Taffy’s side of the story, or The Truth About Taffy Sinclair

Gee Taff, that’s not just a sweatshirt, that’s a SWEATSHIRT. With matching stretch pants. That matches the color of your hair. And while you’re at it, run a comb through it, will ya?

I remember being stoked for this one, because it is from Taffy’s point of view. I wanted to hear what she really thought of Jana. I really wish this one was better and that Taffy had a little more substance. It was really hyped up as being “the other side of the story”. I remember my anticipation on my way home from B. Dalton at the mall when I got it. Sure, she was misunderstood and most kids were jealous of her. And Jana and her friends really are nasty little bitches. I wish Taffy was nicer to Mona Vaughn, who was really her only friend through all of this. But Mona is poor and not pretty, and Taffy holds that against her. Well, they are only in sixth grade. Taffy should be nicer to people considering how she’s been treated. But I guess as a kid, all she knows about relationships is what she sees around her.

Can I mention that it made me hate Jana even more? Her clique is really a bunch of little bullies. I agree with Taffy, why is Jana popular? She is arguably as self-absorbed as Taffy. When I pictured Jana, for some reason, I always pictured her as…unwashed. Like she needs to be called into the school nurse’s office for some lessons on hygeine. I don’t know why I always had that picture in my head. It has nothing to do with the fact she comes from a single-parent home, I think it just matched her bitchy personality.

While they are cleaning out their lockers, someone takes Taffy’s diary. She is freaked out because people will know the truth- the truth being… that she is vulnerable! That she is a normal pre-teen girl! Funny, last night before I wrote this I dreamt that I was in a clique led by Amy Winehouse and I really hated them all, but I had to act all mean and aloof to not show my true feelings. Taffy wrote entries about the events of the other books, and basically admitted how hurt she was by Jana’s actions and how she secretly longed to be friends with Jana and Melanie. And also wrote some bitchy stuff about the other girls. Funny, she glossed over the whole teaching-Melanie-to-be-bulimic thing.

Oh, she also writes how she is sooooooooo in love with Randy Kirwan, who is Jana’s boyf. What is with this kid and his hold over women? If you say it’s his 1000-watt smile, I will kill you. She spends a lot of the book flirting with him. Curtis Trowbridge, class nerd, is having a graduation party and someone is threatening to read Taffy’s diary aloud. Really, it was just class perv Clarence Marshall who balckmails Taffy into kissing him. He stole her diary and in an act of metaphorical cleansing, Taffy throws her diary into the fire at the party. Taffy, bad idea. As much as you think you shouldn’t write those things, you’ll want it later. I wrote tons of short stories and once tried to write a teen romance novel, and I threw them away before I left for college and was cleaning out my room. Not a day goes by where I wish I could read that stuff. I would have even posted excerpts from the novel on this blog if I had it. Oh, and I also made a lot of illustrations to accompany The Fabulous Five books. All rotting away in a landfill somewhere.

Anyhoo, Taffy’s mother is a scary stage mother and tells Taffy she can’t eat a lot because she has to keep her figure so she can get tc gigs. Taffy also has an audition lined up for the night of the party and her parents hire a limo to take her to the audition. Taffy reschedules the interview so she can take the limo to the party. She had planned on giving Randy a ride home in her limo to “seduce” him, but she ends up giving the whole class a ride home, which was pretty cute.

I remember that Jana and the gang had a new set of enemies in junior high, but I can’t remember much about Taffy. I know she did still try to steal Randy from Jana and failing at that. I do hope that she did come into her own and find some people to hang with.

I just had a thought- the girls that were considered “really pretty” in my sixth grade class…turned out to be not so pretty as they got older. Being pretty as a child and as an adult can be mutually exclusive.

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44 thoughts on “Taffy’s side of the story, or The Truth About Taffy Sinclair

  1. Emma Elliott says:

    Early ripe, early rotten. Every girl in my junior high who were considered “pretty” just look odd now. Faces too long, teeth too big, etc. All the ones who were fat or mousy looking (aka normal 12 year olds) are attractive adults.

