Saturday, November 1, 2014

“But it’s so uncomfortable being with her”……California Diaries # 11: Dawn Diary Three

Dawn’s kind of bored with how things are going in her life, and is missing being close with Sunny.  But she’s still pissed at Sunny for how she’s handling her mom’s cancer.  Because Dawn is super-judgmental and insensitive. Mrs. Winslow’s in and out of the hospital throughout the book and doing pretty badly.  Dawn keeps visiting her and is understandably upset at how she looks. 

There’s an upcoming concert for some band called Jax, and Dawn’s completely obsessed with the lead singer Pierre X.  She and Amalia try and get tickets, even though the concert’s going to be at 11:00 at night at some club and Dawn doesn’t know if she’ll be allowed to go.  However, they don’t get tickets because the group is the hot new thing and the concert sells out.  Dawn’s upset, but it turns out Ducky was able to get 4 tickets.  He wants to take Dawn, Amalia, and Sunny.  Dawn’s thrilled until she realizes she’ll be spending the evening with Sunny.  She tries to get Ducky to un-invite Sunny or find her another ride.  But Ducky just tells her to get over it and make up with Sunny already.  Thank you Ducky.

Dawn does try to talk to Sunny, but Sunny’s kind of a bitch about it and won’t talk to her.  We finds out that Mrs. Winslow has decided to stop getting chemo, since it’s not helping.  Dawn tries to talk to Sunny again after this, but Sunny says she doesn't want to talk about it.  Carol tells Dawn that Sunny’s handling her mom’s cancer in her own way and Dawn shouldn’t judge.  Carol also thinks that Sunny is pushing people away because she doesn't want to feel the pain of losing them the way she’s losing her mother.

Dawn needs to beg her dad and Carol to let her go to the concert.  They’re understandably nervous about Ducky driving them so late at night and worried there may be alcohol around at the concert.  But they agree to let her go.  Once they get to the concert, they run into a friend of Ducky’s brother who offers to get them drinks.  Sunny jumps at the chance for this, but the others just ask for sodas/seltzer.  The friend insists on getting Ducky a real drink though, and then later gets them several rounds of shots.  So, after the concert Ducky’s still a little drunk and also claims to be tired from dancing too much.  Dawn gets him to admit he isn’t up to driving, then she calls her dad to come pick them up.  However, Sunny refuses to be picked up and lectured at and decides to take the bus.  She wants Amalia and Ducky to go with her, but they don’t want to leave Dawn alone while she waits for Mr. Schafer.   In the end, Amalia goes with Sunny on the bus and Ducky goes home with Dawn.  Sunny’s super pissed at both of them.

Later, Mrs. Winslow comes home from the hospital for the last time.  They’re going to get around the clock nursing care to help make her feel comfortable at home.  So, it’s basically a matter of waiting for her to die.  Which sucks, obviously.  Dawn and the others decide to be there for Sunny despite her recent behavior, but can’t find her at school.  Later, Dawn sees Sunny in her yard.  They talk and pretty much make up.  The next book’s Sunny’s, so I assume this is when Mrs. Winslow will die.

