“Still playing the part of the good daughter” Or California Diaries #13

Image courtesy of Bookfinder

Maggie sure does hate movie stars.  She thinks they’re shallow and silly and stupid and phony.

This diary starts out on 4/20, which makes me laugh and wonder if ghostwriter Jeanne Betancourt is a closet pothead.  It’s been one month since Mrs. Winslow died and Maggie and friends are sticking with Sunny.  Actually, all five friends are together a lot more in this book, which I like.  That’s one thing I thought had been missing earlier in the series.  Having such a traumatic even like Mrs. Winslow’s death happen, has made it feel like Maggie’s food problems were long ago.  Though throughout the book, she occasionally harps on what she’s eaten, she does chastise herself for it, realizing she needs to stop. Also, she can’t quite decide if she has a thing for Justin still. She overhears in the bathroom that Justin may or may not be dating someone named Nancy.

Maggie’s dad got her and Zeke each a Handy-Palm.  Which was at the cutting edge then (crap now) and Zeke loves it because he loves all things gadgety.  Maggie likes hers, but she’s embarrassed because none of her friends, who aren’t as rich as she is, don’t get the latest and greatest everything.  Maggie’s dad is also harping on her to finish reading a script for his most recent production, Love Conquers All.

Maggie’s friends, but especially Jill (who makes some appearances in this book) are gushing over the fact that Tyler Kendall is supposed to play the lead in Love Conquers All.  Tyler Fucking Kendall!  He’s fifteen and super-dreamy.  Jill is all squealy and annoying about it.  Especially when she learns that Maggie’s dad is hosting a cast party at their house to kick off filming.  And Maggie is not allowed to get out of it.  She does finally read the script, which is a lame rehash of Romeo & Juliet plus She’s All That and a million other romantic teen movies. But she tells her dad it’s good, because she does think it’ll be good box office, and that’s what he really cares about.

Sunny decides Maggie needs the perfect outfit to wear to the party.  So the whole gang goes shopping.  At the first few stores, Maggie can’t find anything she likes, so she suggests going to Rudolph’s, which is a pricey boutique.  Her friends are kind of in awe that Maggie can shop at someplace so expensive, which embarrasses her.  They’re originally treated like dirt by the shop girl at Rudolph’s but once Sunny hints at who Maggie’s dad is, it’s all different and while Maggie is trying on clothes, her friends are allowed to pretty much do whatever.  She finds a nice dress and buys it on account.

When they leave, they see Justin and Nancy k-i-s-s-i-n-g.  Maggie tries to not make it obvious that she saw, but she knows Justin saw her seeing them.  Also it turns out that Amalia and Nancy’s families are friends.  (Because, Nancy’s last name is Mercado.  And Maggie’s therapist who is friends with Amalia’s mom?  Fuentes.  I guess all the Hispanic families in Palo know one another.) Vanish rehearsal is fuck awkward after that.

Time for the cast party!  The director is a rude douchebag, and Maggie hates being paraded around like the Good Daughter.  Dad will tell anyone who listens that she’s a musician.  Maggie meets Tyler Fucking Kendall and does admit he’s handsome.  The lead actress, Felicia Hope, is seventeen and gorgeous.  She seems crazy nice at first, talking to Maggie about school and what not, only to admit that since she’s been home-schooled, she’s using what Maggie says for research for her role.  Later on, she manages a one on one conversation with Tyler, who was raised on a farm in a town called Santa Claus, Indiana.  Which, holy shit, is a real town!Most of its residents live in Christmas Lake Village.  They get an influx of mail to Santa at Christmas time and volunteers (who call themselves Elves)  make sure all the letters get answered.  Holy fuck, I either really really want to live there or want to stay as far away as possible.  Anywhooooo, Tyler misses Santa Claus and his parents and brothers, who stayed there while he moved to LA and lives with his Uncle Manager.  He admits to Maggie that he’s nervous about starting shooting tomorrow, and she rehearses some lines with him. They’re having a good old time until bitchy Felicia shows up and starts acting all movie-star bitchy.

