Monday, June 23, 2014

“I told them I didn’t care”….California Diaries # 6: Sunny Diary Two

I found Sunny a lot more likeable in this book than in her first diary.  Which is weird, because she wasn’t actually doing anything that much differently than before.  Her mom’s still dying and in the hospital. Her dad’s still not handling it well.  Sunny’s still feeling sorry for herself, cutting school, and hanging out with older guys.  Now, she’s also staying at Dawn’s house, which is causing some tension between the two of them.  It annoys Sunny that Dawn has been visiting her mom in the hospital, usually bringing her flowers or various other gifts.  It annoys Dawn that Sunny hasn’t been visiting her mom as much as she could (or as much as Dawn thinks she should). 

But Sunny does spend a lot of time with Carol, who’s now about 6-7 months pregnant.  She rubs her feet for her, she brings her exercise tapes, and just generally talks to her.  I think she just finds it easier to spend time with Carol than her mom, most likely because creating life is less depressing than a life that’s ending.  When Sunny isn’t with Carol though, she’s flirting with various older boys from school.  She lets them take her out, then writes in her journal about how much better each one is at kissing than the last. She doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with going out with all of them at once, but a couple of them are upset when they find out.  Granted in that case she was going out with two people who were friends.  But whatever.  Sunny doesn’t really care that they’re upset.

While shopping with Sunny, Carol faints in the dressing room.  Sunny manages to call for help and keeps Carol calm until the paramedics get there.  Afterwards, everyone keeps telling Sunny how great she was in a crisis.  Carol’s okay, but the doctor tells her she has to be on bed rest for the rest of her pregnancy.  Later, Mrs. Bruen asks Sunny if she can stay with Carol while she runs out to pick of something for Mr. Schafer.  She’s also cooking something that Sunny’s supposed to watch.  But one of Sunny’s dates shows up and starts honking the horn until Sunny goes out to see him.  They start talking, and the next thing Sunny knows the smoke detector’s going off inside.  She runs in and sees that Carol had to get up to check what was going on.  Everything’s fine, but she’s mad at Sunny and everyone else is mad when they come back and hear what happened.

Sunny leaves and is thinking of running away.  But, Ducky convinces her not to, and to go back to the Schafers’ and apologize.  She does, and Carol and Mr. Schafer are pretty decent in response.  But she and Dawn have a huge blow out.  Dawn calls her out on always running away from her problems.  She also says that the reason she’s been visiting Mrs. Winslow so much is because she cares about her and feels close to her, not because she’s trying to make Sunny look bad.  Sunny tells Dawn she’s not being a supportive friend and that she’s never around for Carol, so she shouldn’t talk about what she does with her mom.  Sunny walks out and they don’t make up (although Sunny writes in her journal that they have some interaction at school without fighting).

The book ends there, because these California Diary books aren’t big on closure.

  • Sunny gets kind of snarky in her journal when complaining about Dawn….she makes comments about how Dawn’s life is so perfect she must dream about a world full of flowers and no allergies, animals walking freely on the streets, and people picking berries and vegetables for all their meals.  It’s kind of amusing because I can totally see Dawn dreaming about things like that.
  • Sunny’s grossed out because she sees Carol eating chocolate with tuna fish.  As am I.  I have heard about pregnancy cravings, but do people really eat food combinations that are that weird?
  • I was expecting this book to be a Dawn book, since we cycled through everyone else, and was kind of disappointed to find a Sunny one first.  But I did like this book.  I think they switched the order so we could get Sunny’s side of the fight first.  Sunny would probably come off as much bitchier if we heard some of this from Dawn first.
  • Ha, Sunny’s annoyed that one of her dates brings her home to watch a basketball game with his parents  (on a first date).  So, she starting rooting for the Bulls (as opposed to his team, the Lakers).   As a non-sports fan that can get annoyed by sports talk, that made me laugh.
  • Sunny does come off kind of bitchy when she writes in her journal about Alex.  She’s annoyed that Ducky keeps talking about how worried he is, and she thinks that Alex is just a loser.  Which, is kind of cold.
  • We get a bunch of references to other books in this one.  Aside from Ducky/Alex, Sunny mentions Maggie’s band and how that James guy still bugs Amalia.  I like that, it makes it feel more like a series and less like loosely connected stories like it has in the last couple of books.
  • Sunny jokes to this guy Brock about wanting to go to “Sagebrush Grille” for dinner, then is super-impressed when he actually takes her.  I guess it’s supposed to be some expensive/ritzy place?  It doesn’t exist though, at least not in LA.
  • One of the guy’s Sunny’s with says he just fills up his journal with words like “Peas carrots rabbits pigs oink thunder and lightning.” In high school I had a friend who wrote something like that on a French test (where she was supposed to be writing in French) and the teacher didn’t even notice.  Giving teachers tenure is a really bad idea.
  • I find it interesting that Sunny writes in her journal about how much of a fuss everyone else makes about her “saving” Carol, but in their fight Dawn says Sunny’s the one who keeps talking about it. I think it would be cool if we got the same events told in two different journals, but I don’t think that’s how these books work.
  • Ducky takes Sunny out for dessert to celebrate that he got a job working at Mr. Winsow’s bookstore.   But I thought Sunny wasn’t into dessert?  I guess if she’s going to be all rebellious in other ways, a little junk food makes sense.
  • Sunny gets Ducky a job working at her father’s bookstore.  Then tries to get Alex one when her dad asks her to find an additional person.  Sunny writes a lot more about this, but it’s kind of boring.
  • Sunny tells us that not only is Vista’s policy about these journals that teachers don’t read them….it is that no one’s ever supposed to read them.  I guess that’s supposed to be some hippie free-thinking thing about expressing themselves without restriction?
  • When Sunny’s upset about her mom not doing well, Jeff overhears her talking to the rest of the Schafers and tells her how his friend’s hamster once died.  It was kind of sweet.
  • Sunny tells Dawn how Carol’s glowing from the pregnancy, and Dawn says Carol always glows because of her oily skin.  Ha.  But then she says that of course she likes Carol and no longer resents her.
  • Sunny tells us Ducky’s parents are in Ghana because his dad is a travelling professor.  Thanks, Sunny, I was wondering about that.
  • Sunny has this exchange with one of her boys, Bo, where he asks if her real name is Sunny.  So, she asks if his real name is Bo, but he’s too embarrassed to tell her in front of his friends.  Later he shows up at her house and tells her it’s Beauregard Montfort Rollins.  This is what leads to Sunny not watching Carol.  But my thought was, wouldn’t his friends know his real name? I remember being in school and how teachers would always read people’s names off their attendance list on the first day.  Then some people would tell you how they actually liked to use some nickname.
  • Sunny helping Carol in the store made me think of Dawn’sautobiography when Sunny was helpful when there was a blackout in a department store.  I don’t know if it’s intentional, but it’s good continuity.  The sales clerks at the store are totally clueless about how to call 911, so it was good Sunny was there.
  • Sunny’s writing a journal entry in the car and comments how she hopes she doesn’t get sick from it.  I kind of wish they had made that entry have different shakier handwriting or something.  If they’re going to do this annoying handwriting thing, they need to really own it.
  • In terms of the Sunny vs. Dawn thing, I found Dawn kind of judgmental. I’ve never lost a parent, but I know people who have and know it’s a really difficult thing.  Sunny may not be dealing with it in the best way, but she’s not really doing anything WRONG.   
  • Also, it kind of sucks for Dawn to be all, “I’ll miss your mom too.”  I get that she thinks that, and it’s consistent with how Dawn felt back in her last BSC book.  But. Whatever she feels is nothing like what the loss will be for Sunny, and saying it like that seems kind of insensitive.