  2. Diane says:

    I was a pretty fugly sixth grader. In fact, I’m pretty sure I looked like the girl version of Ralphie from “A Christmas Story,” and I like to think I turned out OK.

    TEAM TAFFY!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Omg. Your post made me look up the Fabulous Five books, and if Wikipedia is right with their summaries, clearly California Diaries #1 is stolen entirely from Fabulous Five #32. Not that I’m surprised that Ann M. Martin isn’t original, but…not to that blatant degree.

  4. Caryn says:

    I just had to tell you that I love that this blog exists. I found it through a comment someone left on my most recent post, and it’s bringing back lots of memories of my middle school reading. What fun!

  5. Eli says:

    Heh, I loved this book. And I also bought my copy from B. Dalton.

    Didn’t Jana and co. get the diary back and give it back to Taffy in a surprising display of an iota of maturity?

    • CNJ says:

      True, they did. I wonder if it was Katie or Christie’s idea since they were the two most mature of the group. Jana and Melanie were emtpy-headed and immature. I sometimes read about them to laugh at their foolish antics.

      Randy also…he came across a bit as a Gary Stu in the FF books, but was secretly snobby, vain, and boring.

  6. Tia says:

    I know, it’s so unfair! I was a pretty kid, although painfully unpopular but, like I said, really quite pretty. And I swear, since I hit 25, I’ve been getting fuglier every year! Face too thin, nose too big, WTF! And I’m still not popular.

  7. Winnie Egbert says:

    I was dead ugly and unpopular in my tween years. Vindication came in high school when all the kids who’d been super-popular in JH dropped out and disappeared and being smarter than everyone else was finally a good thing. I always imagined that Jana was pregnant by 15 and abandoned by some loser teenage father and kicked out of school and that Taffy went on to make good friends in college/work and finally find herself. Poor Taffy.

  8. Kristin says:

    I love the outfit on the cover. I was all about the giant sweatshirts with matching stretch pants. I remember having a lime green outfit and, I think, a hot pink one.

  9. Amber Tan says:

    “Randy Kirwan, who is Jana’s boyf. What is with this kid and his hold over women? If you say it’s his 1000-watt smile, I will kill you.”

    Eh. He probably puts out. 😉

    • CNJ says:

      Randy was a snobby, vain bore underneath the “nice, perfect guy” facade. Lots of girls were taken in by him.

      In the FF books, Tony Calcaterra was much better…Katie saw it and wound up with him.

      Team Katie; Team Tony.

  10. Alicia says:

    Oh, yes the new gang of enemies were called something like the Fantastic Four. One of them went by the name of Funny Hawthorne. I always loved that name.

    I think the ringleader of the Fantastic Four was also a pretty, bitchy blonde. We later found out she was also secretly sad because her parents were divorced or something.

  11. Alicia says:

    Sorry, there were the Fantastic Foursome. I guess that was to distinguish themselves from the comic book. And the ringleader was Laura McCall.

  12. Robyn says:

    Also, in the Fabuous Five books, they never really mentioned Taffy at all. I think she was on the cheerleading aquad, but that was about all the info we got.

    Taffy Sinclair was just written out and never heard from again. Breaks my heart a little…

  13. The Kuus says:

    I’m mildly embarrassed to admit that I remember this, but they did follow up on Taffy in the Fabulous Five years.

    She got a new best friend, who was a part of this series’s version of The Droids, and she started dating a guy in the band. It was true luv until Taffy went away to film a movie that was like the story of her life, all about girl bullying (except in the movie the Taffy character gets the Randy character), and she started liking the male lead and her boyfriend back home started liking some other girl.

  14. Tracy says:

    I totally had that outfit in 6th grade and it was my 2nd favorite, and not too horrible thinking back on it now. Now my VERY favorite one… UGH. Deep purple stretch pants, matching top, with neon fish designs in some king of puff paint stuff on it. Lord did I have no taste in 1991.

    • CNJ says:

      I always pictured Jana is being kind of prissy herself with no braces, longish, wavy coiffed hair, thin features…and giving all her “enemies” (she sure had a long list of girls she “hated” simply because they smiled at “her” Randy or had long blond hair or deign to be as pretty or prettier than her) secretly cold looks.

