Oh. my. god. This book is incredible. And I am being serious. It is actually harder for me to for real praise a book, because the snark comes easier for me than the praise. Go figure. Ann M. Martin, when she is actually writing the books, is a really great children’s author. She really does have a good way of writing from a child’s perspective. That’s probably why the earlier BSC books are good. Here’s the deal: The Rosso family has 10 kids, each a year apart, and their names are alphbetical, chosen in order from the baby book. So they have some wacky names. They just moved from New York City to a farmhouse is Jersey (Ann loves those farmhouses). First off, how did they live an apt with 10 kids? Okay, I think there were only 3 bedrooms, but if you have ten kids, how and why in the fuck would you live in NYC? From the descriptions it seems like they also lived in midtown Manhattan, which is also kind of unikely. Ann really loves talking about NYC but in reality she doesn’t really know much about it. The kids all want a pet, but the mother always say “ten kids is enough.” I kind of want one of the kids to retort: “well, it’s not my fault you don’t believe in birth control”.

Each chapter is written from a different kid’s perspectice which I thought (and still do) is awesome. To this day I actually prefer books that are written from multiple character’s perspectives (i.e. Home At the End of the World, most Douglas Coupland books, to name a few). When I tried writing my own teen novel, I always had lots of characters and wrote different chapters based on them. *

Ann really liked to write about families with lots of kids (i.e., the Pikes) and now I see why. They are tons of fun. Now I know when I was growing up I wished I had tons of brothers and sisters. There was always someone around to play with or to create drama. Even if you didn’t have friends as a kid, you kind of did. Not that I want to have kids or anything…

Abigail: her chapter describes the move and how it takes them hours to pack up and leave because no one is ever ready to leave at once. Plus, she’s embarassed because she’s a teenager

Calandra: is reading the Secret Garden and wants to find a Secret Place, and she finds a secret room in her house which CONVENIENTLY has a diary of a girl from the early part of the century, also describing how they have no pets.

Ira: he’s seven, and poor kid, he’s anal retentive. The kids start their first day of school and Ira is embarassed because he has so many siblings and all with unusual names. So during show and tell he tells the class that he has pet monkeys and cobras and tarantulas and the class likes him. Finally he has to tell the truth but the class still likes him. Awwww! He is such a cutie. And will probably need massive therapy when he is older

Dagwood: convinces the parents to let them have a Halloween party. He dresses as a famous magician, and his littlest sister Jan is his assistant, and loves the costume idea because she gets to wear sparkly things and her new Mary Janes. that cracked me up)

Eberhard: likes solving mysteries, and tries to solve the mystery of why their garbage keeps getting turned over. He concludes that it is a person on stilts, when it is actually a deer fawn. The family laughs at his idiocy.

The creepy twins find a nest of baby birds and take care of them. I find them irritating.

Jan is kind of bratty and loves being the baby and demands attention all the time.

Bainbridge tries to start a football team and then gives up (it’s a pointless plot device.) The kids find a kitten and they are allowed to keep it because Mama Russo is PREGGERS! AGAIN!

Ah. What a feel-good book. It’s got tons of fun anectodes about how the household runs and the quirkiness of the parents. Not at all a freaky family like the Duggars. I am feeling all warm and squishy now, so I’ll be meaner next time. It won’t be hard because I am reading Elizabeth’s Secret Diary which is beyond stupid.

*yes, the truth comes out. In my tween years I wrote some YA “romance” books which I found a couple years ago when my parents were moving and I had to come home to go through my old stuff. At the time I ran it out to the dumpster because I would be MORTIFIED if anyone found it. I kind of wish I had kept it because I totally would have posted it on here. Another time I’ll tell you all about it.

22 thoughts on “WARNING: NO SNARK AHEAD: Ten Kids, No Pets

  1. Kate says:

    I LOVED this book when I was younger! I’m glad to see you taking a soft approach to it.

    and as a sidebar, LORD ALMIGHTY the duggars creep me out.

