yeah, always weirds me out, because if something happens, it's not only sad for them but VERY awkward for everyone else.

I did like this book because of the food descriptions. Didn't they make stuffed mushrooms at one point? YUM.

Anonymous said...

S said...

Claudia owns a pair of shoes that she decorated with red sequins to look like Dorothy’s slippers.

In "Karen's Ghost" Nancy has some too. :) Just saying.


S Nancy's parents got those for her when she was Dorthy for Halloween

Bird said...

I agree with Conrad about the whole relative thing. Personally, I wish AMM and co. had done more to develop the main characters rather than tertiary ones. That said, the Claudia/Peaches relationship is an interesting one.

Paigealicious! said...

Peanut butter and banana sandwiches are kinda good, but who would put mayo on peanut butter?! My parents make theirs with butter and then peanut butter (I think it must be something from their childhood)...and that's nasty enough.

I order veggie sandwiches all the time and people look at me like I have 3 heads. Who on earth wouldn't want meat on a sandwich??

In 8th grade health we watched a video about birth...as the woman was pushing the baby out our teacher actually said, "Okay, everyone be quiet...you can hear it ripping!"

nikki said...

Oh, Paigealicious! That is terrible that your teacher said that! Ew!

When I was taking my own childbirth classes, the video we watched featured a woman in labor, wearing a T-shirt she had decorated herself with puffy paints and it said "I <3 Labor." And as soon as she came on screen, I was like "Stupid Bitch!" Everyone in the class laughed and agreed with me.

MsJess said...

It's funny how the Kishi's were so strict with Claudai about candy and reading material but they let her have her own phone line. Of course the BSC had to help pay for it...

Anonymous said...

Now this book is hard for me to read because I had a miscarriage not too long ago. I did question Peaches buying things for the baby so soon and quitting her job. I am now almost 5 months pregnant and I've only bought a few outfits. (I can also see how you would want others to know you had a miscarriage though. It helps if people know you are going through a difficult time.)

Kak said...

I haven't read this one, but do they explain why Peaches is so crazy? It sounds like she has bipolar and had to come off her meds because she was pregnant.
I think I'm a few years older than Kristen cos I stopped reading around the 40s and I had never heard of the mysteries! I'm loving this blog though, just found it, it's so addictive!
Kathy in aus.

charmecia said...

i just got through reading this book the other day.
i actually have an aunt peaches and boy was she like claudia's auntie, only me and her werent that close like peaches and claudia are.( though i have a aunt pheonicia who is also like peaches too.)

i wouldnt want a bunch of 13 year olds giving me advice on my pregancy and stuff too cause it would be kind of stupid and ridiculous. i rather have my girlfriends giving me advice than a bunch of 13 year olds too.

dude ill never forget the food scenes
the peanut butter and mayonaise thing does sound gross
(no wonder she ends up with alan gray)
that lettuce,tomato, and cheese thing reminds me of a BLT sandwich, which im about to get right now.

and omg rioko kishi, your daughter was with an adult, which is your own sister. come on now, as a librarian you should figure that out already.

i thought it was sweet of claudia asking mary anne to help her knit, but really completing the mimi circle(since mary anne was real close to her too)
the two definitely make much better good friends than say dawn/mary anne
kristy/mary anne.

Anonymous said...

Is it weird that I read James Hobart's line with an australian accent. That's how ingrained this stuff is for me

Haids said...

Oh my gosh, Natalie Springer doesn't know what Lovely Ladies is!! I can't stop laughing, it is so pathetic! She probably has all these pictures of Karen taped on her walls, and saves Karen's old Band-Aids and hair and makes a sculpture like Helga does in Hey Arnold.