Monday, May 24, 2010

“It’s not that Danielle did a terrible thing”….BSC # 82: Jessi and the Troublemaker

Memory Reaction

I know that I liked this book, or at least the idea of this book, because they brought back Danielle Roberts. I had been a fan of Danielle when she had her first appearance, and wasn’t happy that it ended with Danielle back in the hospital. So, it was nice to see her show up healthy in this one.

However, I remember thinking that everyone overreacted to the things that happened. First, to Danielle “acting out,” because most of what she did was no big deal. But my main memory’s of the reaction to the car accident that happens at the end (somehow Danielle ends up driving a car). It’s not that I thought that it was totally acceptable for a kid to try driving, it’s that I was annoyed with how people treated Jessi afterwards. I think her mom brings her home and puts her to bed, and to my younger self, it just seemed like a weird response.

Revisited Reaction

Danielle Roberts’s cancer’s in remission, so she’s back at school, hanging out with friends, and doing all the stuff normal nine-year-olds do. This includes having members of the BSC sit for her, of course. Everyone’s happy about this, but then Jessi and the other BSC members notice that Danielle’s acting “wild.” In BSC-land wild consists of wearing roller-blades in the house, using an old mattress to go “sledding” down a flight of stairs, and trying to turn a shower stall into a swimming pool. At first, the girls don’t tell Danielle’s parents, because they don’t think she meant any harm. But then they start to feel guilty about this, and Kristy calls Mrs. Roberts to tell her everything Danielle did. Mrs. Roberts doesn’t really take it seriously, because she thinks Danielle’s a creative spirit who’s making up for lost time. I imagine it’s also because she has a hard time yelling at a kid who almost died.

Then, when Jessi’s sitting for the Robertses, some of Danielle’s friends (Charlotte, Becca, Haley, and Vanessa) come over to play. Danielle decides it would be fun to try driving, so they all pile in the car and she drives down the street (and back). Jessi notices this as Danielle’s pulling into the driveway, and freaks out a little. Danielle sees her, gets distracted, and the car rolls backwards and smashes into a parked car. It’s all very “dramatic,” the girls are screaming, a crowd gathers, Vanessa has to go to the hospital (but is fine), and Jessi gets to show how responsible she is. Afterwards, the Roberts’ actually apologize to Jessi for not taking the BSC’s warning about Danielle seriously. Because the BSC’s always right, I guess. Meanwhile, Danielle’s friends are pissed at her because they got in trouble when their parents found out about the car trip. Fortunately, Stacey helps them make up, because the BSC can also do everything.

The sub plot’s something out of Three’s Company. Seriously. Jessi and Becca hear Aunt Cecelia and Mr. Majors (some guy friend of hers) talking about a wedding. Jessi assumes they are getting married and planning a secret wedding. She and Becca buy a gift and get all dressed up the day they think it’s happening….only to find out Aunt Cecelia and Mr. Majors are just in someone else’s wedding. So, their parents and Aunt Cecelia laugh at them. Jessi’s too embarrassed to tell the BSC that she was wrong about the wedding, so she and Becca try to create a romantic dinner to get Cecelia and Mr. Majors to really fall in love. Then Aunt Cecelia and Mr. Majors laugh at them some more.