The next day, Maggie goes to the beach with her friends and doesn’t mention Tyler at all.  In fact, she’s sure that he’s just a typical Hollywood brat and she’ll never have to deal with him again.  Until there’s a message from Tyler on her answering machine asking her to come hang out with him on set.  She doesn’t want to seem anxious, so the next day she goes to the animal shelter to volunteer just as she normally would.  Then goes to see Tyler on set the next day.  She still wonders if he actually likes her, or is just sucking up because she’s the producer’s daughter.  Uncle Manager is kind of rude to her, thinking she’s some lame Jill-esque fan until he realizes that she’s Maggie Fucking Blume, then he gets all ass-kissy, which annoys Maggie to no end.

They have a nice conversation and he asks her out of a real, proper date.  Maggie’s dad says it’s fine, that Tyler seems like a nice boy.  But mom lets loose on a long drunken rant about how shallow movie stars are.  Whatever mom, you’re a drunk and Maggie never listens to your ramblings anyway.  So they go out to dinner and have a good time.  But I guess someone tipped off the paparazzi and they are there waiting for Maggie and Tyler to leave.  It scares the shit out of Maggie, but Tyler handles it like a pro.

There they are, in the gossip column the next day. All her friends are squealing over it. Especially Jill, who is just awful in this book.  Maggie nearly cries at what the columnist had to say about her though: “So where was America’s number one teenage heartthrob last night?Not with Felicia Hope.  And not at his swanky L.A. apartment rehearsing for tomorrow’s big shoot of LOVE CONQUERS ALL.  Tyler Kendall was on a date with Maggie Blume, the pretty daughter of the film’s producer, Hayden Blume.  They were seen leaving FISH N’ STUFF at 9:30 last night.  Tyler looked thrilled with his newest catch.  But where does that leave his fabulous costar, Felicia?  Out to sea?  We’ll keep an eye out for Tyler’s next adventure in the sea of luv.”  (I think this may have been written by Staey McGill). These are things Maggie works on in therapy with Dr. Fuentes.

The next week, Maggie visits Tyler again on set.  Maggie’s dad had given the Assistant Director a Vanish tape, and she says she wants Vanish for a scene in the movie.  Having a real teen local band will make it authentic.  Or something.  And Maggie can invite a certain amount of friends to be extras in the scene.  Maggie’s pretty sure it’s just because her dad is the producer.  Whatevs, though.  The band is stoked except for Maggie who’s coming down with epic stage fright.  Also, she asks Jill to be an extra just to be nice but makes Jill promise not to be embarrassing.

They shoot the scene.  Over and over and over again.  All of them realize how friggin boring it is to make a movie.  And they aren’t even sure what parts of that scene, if any, will be included in the final product.  Tyler asks Maggie on another date.  He wants to meet her friends, so they decide to double with Amalia and Brendan.  He wants to do normal teenagery things, so they go bowling.  When they get to the alley, there’s some guy there named Rod who Tyler apparently knows and hangs out with them. It takes Maggie a few minutes to realize he’s a reporter for Teen ‘Zine doing a piece on Tyler and she’s fucking furious.  She has to talk it out in therapy, including the fact that Tyler emailed her and explained that he had no idea, but he couldn’t very well be rude to the dude.  She agrees to give him another chance, so she hosts a pizza party on Friday night.  Just a small party, eight of them in all.

Except the party starts at eight.  And Tyler can’t manage to drag his famous good-looking ass in until ten thirty.  At which point Maggie is even more furious.  He tries to apologize, but she’s had it up to fucking here with his movie-star ego. He tries to explain himself and uses a line from the fucking movie in doing so.  Idiot – she’d read the entire script!  So she ignores him.  A few days later, she’s working at the shelter and he comes in and explains about how his shoot went long.  They make up and kiss. Woooo.  I know you’re as thrilled as I am.

  • When Maggie is reminiscing about Mrs. Winslow, she points out that Mrs. Winslow taught them to make veggie burgers “before anyone had ever heard of them.”  Huh?  I didn’t even grow up in Ann M’s health-conscious California, and yet I can’t remember not having heard of veggie burgers.
  • Maggie writes some truly dreadful poetry about Tyler.
  • Star light, star bright

    The last star I see tonight

    I wish I may, I wish I might

    Forget the star I saw tonight.

    Your light isn’t real

    And neither is the feel

    Of you hand on my shoulder.

    You don’t mean

    What you say.

    They’re lines from a script

    You have to learn

    So you can earn

    a zillion dollars

    Like my dad.

    Star light, star bright

    The last star I see tonight.

