By the time Abby Stevenson came along, I was no longer reading BSC books. When my then-boyfriend (now husband) started managing a Walden Books back in the late nineties, I discovered that Dawn, who I’d never really liked all that much, had been usurped by some girl named Abby. What the FUCK???? Even though she wasn’t my favorite, I refused to accept a BSC without Dawn, unless is was numbers one through four.
Fast forward many years and I began re-reading BSC books for this blog, and I committed myself to never reading an Abby book. Then I did read BSC in the USA and I kind of liked the Abby chapters. So I thought about it and decided I’d give Abby a chance. I’m nothing if not fair, right?
Guess what? I was wrong. Abby is one cool cat in my book. One thing I’d noticed on re-reading the series is that all the girls’ books seem to have the same voice, if that makes any sense. Except for a few things added in, about Mary Anne crying, or Claudia belly aching about school or whatever, the books all sounded the same (an amazing feat with a team of ghostwriters.) This book actually sounds different. And I can’t quite put my finger on it. It wasn’t ghostwritten, and Ann M.’s own words are generally a bit better than any of the ghosties, so that may be it. If I ever get a chance, perhaps I’ll read more Abby books and see if this trend continues.
Anyway. Welcome to the BSC, Abby. Abby is a Jewish girl, new to Stoneybrook and is terribly allergic to everything. She also has asthma. But most of all, Abby is funny. Remember in books fourteen through sixteen when that was Jessi’s character trait, but got lost in the shuffle? Well, it was given to Abby.
I knew I’d like her on the second page when she called Kristy a bossy beast. Then she insults housewives (hey! We like to be called stay-at-home-moms now!) only to point out that they don’t get no respect. (Can’t argue with that one). Abby is also very sensitive because her dad died four years earlier in a car accident. Since then her mom gave up her own career as a chef for some corporate gig where she works Ed McGill-like hours, leaving Abby and her identical twin sister, Anna as latchkey kids.
In this installment of the BSC, Abby is sitting for the Papadakis kids and she has a really bad asthma attack and is taken away by the paramedics. Kristy is worried about this. No, not about Abby, silly. She’s worried how this will affect the club of course! So she tries to keep Abby from taking jobs.
The sub-plot, which actually takes up more time than the main plot, is that funding for Stoneybrook Public Schools Arts department is being cut. So we get boilerplate PSAs about how important the arts are (which I don’t disagree with) and a big fat city-wide fundraiser. What are they doing, selling Joe Corbi’s Pizzas? Nope. It’s a big old carnival with the chance to rent out a booth. So the BSC needs to rent one out of course! And most of the BSC families are also getting in on the action.
The BSC are selling arts-related pins, the Pikes are selling hand made crafts. I kind of forget what the other families are doing. Abby wants her family to sell artsy cakes and do decorate-your-own-cupcakes. Anna and their mother agree but are unenthused. There are some crazy babysitting shenaningans involving the negligent Pike parents as well as the Arnold twins and a goat named Elvira.
It’s a three day carnival. The first day Abby has to man her booth alone as mom has to work while Anna has orchestra. The second day, Anna and Abby are there and their mom is to come later, after a morning at work. But they hear news of a train derailment and figure out that it was their mother’s train. Kristy’s mom works with them to get news and it turns out Mrs. Stevenson was in the train right behind the one that derailed and was stuck in a tunnel, where her cellular phone didn’t work, for hours. (A cell phone! In the BSC-verse!)
So on the third day of the carnival, Abby, Anna and their mother have a rockin’ good time and they have a heart to heart about the dead dad. It’s very sweet. Then Kristy somehow becomes OK with Abby’s asthma all of a sudden. The end.
- Abby talks about her humor, and how she has shtick. It reminds me of that episode of Dr. Katz where Eric Snider was on the couch and he’s talking about some auditions where he was called shticky, and “all I heard was ‘Don’t be shticky, Jew.”
- Abby’s family are environmentalists. But true environmentalists wouldn’t buy a huge house for only three people. True environmentalists use their resources a little better. Like by being four people and a dog and living in a thousand square foot condo. Something like that.
- Ugh, I can’t stand it when people refer to Emily Michelle as Kristy’s adopted sister. It’s pretty offensive.
- Bowtie pasta is called farfalle, Abby.
- Abby calls both Claudia and Stacey babes. This is why people think she’s a lesbian.
- Ann M. sure loves the word ostentatious
- OK, so I did tear up when Abby and Anna found a box of their dad’s things. Then again at the end when they showed their mom. Don’t act surprised, I long ago indicated that I was a wuss and cried over anything.
- When Abby makes a pun, she always has to point the pun out in a parenthetical aside. She’s like you see that? See what I did there? Ha!
- Abby thinks the Arnold twins’ idea for their booth is a “Kristy-class idea.” I wish people would stop giving Kristy so much credit.
- At some point Mrs. Porter’s granddaughter came to live with her. Her name is Druscilla, and I know I’m not the only one who thinks she looks like this: