"My mom’s crabbier than your mom!" Or, The Great Mom Swap

Hi! It’s Nikki! I’m back! I missed blogging. Did you miss me? I didn’t think so, not with four fabulous guest bloggers to take my place all of November. Many many thanks to That Kind of Girl, The Wordy Ninja, Kristen and Sadako for filling in my shoes while I was busy being an epic failure at Nano. That’s right, I gave up partway through the month. I hated my story, I hated my protagonist, but mostly I hated the prose. I’m going to try again next year, but with an actual outline and research…rather than just pulling random words out of my ass and putting them to paper.

So what’s a girl to do when she’s been off blogging for an entire month? That’s right. She finds the most ridiculous book ever published to read and review. Ladies and gents, I give you The Great Mom Swap by Betsy Haynes (also author of the equally ridiculous Taffy Sinclair Series).

So let me introduce you to the two main character in TGMS. Lorna Markham and Scotti Wheeler are best friends. Lorna is tall but wants to be short and is from Texas. Scotti is a yank living in Texas and she’s short and chubby and wants to be a writer. And that’s it. That is absolutely as far as their personalities are developed. Lorna and Scotti can’t stand their own mothers, but likes the other girls’ mother. And I don’t blame them for hating their moms, because honestly, their moms are cunts. Yeah, I said it. AND I’m adding Ann Markham and Helene Wheeler to the Cunt Log. Check it out in the sidebar.

Here’s the problem with their moms. Lorna’s mom is constantly on Lorna about standing up straight like a “tall proud Texan,” and “maximizing her potential,” like her friend Scotti who already knows she wants to be a writer. Scotti’s mom, the cuntier of the two, is constantly harping on poor Scotti about her weight. Because she’d obviously rather have an anorexic daughter than one who sneaks Snickers Bars a la Claudia Kishi.

So what do the girls do? Why they decide to switch homes for two weeks and live under the other’s roof! And all kinds of wacky hijinks ensure…..OK, not really. It’s mostly pretty bland. Scotti has a crush on Lorna’s older brother and gets all flustered seeing him in a bath towel. Lorna’s mom pushes Scotti to meet with a publisher about a novel she’s been working on (See? A 13 year old girl can do it…but not me!). The Markhams constantly talk about Texas. Scotti’s mom makes a lot of health food that Lorna doesn’t like and Lorna understands why Scotti sneaks candy bars so much. Also, Scotti’s mom tells Lorna that all the healthy food will help her grow, which freaks out bean pole Lorna. Scotti’s dad is an airline pilot and her mom is a flight attendant. They end up flying the Hawaii route and take Lorna with them.

Both girls end up jealous of the other. Lorna because her mom is being all supportive of Scotti’s writing ambitions and takes her to meet with a “real live New York City publisher!” Scotti is jealous because Lorna goes to Hawaii for a couple nights with her parents. They end up moving back in to their own houses just one week in to the two week experiment. Quitters. I’ve never quit anything in my whole life. (wait……)