  15. Alicia says:

    Yeah, I remember reading about Taffy in the Fabulous Five books. Jana had to interview her for the newspaper (or a class assignment, I can’t remember) because of the movie she did and I think they ended up making up. Or Jana finally admitted that she treated Taffy badly, at least.

    Laura McCall DID have a long blond braid. At least we all remember this stuff. We’re not alone!

  16. LucyHoneychurch says:

    Kuus — it was Taffy Sinclair Goes to Hollywood. I worshipped that book when I was younger. I remember rolling my eyes even then though because the character she played was named something like Tiffy.

  17. Gerry says:

    Just to let you guys know, Taffy was on the cheerleading team at Wacko Junior High in the Fab Five series!!!!!!!! I am a guy and I can’t believe that now in my early 30’s I remember this stuff…….LOL!

    I still have all the books (well they are in my mom’s attic)….hehe…..ladies, guys read these books too….

  18. cnester says:

    Gerry, that is the most awesome thing I’ve ever heard. I love that you read these books! That is beyond cool… and speaking of cool, the name Funny Hawthorne rocks.

  19. Beth says:

    I never read the Taffy books! I am so jealous of you all!! I wanna talk shit, too!! Seriously- even tho I have never read these, I enjoy all your posts! They bring me back to sixth grade which was alot of fun for me! I was friends with everybody, not “popular”, but friendly. And sadly, all the really pretty bitches grew up to be really pretty adult bitches……bitches….

  20. Katrina says:

    I loved Taffy Sinclair. But I loved the Fabulous Five even more. My fav was Melanie, she always was always being accused *cough, yeah right, cough, floozy tease,cough* of making out with all of the boys. I though she was ultra-racy. I loved the one where they teleported into each others bodies to see what life was like from the other’s perspective.
    I always remeber Beth’s hair being referred to as similar to a brillo. That isn’t very nice.
    I also liked the book totally about Laura. And everyone thinks Jessica is bad!!!

    • CNJ says:

      I don’t remember anyone saying Beth’s hair was like “brillo.” Beth always had very straight, dark hair. Some of the FF book pictures messed it up, though; one or two covers have her hair BLOND…we regular readers KNOW that Beth’s hair is far from blond.

      I always imagined Beth as kind of dark…dark hair, dark eyes, rather olive complexion.

      And she was kind of in Jana’s shadow when she was not performing in plays. The sidekick, awkward best friend so to speak.

  21. Katrina says:

    I liked Taffy b/c she was a lot like me. Now, I was no beauty-queen/soap-star. But I was cute, had blond hair, matching streachpants to my oversized shirts (plus I had teased bangs and mis-matched earrings). Nobody liked me becuase I came off as spoiled and over-confident and too cool for everyone else. But unlike Taffy, nobody really challenged me. I was really bossy and loud, and most people just gave in to my demands out of fear, rather than coming up with elaborate plans to bring me down.
    They often still do….
    Hey, Ihatewheat, I am also about to graduate (MAY 1st, YAY) with an advanced Women’s Studies degree. I think you may have something to go on with your Taffy update story.

    I swear, everyone I went to school with looks exactly the same. Some people have gotten a bit wider, but the faces all seem to have stayed the same.

  22. jms says:

    I have had a very trying week (and it’s not over yet). To recuperate, I plan to re-read my favorite Fabulous Five books (the first and second ones) this weekend and enjoy every gloriously stupid moment.

    There’s a book focusing on Laura? How did I miss that?

  23. Jade Wu's Toe Shoe says:

    I loooove when you recap TS/Fabulous 5 books! GO TAFFY GO! (I never liked Laura McCall, and didn’t enjoy the book from her point of view where we were supposed to feel bad for her. Although I did try to braid my hair from the top of my head like she did. I ended up looking like a genie.)

    Re: Cover art – I, unfortunately, had Taffy’s yellow sweatshirt. In several different colors. Withthe matching stretch (“stirrup?”) pants. Come to think of it, I also had nearly the same piiiink 80’s bedroom!

    But not the awesome hair, though.

    So the last book that mentioned Taffy was NOT the one where it’s announced that her after-school-special is becoming a TV series? I don’t remember the book when (vile) Jana interviewed her, so I’m guessing that came later?

  24. Jade Wu's Toe Shoe says:

    Lucy – Taffy’s character in the movie was “Tiffany Stafford.” You aren’t alone – I, too, rolled my eyes at that!

  25. Katrina says:

    Jade –
    That is the last Super Special book (are they Super Specials in the Fab Five world) where Jana interviews Taffy. I think that they announce the tv series in that one or “Nobody Likes Taffy Sinclair”.

  26. Abby says:

    JMS- The book focusing on Laura is a regular FF series book…I think it is number 26, and it’s called like, Laura’s Secret, or something.

    In the book, Laura is bragging to all the girls in the class how cool it is that she has no mother (no one to nag or criticize her, and her father feels so guilty he lets her do whatever and buys her whatever) and Alexis Duvall totally steals her thunder by saying her and her mother have a great relationship and her mother never nags her (which I call bullshit on, if your mother has never nagged you she’s probably trying too hard to be your friend which will cause you problems down the road), and Laura gets really jealous. She has to up the ante by bragging that she has a maid (which, really, who cares if someone in your high school has a maid?). Anyways, she has a bunch of girls come over to her house so she spastically cleans it to make it look like a maid works there, and whatever mess she doesn’t have time to clean she chucks into her father’s room (oh, Laura). Her dad leaves a nasty note about it, and Alexis sees the note before Laura can take it away. In an effort to discredit Alexis, and take the heat off herself for lying, Laura accuses Alexis of sneaking into her room and stealing her charm bracelet. And there’s like, an all out war with people having Team Laura and Team Alexis shirts (ok, not really, but had the book been written recently you know there would have been), and Alexis finally tells Laura that she doesn’t care what Laura says about her anymore, and she’s given up trying to deny it; her true friends know it’s a lie. So Laura invites all the girls over to her house again and says the maid has been fired for stealing, and apologizes to Alexis in front of everyone for accusing her.

    The book was supposed to make you feel sorry for Laura, but really, it just made her look even bitchier than the other books. They really softened Jana’s character for FF compared to the Taffy Sinclair series.

  27. Sexy Sadie says:

    I was cute in an awkward sort of way when I was a preteen. Now I’m 19, and I’m pretty in a quirky sort of way.(I have buck teeth which I choose not to fix and I’m short) BTW, Taffy looks like Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter on the cover of this book.

  28. CNJ says:

    Yeah, Jana and her friends were total a$$e$ to Taffy and several others; I esp. never cared for either Jana or Melanie. Thank goodness Katie, Christie and Beth wised up some in the Fab Five books, but those books still remained too couplely where just about ALL the girls were paired off with boys at 12. Seriously.

    Check out this hilarious story where Jana, her psuedo-husband Randy, and Melanie and Logan Bruno (ex-BSC member) get into a HUGE scandal at college…http://www.fanfiction.net/s/446924/1/Homecoming_Scandal

  29. notemily says:

    I never could identify with Jana… because of her horrible feathered hair. Reading these in the early 90s, NOBODY my age had hair like that, and it was really weird to me that Jana did. She looked like someone’s mom.

  30. al says:

    I always liked taffy and thought jana was a bully. But as a kid somehow i felt the author wanted me to like jana and the fab five.

    • CNJ says:

      How true. I think Betsy tried too hard to make Jana and Randy “perfect” and all-sweethearts.

      I myself found myself liking Katie, Beth, and Christie. I also liked Mona Vaughn and Tony Calcaterra.

      Tony turned out to be much sweeter and nicer than Randy, actually. Unlike Jana and Randy, Katie and Tony were not self-absorbed nor did they narrow their world into just each other the way Jana and Randy did.

  31. Isis says:

    I think Jana and her friends were brats. I thought Jana always got way too jealous about Randy. She got jealous just because she saw Taffy talking to him. Didn’t she have any trust in him to stay faithful?

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