  2. Beth says:

    OMG!! The Duggars are really creepy!!! And for God’s sake- pull out or something!!
    Anywoo- I say BRING IT ON about your tween romance novels!! We all already love you and really snarktastic YA novels!! Can’t wait!

  3. greer says:

    i just downloaded this book and I can’t read your review because I only read the first two chapters, but the weird thing about ann and new york is that she lived there from before she was even writing the bsc books until like ten years. So her visions of new york just weird me out. Hard Rock Cafe? Really?

  4. Sue says:

    Another cool book (not a YA, an adult novel) with multiple perspectives is “Talking It Over” by Julian Barnes. It’s about a love triangle, and it’s told by the three main characters, but then you also get these random perspectives here and there – like someone will buy flowers, and the next paragraph is from the perspective of the person who works in the flower shop. Cool book, very British.

  5. Genevieve says:

    Oh man, the Duggars…. those weird freaky people.

    I love them. Her hair is a national tragedy.

    There’s a facebook poll amongst my friends as to which two Duggar kids will turn incestuous first.

  6. megan says:

    Oh, I want to read this book now, it sounds good 🙂

    I<3 Elizabeth’s Secret Diary, cuz its really lame haha. Can’t wait to read that one!

  7. perfectsize12 says:

    That’s a funny coincidence! I’m a few chapters into Elizabeth’s Secret Diary. I’ve always found Elizabeth annoying, but her perspective is even more irritating…

  8. Winnie Egbert says:

    OMG I *loved*loved*loved* Ten Kids, No Pets!!! You’re right, the sequel just didn’t have the same oomph – felt like a re-hash of all the Pike Family holidays down the shore (except the chapter from the new baby’s perspective – that was cute and original). Actually a lot of the Rossos was repeated from BSC books, but it was done a lot better, I thought.

    “There’s a facebook poll amongst my friends as to which two Duggar kids will turn incestuous first.”

    pissing myself laughing at that… 🙂

  9. Amber Tan says:

    ““There’s a facebook poll amongst my friends as to which two Duggar kids will turn incestuous first.”

    Eeewww… Just when I thought the Duggars couldn’t get any creepier…[rinsing vigorously with brain bleach]

  10. Laura says:

    I really liked this book as a kid – glad you do too! Anne did have a thing for inexplicably big families, didn’t she! I remember thinking “Calandra” was a totally cool name and if I had a girl I’d call her that…

  11. wendy says:

    I loved the naming system of the kids in this book. When I was younger, I thought that I wanted to have eight kids and give them alphabetical names just like this book. Then I discovered how kids are born, and realised I didn’t have the constitution for such a thing. Oh well. Really glad you read this one – definitely one of my faves from my youth! I think I read it about ten times….

  12. Jane says:

    what kind of person would name their sweet little baby dagwood? That’s seriously asking for that kid to get its ass kicked on the playground.

    and I really, really liked this book too

  13. Britt says:

    Wow! I’ve been reading your website for awhile and it made me remember my OBSESSION with Babysitter’s Club, SVH, and Sleepover Friends. In fact, I recently made a Sleepover Friends Ebay order for most of the series.

    I’ve also been trying to remember vague, random books I read that I loved: and this one??!! I’ve been trying to recollect for a long time!! I loved loved loved this book and now am off to order it as well!


  14. Lauren says:

    I LOVED this book, it’s still one of my absolute favorite children’s book. I remember finding a baby-naming book and looking through it to see what the Rosso kids would have been named if their parents had had that book instead. (I was a nerd, yeah.) I had a huge crush on Woody, which does nothing to refute my nerdiness.

  15. Mehreen says:

    I liked 11 Kids, 1 Summer and have wanted to visit Fire Island ever since! I love how they call themselves stair step children, but because the baby is last and more than a year after Jan, he’s the pile of laundry at the end of the stairs! Haha, my 4th grade teacher gave me this book and Dandelions at the end of 4th grade. Dandelions was a crazy YA book about girls playing softball and wearing bras. It was funny, I think you’d laugh at it.

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