Monday, February 8, 2010

“I’m going on like this, telling you about me, not because I’m conceited”…..BSC Portrait Collection: Stacey’s Book

Memory Reaction
This was the first “Autobiography” book, and I was really excited about it. I had really liked the memory Super Special because we got to see the girls as kids, which seemed cool at the time. However, I remember being a little disappointed because this book didn’t have much interaction between the other girls (since Stacey didn’t meet them until the series started). So, it wasn’t my favorite of the “Portrait Collection.”

I also remember feeling so inferior to Stacey, because she talked about how she and Laine would watch MTV while they were playing with dolls as little kids, and how they would get up and dance to all the good songs (which clearly dates the book). I was never that cool. When my friends and I played with dolls, we just played dolls. Or we’d sit around reading together.

Revisited Reaction

All the 8th Graders at SMS have to write their autobiography. This lets the ghostwriters do additional books without having to do a Mal and Jessi one. Anyway, Stacey gets the first one. Basically, the first chapter of the book is Stacey’s personal intro, and then the rest is supposed to be us reading her actual bio. It’s split into a few little stories about her life.

The first takes place at age five, when Stacey was obsessed with Cinderella. Her mother works at Macy’s, so Stacey gets to be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, on a Cinderella float. She’s super excited and tells everyone in her class to watch her on TV. Then, during the parade, Cinderella’s crown blows off, and Stacey bends over to pick it up – moving out of camera range when she should have been on TV. But she gets to keep the crown, so she’s happy.

When Stacey was eight, she and Laine thought they were all grown up and wanted to be independent. Their parents sign them up for ballroom dancing lessons, which Laine and Stacey don’t want to attend. So, the try ditching the classes, and for awhile they get away with walking around the city during the class (going to get ice cream, to a toy store, etc). Then one day they try to take the bus to FAO Schwarz, and don’t get back in time. So, they get in a lot of trouble and have to take the classes anyway.

At age ten, Stacey’s parents drag her to some isolated island in Maine for vacation. And by isolated, I mean there are three families that live there and no other structures or phones. She’s bored out of her mind, and the only kid on the island hates her, because Stacey keeps going on and on about how boring the island is. Then Stacey’s dad breaks her ankle, and the girl helps get him to the mainland to see a doctor. So, she and Stacey bond and end up friends.

For the age “twelve” story, Stacey’s living back in NY and Claudia comes to visit for a weekend. If you’re wondering how she could be twelve when this happens, considering she didn’t move back to New York until she was thirteen…..well, join the club. I guess maybe the story about Stacey learning to time travel got left out. Anyway, at this point in her life, Stacey’s secretly miserable because Laine’s her only real friend. The other girls she hangs out with just put up with her because of Laine. Claudia’s bitchy at first, because seeing Stacey happy in NY reminds her that she’s not in Stoneybrook. But, they talk and Stacey admits how much she misses Stoneybrook. Then they have a nice day together before Claud leaves.

And then the rest of Stacey’s life – moving back to Stoneybrook, etc. – is summarized in one sentence. And we find out she gets an A on the assignment.