    I wish I may, I wish I might

    Forget the star I saw tonight.

  • I call bullshit on the studio hiring fifteen year old Tyler and seventeen year old Felicia to play teenagers in a movie.  You have to hire over-18s for films like this because they have to carry a movie and the studio needs to follow child labor laws for under-18s. It would take forever to shoot that movie on the limited time kids are allowed on set a day. Also, pretty much no one under the age of twenty can act worth a shit.  Well, there are exceptions obviously.  I’m not saying you need to be as egregious with the age casting as say, Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase or Gabrielle Carteris as Andrea Zuckerman.  But you really can’t hire actual teenagers to play movie teenagers.
  • Speaking of child labor laws, I’m pretty sure they were in violation by having fifteen year old Tyler working until 10:30 the night of Maggie’s party.
  • The place Tyler takes Maggie to for dinner is called Fish N’ Stuff.  What stuff?  That’s just a gross name of a restaurant, and all I can think is that he took her to Long John Silver.
  • Oh, and Felicia tipped the press off about Tyler and Maggie’s date.  Because it would make good publicity.  Jesus Felicia, there are PR people to worry about that.
  • Ducky is gay hints: he loves to shop just as much as the girls.  And he loves clothes and brings almost his whole wardrobe to the movie set.
  • In one of the earlier Maggie books, in a rare scene of closeness with her dad, he admitted that he really has always wanted to produce artsy indie movies, but all he has managed to do are the big budget money-makers for the masses.  I wish that story line had been fleshed out a little more.
  • Tyler is an actor, but his real dream is to be a vet.  Riiiight.  That’s why his parents were so willing to let him leave Santa Claus, Indiana (hee!) without them to move to L.A. and chase a secondary dream.  I think Tyler is just trying to impress Maggie.
  • The fifteen – thirteen age difference doesn’t seem quite as bad as the sixteen – thirteen age difference.  Though Tyler is a movie-star fifteen.  Which I think is like twenty in real people age.
  • Dudes.  I can’t get over the fact that there is really a town called Santa Claus, Indiana.  I hope like hell their high school mascot is a reindeer.  Oh!  Or an elf.
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About nikkihb

Wife. Mother. Reader. Blogger.
This entry was posted in Ann M. Martin, California Diaries. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to “Still playing the part of the good daughter” Or California Diaries #13

  1. Wicked Wonder says:

    I never liked Maggie, she always seemed to whine over things that needed no whining over. I came my closest to liking her during this book though. Jill is totes annoying. Mags is a good one for inviting her in the first place.
    BTW, Santa Claus sounds cool, but I’ve never been there. And I live in Indiana!

    • nikkihb says:

      I’m not the biggest Maggie fan. I probably offended a lot of people in one of my posts when I came down kind of hard on Type-A personalities. But really, it’s just annoying.

  2. Steph says:

    Ha, there is absolutely nothing in Santa Claus, Indiana except for touristy stuff like Holiday World. It’s no wonder his would let him leave.

    • nikkihb says:

      Good to know. If I ever find myself Indiana-bound, I’ll only stop by if I’m feeling extra Christmassy. By any chance, do you know their high school mascot?

  3. Mouse says:

    Just reading Nikki’s summary of the book makes me annoyed with Maggie. At least in the previous two Maggie books she had actual problems. This one sounds like her going “Oh poor little rich girl,” sort of thing.

  4. Shawnie says:

    I’m pretty sure Santa Claus is so small that there isn’t a high school within the town- the kids go to Heritage Hills, which is where Jay Cutler went, and their mascot is the Patriot. My cousin lives in Christmas Lake Village, so I can inquire as to whether there’s an elementary school and what their mascot might be.

  5. Kate says:

    Okay, I’m totally freaking out while reading this. I am from Santa Claus, IN (pretty and small and not much to it, but not a farm town). Anyway, what is shocking is that way back in 1998-2000 I worked for the president of the Book Group at Scholastic. I knew the heads of the editorial group, etc. when these books published and I swear they heard about Santa Claus (especially CLV) from me! It’s so weird… (and I guess I just fessed up that I never read them then, but that wasn’t my job). And, no, there’s no elementary school or high school in town–consolidated schools in nearby communities with more of an Abe Lincoln theme (he grew up in the area until he was a teen and moved to Illinois). TMI.

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