Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chasing Harry Winston

I haven't read a book I've hated in much, much, much too long. I hate the title. How dare the author assume that ever female in the world is after an engagement ring! I'm hating the chick lit genre more and more in my old age. I have no patience for the predictable Girl-Desperately-Wants-Husband-and-Babies-and-Has-No-Outside-Interests-Than-Getting-Married-To-Whoever-Will-Take-Her-And-Punching-Out-Some-Spawn-ASAP story line.

Let's make this snappy:

Leigh, Adriana, Emmy are BFFs in New York. Leigh has OCD and a perfect boyfriend (later turned fiance) named Russell. Adriana is a Brazilian socialite that lives off her parents money and sleeps around. Emmy was just dumped by her boyfriend of five years, Duncan. He left her for his twenty-three year old trainer, a virgin with big boobs.

The girls agree to make major changes to their lives in the next year. Emmy is going to break her streak as a serial monogamist, Adrianna is going to be monogamous, and Leigh is gonna keep doin' what she's doin'.

Emmy sleeps with a couple guys she meets while on business trips abroad. Adrianna pegs a guy as her future husband (before she's even met him) and begins a long-term relationship with him. Proving that personality compatibility means nothing to a 29-year-old woman in pursuit of a wedding ring. Leigh gets engaged and has a ten hour affair with an author, Jesse, she's editing for work.

Adrianna starts writing a column for Marie Claire on how to snare a man. It's picked up for a movie before the first column has even been published. Adrianna moves to Los Angeles to work on the screenplay and be independent. She decides not to date exclusively.
Leigh breaks up with Russell, starts a relationship with Jesse, and quits her job as an editor to get an MFA in creative writing.
Emmy meets up with Paul, a guy that rejected her on her first attempt at a one-night stand. She randomly sees him in a restaurant in Los Angeles (where the girls have met up to evaluate their one-year life change). After she originally met him in a hotel lobby in Paris. Highly unlikely. Anyway, she goes back to his brother and sister-in-law's house to help him take care of his new niece. It's implied that they're starting a relationship.
  • I've come to the conclusion that the literary (using that word loosely) world would like us all to think that there are only three career options for women living in New York City:
    • Editor
    • Chef
    • Socialite--Adriana also did brief stints as (1) art gallery director, (2) buyer for Saks, and (3) advertising person/worker. All pre-approved jobs for New Yorkers.
  • The three girls met as freshmen at Cornell. From their conversations, I'm seriously thinking I aimed too low when I only applied to state schools.
  • Adriana is a socialite. She's also Brazilian. I get it. I got it the first time it was mentioned. I didn't need to be reminded by having every other word out of Adriana's mouth be about how much money she has or a reference to Brazil.
  • It's tiring to constantly read about how Emmy and Adriana don't understand why Leigh isn't perfectly satisfied with her fiancĂ© and job. Sometimes that happens. They would know that if they listened to her. Like when she specifically said she didn't love him.
  • Leigh is reading Something Borrowed. There's a whole scene between her and Jesse about chick lit. The Nanny Diaries is called a "classic." I read The Nanny Diaries. "Classic" is not the word that came to my mind. Leigh's definition of "classic" book makes me think that I, too, could be a book editor. Apparently, good taste is not a job requirement.
    • I do believe my sister owns all of these books. Including Chasing Harry Winston. Further evidence that one of us (her!) was fathered by the milkman.
  • Stevie Wonder could have seen the Leigh-Jesse affair coming.
  • Apparently, people are calling Adriana the next Candace Bushnell. I recall another book I read where the author was compared to Candace Bushnell. I'm not impressed. With either.
  • The references are obnoxious. Grey's Anatomy, The Hills, America's Next Top Model. Candace Bushnell. The chick lit. Facebook. Myspace. Wasn't Emmy gushing about how intelligent Paul was? And these are the things she and her friends love?
    • Don't get me wrong. I'm extremely familiar with all of these things. (Except The Hills. I stand by my original decision that Laguna Beach was stupid and not worth watching. I'm sure as shit not going to follow those girls to their psuedo-jobs as adults.) The frequency that the girls are watching/reading/discussing these things is disturbing.
    • With so many pop culture references, this book has no longevity. It's like me being confused when the BSC referenced The Love Boat. Uh, what?
    • Emmy's ex-boyfriend's virginal girlfriend has a Myspace that she actively uses. Therefore she sucks. I'm with them on that. There is a certain age where we need to put on our big girl pants and move on to social networking sites that don't involve glittery comments.
  • There's this whole thing with a parrot that Emmy's boyfriend before Duncan left with her. Adrianna takes him in and changes him from screaming "fatty" to "pretty girl." Because Otis, the parrot, had self-esteem issues.
    • Further proof that I'm better suited for Cornell than Adrianna was. Otis was saying "fatty" because of self-esteem issues. He's a bird. There's a difference between speech and language. Otis does not have language, he has speech. Therefore, he doesn't understand what he's saying. He has no self-esteem issues. He's just repeating what he's heard.
    • The parrot is Adrianna's "lucky charm." Funny it  was such a big part of the conclusion for being such a small (and unnecessary) part of the rest of the story.
  • The whole thirty-is-basically-dead thing is kind of obnoxious. I plan to be very much alive in Fall 2019.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Water for Elephants

This book has been on my to-read list since it came out. I am soooo glad to cross this bad boy off.

(And sorry  I've been MIA lately. The whole unemployed-on-summer-vacation-while-most-of-my-friends-are-choosing-to-reside-200+-miles-away thing really takes up a lot of my time. My life is just too thrilling.)

Jacob Jankowski is in his last week of veterinary school at Cornell when he gets the news--Both of his parents were killed in a car accident. The bank forecloses on Jacob's father's vet clinic after the revelation that Dr. Jankowski was literally accepting beans and potatoes as payment for his vet services. Dealing with an understandable amount of anxiety, Jacob walks out of his final exams and jumps a train. Much to his surprise, this train was a circus train. The ringmaster is thrilled to make Jacob the circus veterinarian (a lack of diploma is not important) and sets Jacob to work with August, the equestrian trainer.

August is a sonofabitch. He brutalizes the animals, except for the liberty horses. Those belong to his wife, Marlena. Marlena is everything that her husband isn't. She's sweet and gentle with the animals. When one of her horses has to be put down, she mourns the death while her husband butchers the animal for lion feed. Jacob grows to hate this man as he grows to love his wife.

Uncle Al, the ringmaster, envies the Ringling Bros. They have elephants for chrissake! Lucky him, though, the Depression has brought down many circuses. Al swoops in like a vulture and scavenges anything and everything he can. Despite being unable to pay his laborers, Uncle Al spends $2000 on an elephant and elephant car for the train.

Rosie the elephant is thought to be an idiot. She doesn't follow direction. August is constantly beating her with a bull hook. (Picture giant stick with a forked knife on it. Or just a two-prong fork. Same thing.) Through a lucky break, there is a worker that was an elephant handler with the previous circus he was with...but he won't let Jacob tell anyone about his work experience. The former elephant handler, like Jacob, is Polish. Jacob overhears the worker directing Rosie in Polish...and Rosie is responding. With this revelation, Jacob teaches August some basic Polish so he can train Rosie without beating her to death.

Marlena perfects her act with Rosie, and the circus begins to make some serious bank. As Marlena is bopping around on a rubber ball with Rosie, Jacob's coming to terms with what I knew from about the third page--He's mushy in love with Marlena. With August being a paranoid schizophrenic (according to the circus folk), Jacob can't pursue an affair.

Marlena arranges a special dinner with August, Jacob, and Rosie. August walks into the dinner and thinks that he's interrupting Marlena and Jacob gettin' hot and heavy. Only he wasn't. This doesn't stop him and Jacob from beating the shit out of each other. And August smacking Marlena around. Finally, Marlena leaves August for Jacob. Except Jacob and Marlena have to keep their love a secret until they can get off the circus.

