I didn't read this book as a youngin, so I wasn't colored by nostalgia during the experience. And man, it was kind of a difficult book to read. Uncomfortable. On the plus side, Jessi is a pretty enjoyable narrator here -- she's kind of goofy, getting involved in the Sixth-Grade Follies (a send-up of life at Stoneybrook Middle School created and performed by the sixth grade class) and doing impressions of Dolly Parton, Garth from Wayne's World, etc. She's got friends outside of the BSC. She's not obsessed with being the world's greatest ballerina.
On the minus side, the A plot is a doozy. The horrible prank has to do with one of their teachers, the unfortunately named Mr. Trout. This man is not cut out for teaching, to say the least. He's got no sense of how to discipline snotty pre-teens, and Jessi's classmates walk all over him. There's a scalping incident involving his toupee and a fishhook. Since you're all at the EDGES of your SEATS over this riveting plotline, I'll sum up by saying that he ends up leaving SMS and Jessi feels bad and writes him a letter and he writes back all "LOL Don't feel bad! Screw middle school, I'm going back to grad school!" and then the book ends abruptly, like maybe the ghostwriter drank one too many martinis and couldn't be bothered to come up with an ending*.
(Seriously, I don't know why Scholastic didn't contact me about these rewrites; I really get to the heart of the matter in NO TIME FLAT. I can even pull back on the swearing and netspeak if I try very hard! Like, VERY hard.)
But enough about plot. You don't come here for plot. You come here for fashion, and I need to update at least once before I go on vacation. (That's right, those of you who don't follow me on twitter or tumblr**: I'm headed to Disney World! But there's no Bahama cruise, because the boyfriend and I don't have rich stepfathers willing to shell out tons of dough for us and all of our friends.) So: fashion.
"Plus, she always puts together the coolest outfits, mostly from stuff she finds in flea markets. For example, at that meeting she was wearing '50s-style cat's-eye glasses frames***, a plastic barrette in the shape of an alligator****, a tie-dyed t-shirt, and bell-bottoms. And it looked fantastic."
As if there was a question.
Oh yeah, there's a subplot. Various sitting charges put on a show called the BSC Follies. Whatever, find the book yourself if you're that interested. I just thought some of the portrayals were worth mentioning.
"Vanessa walked out, toting a huge backpack. She had her hair pulled back and fastened by something that looked like a dog bone.
She pulled out a Milky Way bar, stuffed it in her mouth, and said 'Hi, I'm Claudia!'
'Aaaaaugh!' Claudia screamed.
. . . Next came Margot, holding a bag of carrots. 'I'm Dawn. Yummy, this is my dinner.'
. . . Vanessa/Claudia kept stuffing her face the whole way through, constantly pulling snacks out of her backpack, mumbling all her words. At one point she picked up the clock and said 'This would make a fabulous hat!'
Charlotte/Stacey sniffed disapprovingly. 'N.O.M.H. - Not On My Head!'"
God, these kids do my job better than I ever could. I should be insulted or something.
* Not that I know anything about this.
** And for the record, I am waaaay more prolific on both of those platforms than I ever will be here. Sorry, it's just the way it is. Most days, I only have 140 characters worth of funny in me. It's a sad reality.
*** Last week, B. and I were watching season three of 30 Rock when we realized the horrible yet fitting truth: Liz Lemon and I wear the EXACT SAME GLASSES. Also sometimes I wear snuggies while eating cheese by myself late at night. You can't judge me!
**** I want to go to there.