  • It’s interesting how Stacey completely leaves out her most vivid memory from her autobiography.
  • The real flaw in the concept of this book, is that if these girls were actually writing their autobiographies, they’d spend a lot more time on their middle school years. But clearly, they can’t use a story that already exists in a book. They probably should have pretended we were only reading segments of the biography.
  • On Stacey’s 4th birthday, her parents take her to the Plaza for lunch, because she is a fan of Eloise. And when the waiters bring out a cake a sing, other customers join in, including Pavarotti, who just happens to be there. That seems to be a little over the top.
  • I don’t think I ever read Eloise. Right now the name is just making me think of Lost.
  • Stacey describes Laine as “cool” and “sophisticated” at age five. It seems a bit cliché to have a young version of Laine be a mini version of herself at 13. Why not have her be a normal kid then, who changed to the “cool” person she supposedly was at 13?
  • In Kindergarten, the teacher asks anyone in class to raise their hand if they know the story of Cinderella. Stacey isn’t sure, so she only puts it up half way, but then Laine tells her to put it all the way up, and she does. Nice independent thinking.
  • Everyone in Stacey’s class believes her when she explains why she wasn’t on TV during the parade, even before she shows them the crown she got. I find that a little hard to believe. Granted, she was telling the truth, but still.
  • Does Cinderella have red hair? Stacey keeps describing her that way, and the “Cinderella” in the parade wears a red wig. But I always thought she was blonde.
  • Oooh, super-sophisticated Stacey gets to go to a movie premiere at age five. It’s for a re-release of Cinderella. Of course she does. She lives in NYC and does all sorts of “sophisticated” things that make her better than normal teens.
  • I like that they made her mom work at Macy’s when Stacey was little, since it fits with the job she gets later on.
  • Stacey complains about how she and Laine weren’t allowed to walk anywhere by themselves at age 8, and I can’t tell if she’s explaining how she felt then, or if she still actually thinks her parents were overprotective at that point.
  • Isn’t third grade a little too young for ballroom dancing?
  • The teacher of these dancing lessons never bothers to take attendance, which is how Stacey and Laine get away with skipping them at first. But presumably, people paid to take these classes, so I would think the teacher would at least take attendance on the first day.
  • Stacey totally enables her father’s workaholic ways by hiding his briefcase in her suitcase when they go on vacation – he didn’t want her mom to know he was going to do any work. It’s kind of jerky of him to use his daughter like that.
  • Who does go to an island THAT secluded for vacation? I’ve heard of people who go to little islands in the Caribbean, but at least those are owned by resort-type companies that provide food, etc to people living there. The McGills are just alone in the middle of nowhere.
  • Stacey and the kid she meets exchange addresses, but Stacey acknowledges that they didn’t really stay in touch, and she says she wishes they had. I like that she actually says this, since these girls were always meeting people on vacations that they agree to write to, but never mention again.
  • Mara, the girl Stacey befriends on vacation, can apparently tell the time by sun and moon. That part made me roll my eyes.
  • The whole storyline where Stacey isn’t happy with her friends back in New York seems to be a bit shoehorned in. When she was deciding where to live, she never mentioned any of that. She said she was closer to the BSC than Laine and others, but she didn’t claim to be unhappy.
  • Claudia’s reason for being annoyed at Stacey is really lame.
  • We get some outfits, because clearly the clothing that you and your best friends wear is an important enough details to go in your autobiography.
  • Stacey: “Black tights, a pink-and-black striped oversized sweat shirt, and pink high-top sneakers.”
  • Stacey at ten: “Jeans, [her] red high-top sneakers, and a long-sleeved blue polo shirt. Over that [she wore her] white denim jacket.” Which seems like a more normal outfit than what she wears as a teenager.
  • Laine: A black lycra mini-dress.
  • Claudia: “A purple jacket, black tights, and red cowboy boots. Her hair was half piled on her head and half down her back, so the brightly colored three-hoop earrings she’d made for herself showed off nicely.”
  • Claudia buys a pair of black-and-lime-green-striped leggings. I hope she’s planning to use them as a dust rag and not actual clothing.


Amy said...

I feel like Mara would grow up to be the protagonist in Among Other Things I've Taken Up Smoking (a title that is far better than the book itself).

Rachel said...

"I don’t think I ever read Eloise. Right now the name is just making me think of Lost."

Haha, snap! I never read the Portrait books - I don't think I ever saw them in stores over here. But it looks like I didn't miss too much

Anonymous said...

laine is a bitch

booboobrewer said...

I think it's funny that Stacey notices something as small as Claudia's earrings but doesn't mention her shirt. Is she wearing one?

Black and lime leggings sound pretty awesome, actually.

boob boy said...

booboobrewer said...

I think it's funny that Stacey notices something as small as Claudia's earrings but doesn't mention her shirt. Is she wearing one?

i hope she isn't wearing one

Mary Ann said...

I was so excited for the Portrait books... my main memory of Stacey's book is from the story about those dance classes. She admits at the end that she is glad her parents made her take the dance lessons because now whenever she's in a situation where there's dancing, she knows the steps. Uhhh, what situation is Stacey ever in that she needs to know how to dance? I seriously doubt that the BSC members (or anyone else, for that matter) are busting out the tango at SMS dances, lol.

Paigealicious! said...

Black and green striped leggings sound like something you'd wear as part of a Hallowe'en a witch. Then you'd throw them out.

Angela Stockbridge said...

I am so happy to have discovered this blog. I am also re-reading the BSC books, courtesy of Ebay and the local library, and I'm LOVING your observations.

SJSiff said...

Don't feel inferior for reading with your friends when you were kids. My best friend and I still do that!

Of course, Stacey could be so sophisticated that I have yet to catch up with her...

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Anonymous said...

Actually, Cinderella was kind of strawberry blonde, now that I think about it. When I hear or read the word "red" I think a more vivid red, like Amy Adams or Debra Messing.

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Ella said...

I think originally Cinderella had red hair...I read one Cinderella story, and that Cinderella had red hair...I don't know, maybe just the Disney Cinderella was blonde? But I'm not sure either way...

Anonymous said...

"Then Stacey’s dad breaks her ankle"

Wow, I was like, "How did Stacey's dad manage to break Stacey's ankle??" but I guess it was his own ankle that broke?

I don't want to be one of THOSE people, but I was genuinely confused there for a bit. Considering how old this post is it probably doesn't matter, though.

I'm enjoying this blog a lot even though I didn't read that many BSC books and just barely remember the ones that I did read.

Liz said...

@Anon ^^: Haha, I had pretty much the same thought. "Whoa, Stacey's dad broke *Stacey's* ankle?! This book just got dark!" Even though I knew what Kristen meant, I had a laugh to myself about it :)