There's a whole sub-plot with the relationship between Camel, a laborer, and Walter (stage name: Kinko), a full-time clown and dwarf. Camel is an extreme alcoholic. As it is during Prohibition, he struggles to supply himself. As a result, Camel has taken to drinking extract. A bad batch has left him with increasing paralysis. There is a danger that he may be thrown off the circus train, so Jacob and Walter (begrudgingly) hide him in their train car. As Camel's paralysis progresses, they make contact with his son and arrange for him to be picked  up in Providence.

Before they make it to Providence, though, Walter, Camel, and a few other laborers are thrown off the train in the middle of the night in retaliation to Jacob and Marlena's affair. While on a bridge over a rocky valley. Camel dies on impact. Walter's legs are crushed, so the other laborers leave him for dead.

From there, the laborers rebel against Uncle Al and August. They're tired of not getting paid. Reasonable enough. Rosie, the most vindictive elephant in history, drives a spike through August's head, killing him. The animals are released, causing the crowd to stampede. The big top comes down in the process. When the city mayor is cleaning up the mess and selling off parts of the circus, workers find Uncle Al's strangled body under the canvas.

With surprising ease, Jacob arranges to take his vet exams so he and Marlena can hook up with Ringling Bros. While the circus is being sold off piece by piece, the couple claims sole ownership of Rosie, Marlena's twelve liberty horses, and Bobo the monkey/chimpanzee. 'Cause "in for a penny, in for a pound." That's always my train of thought when I'm claiming ownership of that many animals.

Marlena and Jacob end up getting married. Just like we knew all along. Oh, and p.s.: she found out she was pregnant right before the stampede. 'Cause she and Jacob (a virgin until Marlena came along) were getting busy quite a bit behind the midway.

The circus chapters alternate with chapters about an elderly Jacob living in a nursing home. All he wants is for his family to take him to the circus across the street. When they forget to take him, he shuffles on over by himself.

Unbelieveable: he convinces someone affiliated with the circus to let him travel with them for a while. Who is going to let a ninety-some-year-old man go with them without explaining where he came from (i.e. the nursing home across the street), asking where the man's belongings are (i.e. in the nursing home across the street), or questioning how that man came to be at the circus by himself (i.e. by crossing the street from the nursing home across the street).
  • I'm a fan of the Polish. Except that I was a little put off by the simplicity of the name Jankowski. Where are the syllables of my childhood? There's not a 'w' disguised as 'chj' or 'sh' masked as a 'chrz' to be seen!
  • Rosie the Elephant--I lurve you. Even if you do steal lemonade.
    • Okay. Actually, I love all elephants. And now I'm melting into a pile of mush and baby talk.
    • My roommate volunteered at an elephant preserve in Thailand last summer. So. Freaking. Jealous.
  • I pictured Rosie as Mrs. Jumbo from Dumbo.
Y'know. If she'd had an adorable flying baby. And a shawl. And made me cry like a baby.
  • Every time Jacob mentions Bobo, the monkey/chimpanzee, I get a little freaked out. There Jacob is cuddling the animal, and I'm imagining that woman that had her face ripped off by a monkey. I am not cool with those bastards.
  • What a lucky break that the circus has an elephant handler that speaks Polish. Of aaaaaalllllllll the languages in the world. Polish. If that elephant understood Mandarin or Ojibway or Flemish, that circus would be shit out of luck.
  • The circus folk and I clearly have different ideas of what "paranoid schizophrenic" entails. According to them, it's when August is angry and jealous. But other times, he's fine. According to my fine education, this is incorrect. Try again, circus folk!
  • When I was younger, my mom told me about hardcore alcoholics drinking extract. Definitely tried it Camel-style. Vanilla? Not so tasty.
  • I would do a lot of nameless things to get me an elephant. Even one that only understands Polish.
  • The chapters about an elderly Jacob reminded me of when I read my favorite author Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook. I didn't want to read about Old Jacob in the Nursing Home! I wanted to read about Young Jacob in the Circus!
  • I think it was way too easy for Jacob to just go take his vet exams at Cornell. Higher education has really tightened up in the last eighty years.
  • Someone famous said something (how specific!) about getting a sick pleasure from elephants killing their trainers. Like the elephants are striking back against their enslavement. I can agree and disagree with this. 'Cause if I ever had a pet elephant, it would never stomp me to death. No, no, no. It'd love me and carry me all wrapped up snuggly in it's trunk and I'd knit it giant scarves for when it gets chilly out.
  • Did I mention that I lurve anything to do with elephants?