  • The Texas thing is out of fucking control in this book. Listen, I have nothing against Texas. I love my own state of Maryland and am quite proud of it (we put Old Bay on everything, bitches!) But no one loves their state that fucking much. Lorna’s room is decorated in a Texas theme. Mrs. Markham makes cookies in the shape of Texas. When Lorna is trying to convince her parents that she wants to swap houses with Scotti, she says it’ll be practice when she wants to be a foreign exchange student, to which Lorna’s dad is like “why would you want to leave Texas? I thought you loved Texas, why do you ever need to go anywhere else?” Not to mention the ridiculous TX stereotypes. Mrs. Markham calls everyone darlin’, Lorna’s dad and brother wear cowboy hats, they have cattle horns mounted by the front door, they eat grits. Lorna’s dad is named Coy, natch. And her mom is named Ann, but she pronounces it A-yan.
  • The dialogue is just beyond terrible in this book. Lorna’s mom says this at one point when she’s lecturing Lorna about slouching, she says this to her: “In my job with Office Temps, I can’t help but notice the younger women making their way up the corporate ladder and taking advantage of opportunities that were never available to me. All you have to do is maximize your potential. Just look at your best friend. Scotti maximizes her potential. She wants to be a writer and she has already had an article published in the local newspaper. Above all, be anything you want to be.” The whole book is like that, too. With this dialogue that is stiff and terrible and completely unrealistic.
  • Scotti’s mom agrees to the girls swapping homes because everyone is so thin at Lorna’s house and maybe that would be a good influence for Scotti. Jesus Christ.
  • The “kooky” health food that Scotti’s mom makes for Lorna? Vegetable lasagna. How fucking kooky can you be, Mrs. Wheeler? Seriously, Lasagna made with slices of squash instead of noodles sounds good to me!
  • So when Scotti’s mom tells Lorna that all the healthy food will make them grow, Lorna goes overboard trying to sneak junk into her diet. Going so far as to drink instant coffee everyday. And I was waiting to read about some kind of caffeine high, but it never came. Also, these girls are going to start high school in mere weeks. Haven’t they ever taken a fucking health class?
  • Not to mention that Scotti’s mom doesn’t seem to know dick about nutrition. Burgers are not perfectly good for you. And it is healthy to eat small snacks between meals.
  • So Scotti goes to Dallas to meet with this publisher who is interviewing potential authors, but it’s really a self-publishing scam. The publisher doesn’t read Scotti’s novel (about a girl in the 1700’s who has to escape her evil mom, naturally) and says to have her parents write them a $5,000 check. Mrs. Markham can’t believe her ears! But what did she think? She found out about the whole thing in a newspaper ad and it just screamed scam to me.
  • Lorna meets a Hawaiian hunk when she’s there with the Wheeler parents. And because a boy noticed her, she’s suddenly proud to be tall. Yay feminism!
  • I normally hate when girls have boys names (I’m looking at you parents who named their daughters Riley or Addison!), but I must admit Scotti is kinda cute and spunky. I also kind of liked Davey from Tiger Eyes. (Also, remember there was briefly a girl-Mythbuster named Scotti? I’m glad she’s gone, because the adorable Grant Imahara took her place.)

Who did Besty Haynes have to blow in order to get published? To get the foul taste of this book out of my head, next week I’m going to recap one of my all-time favorite books, Ramona and her Father. In my opinion, the best of the Ramona books.

Before I sign off here, I have two recommendations that came up in the last month. If anyone is interested:

1- Blue. My favorite BSC Fanfic. I know I’ve recommended it before (and I will likely recommend it in the future), but it hadn’t been updated in two years. Then a couple weeks ago, I was beyond thrilled to see that Mizzmarvel added chapter thirteen! If you haven’t read it, and you are even marginally interested in the BSC, definitely check this slashy story out. It’s the cream of the crop of Byron/Jeff.
2-Nostomanic – a great new nostalgia blog written by the very clever Amber. She looks back on things with an odd angle, for example, she doesn’t review Don’t Tell Mom, the Babysitter’s Dead, but she does pick apart the DVD cover art for that movie. She doesn’t review Four Weddings and a Funeral, but she does write an essay debating whether or not Hugh Grant is a douche. She also intersperses reviews with some of her own personal nostalgia. Great blog, I hope she keeps it up and I hope everyone here checks her out.

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About nikkihb

Wife. Mother. Reader. Blogger.
This entry was posted in Betsy Haynes, really awful books. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to "My mom’s crabbier than your mom!" Or, The Great Mom Swap

  1. Lenora says:

    The Texas thing may not be that much of an exaggeration. At my university in GA, they were the only state to have their own student group, complete with shirts and meetings. And while I can't vouch for Texans specifically eating grits, I've spent my entire 24 year life in the South, and that's a standard breakfast side. Other meals, too, depending on what part of the South you're in (see shrimp and grits as part of Lowcountry cuisine, etc.).

  2. weirdwriter says:

    I have fond memories of this book. I don't remember much of it, honestly, but I always kinda wanted to find it again and reread it. Now I'm not so sure. (I also have fond memories of Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush, which may say something about me.)

  3. Michelle says:

    Oh my, this book sounds awful XD Glad to see you're back, Nikki!

  4. Sadako says:

    Sorry NaNo didn't work out, and I, too, am really glad that you're back.Those moms sound so awful. I don't think either of those girls got a good deal. This book is so reminding me of Wife Swap.

