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.