“We aren’t like that rich crowd”, or Rosy Cole’s Great American Guilt Club

Again, I can’t find a cover image of this book online. Sorry

Before anyone comes down on me for not remembering what it’s like to be a kid and not quite fit in, let me assure you that I couldn’t stand Rosy Cole when I first read this book when I was ten. Even back then I recognized what an ungrateful little twat she was. That she learns her lesson at the end makes no difference to me.

I’m not sure how old Rosy is in this book, I’d say around twelve. Rosy lives with her parents, two sisters (the awesomely monikered Anitra and Pippa) in Manhattan. She goes to an exclusive all-girls private school, so she isn’t really wanting for anything. Except that there are super rich girls at her school who have country homes, go skiing and who wear the latest name brand clothing, Pineapple shirts, Cippy Jeans and Candy-loo shoes. Rosy wears Anitra and Pippa’s hand me downs, which are no-label jeans and out of date Apple shirts.

What’s a gal to do? Why, lie about having a country home and bully your parents into buying you new clothes. Doing this gets Rosy into the rich crowd, and invited to Natalie Pringle’s country home for the weekend. Rosy’s lack of skiing skills give away her shameful middle-class secret. Natalie gives Rosy a crap ton of her clothes.

This gives Rosy an idea. She and her bestie Hermione start the Great American Guilt Club, where rich girls assuage their guilt over having too much by giving nice clothes to the pathetic middle class girls. Then Fox News called her a socialist. Actually, Natalie’s mother came by with clothes for Rosy and condescendingly told Mrs. Cole that there’s no shame in being poor. Rosy was grounded and her allowance was suspended, and no big gifts for Christmas.

So Christmas comes and Rosy gets a dictionary, a poster and some shoelaces, and she thinks she is the only person on Christmas morning who still has nothing. Everyone complimenting her on her fantastic homemade gifts did nothing to lift her spirits. So Rosy decides to hold the Guilt Club meeting anyway, though her parents had forbidden it.

Wackiness ensues when all the rich girls love Rosy’s cozy apartment and would much rather take Rosy’s hand me downs, which are so much more comfortable than the latest fashions. Rosy looks around her room and realizes she has so much, and keeps her stuff and decides she’s happy with herself. Yawn.

  • At one point, one of the rich girls tells Rosy it’s no more her own fault that she comes from money than it is Rosy’s fault that she doesn’t.
  • That being said, I’m not convinced Rosy doesn’t come from money.  She lives in a three or four bedroom apartment in Manhattan and she and her two sisters attend a private all-girls school, the likes of which are also attended by children who have butlers and country homes.  So it’s really a rich girl complaining that she isn’t as rich as others.
  • Whatever, much like the Simpsons, I grew up in an upper-lower-middle class family, so it’s hard for me to sympathize with Rosy.  I wore hand-me-downs and am still always happy to take my sister’s cast-offs.  (Hi Carrie! Send clothes!) She has better taste in clothes than I do and it’s the only way I get out of jeans and t-shirts.
  • The rich girls all have common and fairly boring names.  Natalie, Chisti, Jenny.  The less rich girls have cool names.  Rosamund, Anitra, Pippa and Hermione.  This was the first time I’d ever read the name Hermione, and I initially thought it was pronounced Her-me-own. My mom corrected me.  Then I never heard the name again, until a little over ten years ago when I started reading the Harry Potter series.
  • This book is bland, but it was named Parents Choice Award for Literature by Publishers Weekly.  Which leads me to believe that parents believe children need to be beaten over the head with a message.  Because the messages of liking yourself for who you are and not coveting material goods were way more blatant than subtle.
  • The best thing about the book is the illustrations.  And like I’ve said before, if I had a working scanner, you could see them.  But I don’t, so you can’t.
  • I read this book in about fifteen minutes.  It’s only 85 pages with pictures.  Plus I can speed read.  It’s still fifteen minutes I’ll never get back, though I did read it while breast feeding.  So I only missed out on fifteen minutes of my Joss-a-thon, wherein I take turns watching Buffy, Angel and Firefly.  So.

About nikkihb

Wife. Mother. Reader. Blogger.
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6 Responses to “We aren’t like that rich crowd”, or Rosy Cole’s Great American Guilt Club

  1. Casey says:

    When I first read Harry Potter, I thought Hermione was pronounced “Her-me-own,” too!!! I said it that way for two years, until the first movie came out.

  2. Alana says:

    LOL, I agree about Rosy- I never read this one growing up, but I remember another one called Rosy Valentine, where the dumb girl’s big problem is that she needs to throw a sophisticated Valentine’s Day party so the other girls will let her into some club where all their names end in I or something. Naturally, it involves more lying , awkward mishaps, etc. Thank you for sacrificing 15 precious minutes of your life so I could read this recap instead of the book itself.

    P.S. I totally thought it was pronounced Her-me-own, too- it wasn’t until I saw the first Harry Potter movie that I figured it out, at age 22. : (

    P.P.S. Between this book review and the royal wedding last week, kind of want to name my daughter Pippa. I need an intervention!

  3. Vanessa says:

    Growing up as a poor kid in the projects, I never understood how the Simpsons or the Bundy’s were poor. They house a house! With a second floor! And a dishwasher. I guess the one good thing about my grade school experience was that everyone’s parents were equally broke.

  4. Molly says:

    Okay, this is pretty much my life – I lived in Manhattan and went to private schools. But a friend of mine, who grew up poor, once said to me “if it wasn’t for the horse and the country house, I would have no idea you were rich.” (The horse was less of an indulgence and more of a beloved family pet. I brought up the idea of selling him on a few occasions when we could’ve used the money and my parents wouldn’t hear of it. I don’t blame them; he was adorable.) And, like, *I* had no idea we had money when I was around Rosy’s age because we didn’t fit the stereotype of how “rich” people lived and acted. (Again, when my parents bought a country house and a pony, it became a little more apparent.) So I feel like I should really connect with her character, but she just comes off like a little brat. A really shameless brat – I can’t imagine soliciting my friends for stuff. I also can’t believe it didn’t get her endlessly mocked and tormented.

  5. Michelle says:

    This book sounds hilarious. I would have been DEAD if I tried any of that 😀

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