  5. Caroline says:

    Yes! Sadako I'd never read this book but it sounded vaguely familiar, and it's because of Wife Swap. Sorry to hear about your NaNoNovel, mine met a similar fate – somewhere around the middle of November I decided that I just didn't have the desire to write a crappy novel just for the experience of writing a crappy novel. I think I'll wait until I have some kind of idea next time.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yes, it is an exaggeration. I've lived in Texas all my life and never known anyone to act like that. I think this was made into a tv movie years ago with Valerie Harper as one of the moms. Never read the book though.

  7. nikki says:

    Lenora – I always considered grits a part of the deep south, but not necessarily Texas cuisine. I've never seen a group of people (southerners) get so excited over a food so bland. Grits aren't bad, they're just bland. And would probably be made better with a little Old Bay. Weirdwriter-I may not have explained myself very well about Who Put That Hair in my Toothbrush. It was OK, not good but not dreck either. I just have extremely high expectations when it comes to Jerry Spinelli. Yes! Wife Swap! My husband made the same comment to me!

  8. ali says:

    Ugh, this book sounds horrific! Although I admit to enjoying a little Taffy Sinclair back in the day. Looking forward to Ramona and Her Father. Awesome book!

  9. Alyson says:

    (we put Old Bay on everything, bitches!)Haha. We totally do! Because it's AWESOME.

  10. As a former Northerner now living in Texas, I'll give a little merit to their near-obsession with their state. People here take state pride to a new level. I once walked into someone's bathroom to find the entire thing decorated floor to ceiling with TX flag shower curtains, toilet seat covers, toothbrush holders, etc. On the other hand, they don't yap about it all the time like in this book. The stereotypes may exist in small towns, but in the cities it's not really like that at all. We definitely don't eat grits.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Doesn't Scotti have each wall in her room painted a different color? I think pastel pink/yellow/blue/green? I BEGGED my mother to let me do that in my room, she told me that was the most hideous paint scheme ever. I secretly still think it's kinda cool.

  12. so interesting! i just added you up! anyway..im ayu and here's my bloghttp://voicefromadistantstar.blogspot.com/in case you wanna follow mine..XD

  13. Amber says:

    Hey NikkiJust wanted to say thank you for the shout out…your blog's the coolest.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Yes yes yes! I totally hated this book.

  15. Ramona and Her Father is freakin AWESOME!! And, so is your blog. Yay.

  16. "I normally hate when girls have boys names"Those are my feelings you just stepped on! 😉

  17. hi!!^_^ thanks for dropping by at my blog and i appreciate you like my poem..XD

  18. Jennalee says:

    Wait till you read my stories I LOVE Texas so much. I am obsessed with the damn state. It's gotten to the point where people keep asking me if I am from there. It's hilarious Even my musical selections vary on a huge Texas theme. I'm a nerd for Texas.LOL So yeah that kinda cracks me up the Texas theme ect ect.

  19. Mackenzie says:

    Aw, thanks for the rec. 🙂

  20. Julie says:

    I vaguely remembered reading this, but the part about Scotti's novel helped jog my memory. I thought that was so cool at the time.Also, vegetable lasagna is NOT kooky! I actually like it, and usually I can't stand veggies or health food.

  21. rachierach says:

    No way…the most asinine teen book ever written is, "The Most Embarrassing Mother in the World" by Peter Filicha. You gotta try to find it and snark on it.

  22. nikki says:

    Will do Rachierach…will do!

  23. rachierach says:

    nikki, you won't be sorry…it's THAT awful! Amazon.com is selling used copies for 1 cent. Oy.

  24. Shannon SVH says:

    I have no idea how I've managed to not come across your blog until just now, but I love it!I actually really liked this book when I was a kid, but now I can't for the life of me figure out why.Also, my husband and I just yesterday put Riley on our list of names for potential future daughters. In our defense, every generation on my father's side has at least one male named Riley, so it would totally be a family tradition in our case. Sort of.

  25. Gnatalby says:

    Ooooh I remember that in Scotti's novel the heroine has trouble opening her eyes because her lashes are too long and entertwined and there might be a comparison to spider legs.

  26. Pingback: Good things happen in threes | Are You There Youth? It's Me, Nikki

  27. Krystal says:

    Wait….Addison ISN’T a girl’s name? 0.0 My life is a lie…

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