  • In this book Sunny lives next door to Dawn, but I’m pretty sure in the past she lived several houses down the street. It seems to be for plot convenience, so they can have them interact more despite the fight.
  • I know people dislike Dawn, but I was really excited to get to a Dawn book.  Dawn and Sunny drama is way more interesting than any of the other characters.
  • When Dawn kisses Mrs. Winslow good-bye, she says a tiny part of her always wonders if she can catch cancer (even though she knows she can’t).  It sounds silly,  but I thought the same thing when I was seven and my friend’s brother had leukemia.  But, you know, seven is a lot younger than 13.
  • While Ducky’s visiting Dawn, Carol starts to breastfeed Gracie in front of them.  And Dawn says how Ducky didn’t bat an eye or even look.  I think this confirms some things that have been said about Ducky.
  • Carol’s telling Dawn how she shouldn’t judge Sunny because she isn’t in the same situation as her.  And Dawn’s says she’s in the same situation because she cares about Mrs. Winslow too. But Carol’s all, no.
  • The book starts on Groundhog Day, and Dawn wonders in her journal why seeing a shadow means a longer winter, since seeing a shadow means it’s sunny.  I’ve always wondered that myself.
  • Sunny makes fun of Dawn, because Mr. Schafer insisted on talking to Ducky about the concert and made Dawn call him when they get to the club and when they were leaving at the end of the night.  But this seems pretty reasonable for a parent of a 13-year-old.
  • Ducky’s angsting about whether tried to Alex kill himself because he wasn’t a good enough friend, and Dawn tells him he’s being self-centered.  Which is actually pretty decent advice and one of the better things Dawn does in the book. Alex clearly had much deeper issues.  It also makes Ducky laugh.
  • When Carol gives Dawn the advice about Sunny trying to push people away, Dawn says “she needs a shrink.” I can’t tell if she means that nicely or not, but I thought it was funny that Carol’s response was that Sunny probably should see a therapist.  Way to state the obvious.
  • Dawn mentions how if she was in Stoneybrook she’d be busier because she has more close friends.  But it was her choice to move, so she should stop bitching about that.
  • Dawn and Maggie go to some square to go shopping, and go to a tea shop to eat.  Dawn says you can get a lot of things other than tea there and she doesn’t just mean food.  My first reaction was that she meant some kind of drugs, because I can’t figure out what else that could mean.
  • Dawn also says she considers dying her hair black.  That seems out of character for her.
  • Maggie had never heard of the band before Dawn brought up the concert, so don’t feel bad that Ducky didn’t invite her to the concert (even though Ducky did feel bad).  He could only get four tickets though.  However, if Maggie’s so into music I think she would have heard of the new popular band everyone loved.  She might not like them, but she would have heard of them.  Even Jeff had heard of them and thought Dawn was lucky to be going.
  • This singer, Pierre X, plays a song about a guy who cheats on his girlfriend because he’s in love with two people.  And by the time he realizes he loves the first one more, she finds out about the cheating and ends it.  Dawn’s reaction to this is that she wouldn’t have broken up with him.  What happened to her independent feminist side?
  • Dawn tells her dad Ducky can’t drive them home because he’s so “tired.”  Mr. Schafer’s not an idiot though, he knows Ducky was drinking and lectures him on it.  He even brings a bucket in the car in case Ducky gets sick.
  • It’s really kind of uncool of Ducky to get trashed when he’s with three other people who can’t drive and are dependent on him to get back to town. 
  • Dawn has lots of really lame fantasies about this Pierre X dude.  They involve buying produce, drinking coffee, and “going steady.”
  • When Dawn finds out about Mrs. Winslow at the end, she says she never thought she would actually die, even after she stopped chemo.  Which, really? Talk about denial.


Mouse said...

Oh, you're about to get to Sunny, Diary Three, the best book in the series. Gets me misty-eyed every time I read it. I've made it my mission in life to promote that book. The fact that the California Diaries only got fifteen books whereas Karen Brewer got over a hundred is proof that God has a cruel sense of humor.

Allison said...

As always, I love your blog. Thank you for this. I really wish I would have tried to get all of the California Diaries books. But I appreciate your recaps. Looking forward to the recap on Sunny's next book even though it will probably make me cry like a baby.

Anonymous said...

Denial probably, that one I can't blame Dawn too much for but when both of my grandmothers were dying of cancer I totally believed all the way to the last moment they would both lived. Even the one that came two years later after the first experience I completely believed they would each recover.
I wouldn't call myself being in denial until my second grandmother died of cancer I had always thought death was something that happened when you were really, really old, unable to walk and talk. (I was seven and nine respectively), both of my grandmothers were so young and active it, it never would have computed that they wouldn't recover. Dawn's probably never really dealt with death before. Sure she knows Mary Anne's mother died but she never actually knew her. Its different when its someone you actually know and who is so young.

Anonymous said...

"Dawn and Maggie go to some square to go shopping, and go to a tea shop to eat. Dawn says you can get a lot of things other than tea there and she doesn’t just mean food. My first reaction was that she meant some kind of drugs, because I can’t figure out what else that could mean."

Funnily enough, "tea" is old slang for marijuana. I'd guess Dawn didn't actually mean you could get drugs there, but I can't figure out what else should could've meant either. Maybe the store sells mugs and t-shirts?

I think it's kind of weird of Carol to just like whip out her boobs to breastfeed while some teenage boy she barely knows is in the same room, even if he is gay. And on the subject of he "he doesn't even bat an eye" at the breastfeeding so that implies he's straight, frankly I think that's weird. If I was out somewhere and I saw someone was breastfeeding, I wouldn't stare, but I'd do that thing where you deliberately avoid looking in the area the person is, and I'm a straight woman. I don't think breast-feeding in public is necessarily bad, it's just awkward seeing someone else's boobs when you're at their house or at a restaurant or something.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, Dawn's so irritating here. I hate it when she 'sweetly' says something to Sunny about how her dad's too busy with her dying mom to care about her. Way to take a cheap shot. (I guess she learned from Mary Anne, who likes to greet bickering over who'll sit for who with: 'You look fat, and no man will ever love you!')
And it annoys me that both she and Sunny end up apologising to Ducky when he's the one who was drinking, and that he then whines 'Why did you make me drink?' You're the driver, here, with 3 years on the girls, take some damn responsibility. I get that they sketch him as a pushover, but I think that's going all the way into just playing the victim.

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