High/Lowlights

  • Jessi tells us she has an office themed kid-kit. I kind of remember a book where she first added the office stuff. Maybe the one with the family that was racist? I think she tried to enhance the kid-kit to impress them.
  • Do kids normally know authors of books? Becca’s telling Jessi about a book and she says how “Amy Schwartz wrote it and drew the pictures.” I guess AMM was trying to give real writers some shout outs?
  • Speaking of shout outs to real books, they also talk about Freckle Juice. I remember that book vividly; I think I read it multiple times (although I’m not sure why).
  • Stacey outfit: “An over-sized black sweater and a metallic gold T-shirt underneath. With her huge blue eyes and naturally dark lashes, and the shoulder length blonde hair that she keeps perfectly cut, she looked just like a model.” How do they always know what the other girls have on UNDER their outer layer of clothes? If it was a button down or something, they’d probably say so.
  • Claudia outfit: “She doesn’t often wear jeans, but she was wearing them today – only she’d cut patterns in the legs…and was wearing leopard tights underneath so that they showed through. She was wearing her black Doc Martens with yellow shoelaces…and she was wearing a black and yellow striped flannel shirt.” I wonder if Claudia ever got in trouble at school for some of her outfits. Don’t they have a dress code? It’s not that I think the clothes are offensive/revealing (just ugly), but I would think a middle school would have limits.
  • There’s some nice foreshadowing in this book. Several times, Stacey calls someone to cover her sitting jobs at the last minute, and she doesn’t show up to a meeting. We don’t find out why, but we will in the next book.
  • How exactly do you sled down stairs with a mattress? Especially a crib mattress, which is what Danielle and her friends were using.
  • When the BSC thinks Aunt Cecelia’s getting married, they talk about getting her a gift. How many teenagers are that generous? They barely know Aunt Cecelia. I think they just like the idea of getting someone a wedding gift, because it sounds romantic.
  • Jessi and Becca actually look in a store for a tux for Squirt. Because, if Aunt Cecelia were really getting married, they would be responsible for how the child dresses?
  • When Jessi’s telling the BSC what happened with Danielle, Claudia’s surprised to hear that Mrs. Roberts owns roller blades. So, Kristy’s all, “I thought you said you read the club notebook!” Then, of course, Claudia said she must have missed that part. It cracked me up. I think that Claudia skimming the notebook, or not even reading it, is a lot more realistic than all the girls reading it just because Kristy says to.
  • I feel old, because when I was a kid, I agreed with Claudia that it’s cool that Mrs. Roberts has roller blades. However, now, I’m almost insulted at the suggestion that it’s surprising for a mother to own a pair.
  • I really am glad the second Danielle book was still a Jessi-themed one. I hated when they gave a character a special relationship with a kid, then changed it to a different narrator in a follow up book. Derek Masters is the best example of this.
  • I’m trying to decide if it’s in character for Charlotte, Becca, Haley, and Vanessa to jump in a car with Danielle. I’m not sure why, but I can see Vanessa and Haley doing something “wild.” Charlotte and Becca seem like goody-goodies though (and I don’t mean that in a bad way).
  • After Kristy calls Mrs. Roberts, she tells the other girls that Mrs. Roberts dismissed their fears and said Danielle just has to let her high spirits die down. And Jessi’s all, “no, it’s more than that! Maybe I should call her back!” Because there’s no chance that a child’s parents actually know their kid best.
  • After the car accident, people keep telling Jessi how “responsible” she was. But, she didn’t really do anything. The neighbor calls 911 and Danielle’s parents. Then he calls the other girls’ parents (though Jessi does give them the phone numbers). All she really does is ride with Vanessa in the ambulance, but Mrs. Pike gets to the hospital right after they do, so Jessi doesn’t need to do anything. Granted, in real life, I’m not sure what an eleven-year-old would be expected to do, but this isn’t real life, it’s the BSC.
  • Haley calls Danielle a kangaroo, because great ideas just pop out of her head (like a kangaroo jumps, I guess). I’m not sure Danielle’s ideas were actually “great” but I’m now picturing her as the next Kristy.
  • I’m wondering if there’s hidden meaning in Stacey smoothing out the friendship mess, when her next book centers on a falling out with her friends.
  • Do you think these girls have all their clients numbers memorized?
  • So, we end on one last “idea” of Danielle’s, and that is to go trick-or-treating with her friends. This is an original idea, because it’s the middle of winter. It’s a cute idea, but do they really expect to get candy from anyone other than Claudia?

11 comments:

Kait said...

How old is Becca, like 8 or 9? If she's in the third or fourth grade, I think she'd know authors. Teachers tend to do "units" on particular books or authors, so it's possible they read a bunch of her books at school

Alison said...

9-year-old me would have rather hung out with Danielle than most of the kids in BSCland. I think AMM failed at making her sound dangerous and wild. Nope. Just sounds awesome. And more normal than most of the kids there.

Sewing Pixie said...

I actually had jeans like that in Middle school and that wasn't too long ago, only I didn't cut the designs out, Wal Mart Did.

Anonymous said...

Re: So, we end on one last “idea” of Danielle’s, and that is to go trick-or-treating with her friends. This is an original idea, because it’s the middle of winter. It’s a cute idea, but do they really expect to get candy from anyone other than Claudia?

LOL! I never thought of it that way! But of course in BSC Land, everyone probably has a bowl of candy waiting at the door for them!

coulrophobic agnostic said...

I wanted to slap Vanessa for her shrieking and histrionics at Danielle afterward - she didn't force you into the car at gunpoint, the car was supposedly going at a crawl, and if you'd had your seatbelt on you wouldn't have hit your head on the windshield. Little bitch.

Meanwhile, perfectly healthy kids I knew did the stair-sledding thing (with an actual sled. I tried it once, nearly brained myself on the pool table and decided against going again) and their parents (who admittedly did as little parenting as humanly possible and had monsters for kids as a result) were like yeah, we know, just let them go. Rollerblading in the house? How is THAT a big deal? Hasn't everyone skated indoors at least once? Aside from driving the car, it all sounded like normal unsupervised kid behavior. Maybe if the sitters had watched Danielle instead of figuring a bunch of eight year olds needed privacy and ignored them, she wouldn't have flooded the bathroom, either.

I'd be more annoyed by my kid going trick-or-treating in the middle of winter than any of the above (except the car thing). Yeah, be weird all you want at home but don't bother the neighbors.

Danielle said...

I never really read this one. (I think I always felt weird becuase I had the same name as her-strange, yes)

I think I always knew who the authors of the books I read were, but I was kind of a bookworm back then, so :D

mealibris said...

Stacey's oversized sweater was probably some off the shoulder monstrosity, hence the visible gold lame t-shirt.

We used to sled down stairs all the time, usually on cardboard boxes, though. If the stairs were carpeted, and the crib mattress one of those plasticized ones that were used in the 80s, I can see it working.

Anonymous said...

How exactly do you sled down stairs with a mattress? Especially a crib mattress, which is what Danielle and her friends were using.

My sister and I used to "sled" down the stairs in laundry baskets. I suppose it would work with a mattress, in fact I think I remember a movie where this happens.

Bene said...

In the Princess Diaries movie 2 they go "sledding", with some mattresses

Stephie said...

*I'm now picturing her as the next Kristy*

In some ways, I really wish AMM hadn't made Stoneybrook in a crazy time-warp & had instead allowed everyone to grow up & had Vanessa, Danielle, et al take over. Danielle would probably be president...until Karen organized a mutiny, of course!

*Melanie Raye* said...

I've sledded down stairs on a mattress before- it's heaps of fun!