Sunday, April 13, 2014

“She said maybe I hadn’t worried enough”………California Diaries # 3: Maggie

I apologize for the delay in posting this.  I normal get annoyed when bloggers post about how their life is just way to busy to update their site, but.....I have just been way to busy to update this site.  I've been working 14-16 hour days at work (including weekends), and have had limited time for any recreational reading/writing.
Maggie has kind of this cliché backstory, about how she has this rich/famous movie producer father and gets good grades, and everyone’s jealous of her.  But in reality she’s super insecure and her home life is kind of messed up.  Her father is a bit controlling and has very high expectations for her.  He has a movie coming out soon and is super busy getting ready for that.  The early feedback on the movie is that it sucks, so this is making him more stressed than usual.  Mrs. Blume deals with stress by drinking, which doesn’t really improve things from Maggie’s perspective.
Maggie’s hanging out with Amalia and some friends of hers and they go to watch this band some other friends of theirs formed.  Amalia keeps telling Maggie to audition as the band’s back-up singer, but Maggie refuses.  But eventually she does, and the band thinks she’s great and they make her the lead singer.  Maggie’s father thinks this is an awful activity and tells her not to do it, but she ignores him.  The band, Vanquish, is competing in a battle of the bands contest, and Maggie realizes this is the same night as the premiere for her dad’s new movie, which she’s supposed to go to.  She asks her dad if she can go to the band thing, then get to the premiere late – missing the screening, but showing up for the party.  Her dad refuses.  So, Maggie comes up with this ridiculous sitcom-y plan where she’ll go to the premiere, but get “separated” from her parents so they think she’s sitting with friends.  Then Ducky will drive her to the battle of the bands, then back to the premiere before anyone notices.   
The plan goes okay at first, and she makes it to the competition.  They perform, get second place, and a cute guy seems into Maggie.  Then Ducky takes her back to the premiere, but she’s late enough that her parents knew she was missing.  Her little brother had seen Maggie leave, so he told their parents before they called the cops thinking something awful happened.  Mr. and Mrs. Blume told everyone else Maggie was at some classical piano thing to cover, but were super pissed at her.  She plans to continue in the band though.
  • The best thing about this book was that Maggie keeps her “journal” on her computer, so it’s actually in a typed font instead of the stupid “handwriting” font that the other ones have been in.
  • The worst thing about the book’s that in addition to the journal pages, Maggie writes poetry and we have to read all the poems.  Or skim through them to get back to the actual plot.
  • I guess I never thought about this, but Maggie has the same last name as Grace Blume from the original BSC series.  I remember they also had a character named Erik DeWitt in both California and Stoneybrook, is it that hard to come up with original names?
  • Maggie’s one of those annoying people who’s constantly talking about how they did awful on a test and must have flunked, only to turn around and get a 95 – 100.   She also thinks she’s an awful singer, even after everyone who hears her says how amazing she is.
  • Sunny’s convinced that Maggie likes Justin, this guy who had checked her out back in the first California Diaries book.  Maggie keeps insisting she’s not into the guy and that he’s way too old for her.  But she finally admits to herself that she does like him and he seems a bit interested in her.
  • Maggie’s poems actually evolve into songs, and of course the band loves them and end up using one in the competition.
  • Maggie does complain a lot about how annoying Sunny is in this book, which is a lot of fun, because Sunny’s freaking annoying.
  • For instance, Sunny reads an article in Variety about Maggie’s dad casting a new movie, brings it to school, and reads the description, going on and on about how this Justin guy is perfect for the part.  The description is for a super good-looking teen that looks like a young Pierce Bronson with Harrison Ford’s swagger.
  • Sunny also tells Maggie how asking Justin to come over to meet her movie-producer father’s a much better line than asking him to come over to meet her dying-of-cancer mother.  Which is true, but throwing her mom’s illness in people’s faces is kind of low.
  • Maggie’s also one of those annoying people who gets mad at herself when she makes a stupid mistake on a math test and gets a 94.  But I can’t really criticize her too much because I was like that in school too.
  • Interesting thing…..Maggie says how she isn’t actually in high school, she’s just in the high school building.  Which was how I originally thought it should be described, but Dawn and Sunny seemed to like claiming they were high schoolers.
  • I don’t think I knew that Maggie had a little brother, but she does…Zeke, an 11-year-old.  He plays this trick on his mom by pretending to be floating dead in the pool, and she freaks out about it.  Which, I can understand, cause that’s kind of awful.
  • The Blume family housekeeper, Pilar, quits, because Maggie’s mom’s a bitch to her.  Mrs. Blume’s yelling at her for not watching Zeke more, and Pilar says he’s not a little kid who needs to be watched every second.  She also says she needs to keep up her energy for acting lessons (which is kind of an obnoxious thing to say to your boss). Mrs. Blume responds by saying she needs money for those acting lessons too, causing Pilar to walk out.  But Pilar does come back later.  Probably cause Mrs. Blume was right, she DOES need money for those lessons.  Not to mention food and shelter and all that.
  • When I hear about a housekeeper named Pilar, all I can think about is the character on Passions.
  • The name of the movie  Mr. Blume’s working on is Fatal Judgement.  It’s an action movie.  We don’t hear many details, but I can still sort of picture a trailer for it in my head.  It looks awful.
  • When Maggie realizes that the battle of the band thing conflicts with her dad’s premiere, she makes a list of pros and cons for whether or not to quit the band.  Pissing off her father appears on both lists.
  • The girls in the BSC were always making pro/con lists too. I don’t think I ever did that.  I mean, I think about pros and cons for things, but I never wrote them all down as a list.
  • Maggie also polls her friends about what to do.  Dawn’s the only one who tells her to choose her dad and quit the band.  She says it’s about Maggie supporting her family, not about doing whatever her dad wants.  This is the girl who moved away from half of her family because she thought California was a nicer place to live.  But whatever.
  • Maggie gets fashion advice from Sunny, Ducky, and Dawn, about what to wear for the band’s competition.  Sunny suggests spiking her hair, Ducky suggests cat’s-eye glasses and a neon 50’s dress, and Dawn suggests a barefoot, no makeup, natural look. 
  • Regarding fashion, I always remembered Maggie as dressing kind of punk, but apparently that’s just a phase that she grew out of.  She does chop most of her hair off in this book though. 
  • I have a hard time thinking of the Dawn I know from the BSC books fitting in with Sunny and Maggie, at least the Sunny and Maggie that have been presented in these last two books.  But I guess that’s the point, that they’re both changing and Dawn will do that too.
  • Maggie makes me laugh because early in the book she says how she’ll probably become a veterinarian.  But then she gets caught up in the band thing and starts taking about winning Grammies someday.  But she might also still be a vet.  It seems very 13 of her.
  • Maggie’s dad tells her how he really wanted to write/direct interesting low-budget independent films, but he didn’t work hard enough in film school so he got stuck producing huge blockbusters.  What an unfortunate thing for him.   It must totally suck to be rich and famous.
  • If Mr. Blume’s as powerful as Maggie keeps claiming, he could find time to produce more arty films in between blockbusters.  Also, how did he get so powerful if he wasn’t working as hard as his classmates? Hollywood’s a really hard business to break into.  Producing movies is hardly a consolation prize.
  • Maggie’s insecurities are kind of bugging me by the end, because she’s so successful in pretty much everything she tries to do, yet still doesn’t have her confidence lifted.