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.