Friday, May 14, 2010

She's Come Undone

This book covers over 25+ years of main character Dolores Price's life. So, here are the highlights:

--Age 4: Family gets a free TV from father's "boss."

--Age 7 or 8: Baby brother dies at birth after his umbilical cord wraps around his neck.

--Age 11 or 12: Parents divorce after revelation that dad's "boss" was really a girlfriend. Mom spends six months in a state mental hospital. Moves in with Grandma. End relationship with Dad.

--Age 13: Raped by grandmother's upstairs tenant, Jack Speight. Two weeks later, tells mother. The same night, Jack's wife miscarries her baby.

--Age 13-18: Spends her days eating her emotions and watching TV.

--Age 18: Major fighting with mom about not wanting to go to college. Mom is hit and killed by a semi-truck while outside her tollbooth at work. Leaves for college to please dead mom but never goes to class.

Obnoxious roommate Kippy is disgusted by size (about 250 pounds) and is having sex with a boy at school despite have boyfriend Dante Davis, a future Lutheran minister. Steals Dante's letters to Kippy because Kippy doesn't "deserve" them and discovers that Kippy lied about Dante pressuring her to have sex. Instead, Kippy was the one pressuring Dante to have sex, so Dante sent her naked pictures of himself.

Kippy's college boyfriend does a "rape dance" with Dolores at their dorm Halloween party. Dolores knees him in the balls multiple times and runs away amid threats from the other boys there.

Dolores calls Dottie, the res hall director (?) affectionately referred to as Two-Ton and a "lezzie" by the girls. Dottie and Dolores binge on food and end the night with sex (It is later argued that Dottie also raped Dolores.)

Dolores spends $400 to have a taxi take her from her Pennsylvania college to a town in Cape Cod where whales have been beaching themselves. She is found by beach patrol trying to kill herself by swimming underneath a beached whale.

--Age 18-25: Committed to a private mental hospital. Intense therapy that involves being "re-parented." Swims in a pool (the womb) while her male psychiatrist talks Dolores through her childhood. Eventually, though, Dolores decides to quit therapy. Lives in a halfway house. Works at a picture lab. Draws artistic masterpieces on an Etch-a-Sketch.

In a total stalker move, develops pictures featuring Dante, tracks down where he lives, and rents the apartment across the hall from him. Lies to Dante about being on birth control. Becomes pregnant with a baby that Dante doesn't want to keep. Still names the baby Vita Marie before having her aborted. Marries Dante.

--Point at Which Age Starts Getting Foggy: Takes a cross-country roadtrip/belated honeymoon so Dante can find his muse. Returns to Vermont to Dante's admission that he's been fired as an English teacher because of allegations that he had an affair with a student. Comes home early from work to find Dante in bed with said student. Leaves.

Grandma dies. Dante helps with funeral arrangements. Reconnects with Roberta, the tattoo artist across the street. Moves into Grandma's house. Roberta, who has Parkinson's Disease, moves in. Works multiple jobs. Goes to community college.

Meets Thayer in class. Let him repair the living room ceiling. Tell him about the rape, obesity, and Dante on the first date. Ask for his sperm to cook up a baby. Get married. Unable to reproduce. Failed attempt at IVF.    Come to terms with not having a baby. Still have Jemal, step-son and budding rapper.

Close with a trip to Cape Cod with Thayer to go on a whale watch.

  • This book is reviewed as being "hilarious." Can't say I ever laughed. Not even on the inside. This is possibly because I was reading while watching Betty White's SNL. This book was no competition.
  • I'm confused about the cover art. Why wasn't it the painting that Dolores' mother made in therapy?
  • I love books that follow a person's lifetime. (Possibly why Gone With the Wind is one of my favorites. Ever.)
    • I hate sudden jumps in books. Most real people don't just wake up one day and do some dramatic action out of nowhere. There's build-up to that dramatic action! I will read 400-1000 pages if it means build-up! This book has build-up!
    • Example: About two words after Jack Speight picked Dolores up, I was all "Dude. He's gonna rape her, and she doesn't even know it yet! I should warn her!" It still took many, many pages to make it to that event, though.
  • I love that Dolores named her baby Vita Marie. Possibly because it reminds me of the arbor vitae. (If you were to splice the cerebellum on a sagittal plane, you'd see the arbor vitae, or Tree of Life. Apologies for the geek moment.)
    • Other thing(s) to like about the name Vita Marie:
      • 'Vita' means life. Appropriate name for a child that is aborted?
      • I like literary Easter eggs.
  • I liked that the book didn't end with Dolores having a miracle pregnancy. That's not real life. Not every infertile couple gets the fairy tale ending with the blonde haired, blue eyed twins. This book was better without the perfectly happy ending. Dolores got to be happy in her own way.
  • This book is always on those lists that circulate on Facebook. The If-You-Didn't-Read-at-Least-Four-Thousand-of-These-Books-Oxford-Thinks-You-Suck-and-We-Agree lists. Suck on that, Oxford!

    Friday, May 7, 2010

    BSC #13 Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye

    • Where is Stacey's long perm? She appears to have soccer mom hair!
    • Lazy cover artist--Claudia, Dawn, and Charlotte are wearing the same plain, white shoes.
    • In the book, the See You Soon, Stacey sign has blue letters.
      • Also, Charlotte wasn't even there for the final farewell.
    Stacey's parents tell her that Mr. McGill's company branch in Stamford turned out to be a failure. He's being transferred back to New York City in about a month. Initially, Stacey is mad excited. She'll be back in her old school, friends with Laine again, and able to shop her little heart out. But wait--what about Claudia? what about the BSC? what about Charlotte Johanssen? what about my all-time favorite BSC pet, Carrot the Schnauzer?

    The BSC begins to face reality. What will they do without Stacey? They're busier than ever (aren't they always?) and already rely on Shannon and Logan a little too much. They're going to need a new member. On top of that, they want to throw Stacey a spectacular going away party but have less than $20 to their names. Total. (What exactly are these girls' expenses? Claudia says that she just bought new shoes. What about the others, though? For as much as they baby-sit, you'd think they'd have more than four or five dollars each.) 

    When the McGills decide to have a yard sale and let Stacey and the BSC keep the money if they run it, the BSC discovers their source of funding for the party. Besides Stacey's crap, they sell lemonade and limeade, Claudia's special heavenly brownies (her adjective, not mine), Dawn's baby spider plants, and Mary Anne's homemade crap (knitted eyeglass cases, scarves, belts, Guadalajara ponchos...).

    Of course, Stacey gets her party. The whole BSC and a few friends from school are there. Oh yeah, and 28 of the sitting charges. (Don't ask me how you get 28 kids to (1) all be available for a party, (2) all well-behaved for the party, and (3) not tell Stacey that they're going to her party. I just don't know.) There's an egg race, which I think is really unfair for the four-years-old and under crowd. The kids are still working on standing upright and you're asking them to carry an egg on a spoon. Other games: Simon Says, Pin the Baby on the Baby-Sitter, drawing Stacey a "map" of Stoneybrook. The party is super awesome.

    There's one final BSC meeting. Stacey passes the position of Treasurer to Dawn. Kristy makes it official by holding secret initiation and what not. We learn that Stacey's real name is Anastasia Elizabeth. Shocker, right? No? Okay. Anyway, the club needs another member so they decide to invite Mallory Pike to be a junior member. Stacey wants to call the Pikes to tell her, but Kristy is all "I'm the president! I should be the hero" and Stacey is all "Bitch. Back off! She wouldn't be joining this club if it weren't for me leaving!" Stacey gets to make the call. Mallory is hysterical with excitement. Probably because no one has ever called and asked for her before.

    The next day, Stacey gets ready to leave for New York. The BSC shows up at her house at 8 in the morning for one final good-bye. Stacey gives them all baby-sitting business cards she had made up. Claudia gives her a letter full of jokes, riddles, and gossip. Claudia is incapable of spelling, so the letter is horrific.

    The whole moving to New York because Mr. McGill's business branch is failing was a cover story. Really, Stacey is in a treatment facility to be de-programed and working toward living a normal life post-Cult BSC. She's currently filming her segment for one of my very favorite TV shows.
    • Oh, good. Stacey's diabeetus is mentioned on the first page. I was worried after the first paragraph when it hadn't been mentioned yet!
    • Okay. I admit it--I actually felt bad for Stacey. She has this great new life in Stoneybrook. She has friends  and school and the BSC. But...well...New York City is not Stoneybrook. She's made up with Laine...but now she has Claudia.
      • Her parents' bribery is shameless. They'll look for a bigger apartment that might overlook Central Park? If I recall correctly, the McGills had a 3 bedroom apartment before. I don't know much about New York realty but that thing is going to cost a shit load! Especially for someone whose attempt at running the company branch failed. (I'm looking at you, Mr. McGill!)
    • At the emergency BSC meeting, Kristy guesses that Stacey's parents are getting divorced. Foreshadowing!
    • It took 29 pages to mention that Watson lives in a mansion. Did you know he lived in a mansion?
    • On page 75, in the matter of a paragraph Linny Papadakis' name changed to Linnie. A paragraph!
    • It is damn creepy how Mrs. Porter (1) overhears the kids talking about wanting lemonade, (2) lures invites them over for "homemade" lemonade, and (3) and actually serves frozen lemonade from concentrate.
      • If it weren't Mrs. Porter and the BSC, I'd think this were the tactics of a child molester.
    • Judy Blume shout out!
    • The Barrett kids have an unsuccessful yard sale. Of course, Dawn was there to help. She "didn't want to sound like an I-told-you-so person." Really? There is no way Dawn would give up an opportunity to  tell anyone so!
    • The BSC just threw a surprise party a few books ago in Logan Likes Mary Anne! How many surprise parties do these kids need?
    • Prizes at Stacey's going away party are Silly Putty, gummi bears, sticker books, and Transformers. Where is this party and how do I score an invite?
    • Apparently, roach traps are just "part of city life." Um, gross.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    Barrel Fever

    I'm adopting my Chelsea Handler-stance on this bad boy. I'm skipping the obligatory plot summary due to the book being a collection of short stories and essays. It would be silly, time consuming, and defeat the purpose of anyone else ever reading this book. Just know that there are short stories and essays, and they're humorous. Shazam.
    • For unknown reasons, short stories actually bug me a little. I don't like knowing that the plot will go no further than those few pages. Several short stories in this book left cliffhangers. Cliffhangers piss me the hell off!
      • Maybe I'm having flashbacks of my English classes of yesteryear. Nothing irritates me more than (1) being told what I have to read and (2) being forced to read a short story that will not give me sufficient time to become acquainted with characters.
    • "Everybody loves me. I'm the most important person in the lives of almost everyone I know and a good number of people I've never even met."
      • This quote sums up my life. Really.
      • Also, funny story: A friend had this quote as her Facebook status. I was all, 'I wonder what that's from. It sums up my life.' Two minutes later, I started reading this book. Found it!
    • I like that the stories aren't all presented in the same format. There was a family Christmas letter, a teenager's attempt at writing erotica, and an issue of Glen's Homophobic Newsletter.
      • Glen's quarterly newsletter about his fight against homophobia was no match for the STFU family on tumblr.
    • Season's Greetings is the Christmas newsletter. The narrator is a wife informing friends and relatives about her husband's previously unknown, illegitmate daughter that was conceived while he served in Vietnam showing up on the family's doorstep. Legal trouble for the family ensues.
      • Probably my favorite short story in this book.
      • I suspect that Desperate Housewives "borrowed" a bit of their plot from this. Khe Sahn...Kayla Scavo...Hm.
    • Not gonna lie--I didn't understand Malison. Was Malison the guy I was picturing to look like Russell Brand? Was it really the old man who had someone else act as him in public? Was I supposed to not understand that? Am I just over thinking the whole thing?

      Monday, May 3, 2010

      I Wish I Were Kidding...

      I officially need to lay off the BSC a little. I've had a BSC dream.
      True story.

      And because I'm sure y'all are interested in what's going on in my mind during REM, here it is:

      Two of my roommates and I decided to take a study break and head over to another side of town. We drove three blocks and ended up in the Barnes and Noble near U of M-Flint. (I would be elated to live 3 blocks from a B&N. Current distance: 50 miles.) 

      My roommates and I literally cried tears of joy that there was someplace other than Wal-Mart and Target to buy books at. (Sign that I'm culture starved? Thank you public library for rejecting my application for a library card. Despite dropping tens of thousands of dollars in this town on my education (and thus employing many taxpayers) I don't get a library card because I don't have a utility bill. Awesome.) We walked in and were immediately in the YA section. There were vampire books everywhere. I was a little heartbroken.

      But then...wait! It's a whole rack dedicated to the BSC. I rush over to see if they have any books that will fill gaps in my collection. (I actually carry a list for this purpose. And have a spreadsheet.) The books were all in the old school style in the classic colors--pink, yellow, orange. They were also all hard cover.

      I began reading titles and was a little upset. They weren't the BSC books I remember...they were a continuation of the series with the girls as adults. (Don't blame me for the cheesiness of these book styles. Dream Alison was trying to make them congruent with the BSC books that already exist.)

      Titles I remember:

      BSC #53 Kristy the New Mom--Kristy has a baby boy, Daniel. (I have no reasoning for the name Daniel.) She's having a hard time dealing with the pressure of being a new mom so it was definitely implied that she's suffering from postpartum depression/Munchausen. It was really a "Those who cannot do, teach" situation. Kristy is only good with other people's kids. She wants to physically harm her own.

      Dream Alison actually flipped this one open to see if Kristy had/adopted Daniel with Abby. Nope. Kristy married a dude.

      And yes. It really was #53 in the series...

      Mary Anne Gets Married-- Picture Emma Pillsbury's wedding but add in (1) a groom, (2) guests, and (3) a lot more anxiety about napkin colors and wilting bouquets.

      Little Stacey Finds a Family-- This one is proof that Dream Alison is cruel and crazy.  The Little Stacey books (there was more than one on the shelf, this is the only one I remember now...) follow Stacey's daughter  which she creatively named Little Stacey. Awesome, right? Stacey seems egocentric enough to do that.

      At the same time in the series, Mary Anne is getting married and Kristy has a baby. This leads me to conclude that Little Stacey was born when Stacey was just a young sorority girl. I'm not surprised.

      Unfortunately, Stacey's diabetes got the best of her and she passed away. The McGills are MIA so Little Stacey is turned out onto the streets. The cover art shows her begging for food with two of her ragamuffin friends. One of them may have been Oliver Twist.

      Some kind, blonde family that Little Stacey begged food from agrees to take her in. Whether that works out or not (and where the hell is DHS in all this?) we'll have to wait to find out in a future book.

      I don't remember any other books. Claudia was strangely MIA. (Maybe she was with the McGills.) I do know that Dawn and Mallory  were not part of this series. Dream Alison thought this was a definite improvement in the series.

      This dream is probably a sign that I should be hired as the next BSC ghostwriter. As we all know, the best story plots come to the author in a dream.