Friday, June 6, 2014

The Baby-Sitters Club Portrait Collection: Kristy's Book


I think I have all of these books except for maybe the Abby one, so I'm surprised I haven't recapped any of them. SMS launches a new school project, where every student in eighth grade must write their autobiography. They have to pick three or so major memories or events that had a lasting impact on them, so here's Kristy's memories.

Her first one came when she was a little kid. Kristy, Claudia, and Mary-Anne decided to build a snowman on their front lawn. One of their neighbors thought it was cute, so they decided to build one for her. She gave them money, which they put aside to buy a present for Mimi. She overheard and told some other neighbors, who all hired them to build more snowmen. They used the money to buy her a scarf, which Mimi wore every winter until she died.

When she gets a little older, Kristy realizes that she gets the shaft when compared to her brothers. She has to go to bed earlier, can't play with them outside, and generally gets treated like a baby. One day, the boys decide to go see Car Man, some new flick, with their friends. Kristy lies and tells them that her mom said she could go with them. Elizabeth shows up in the middle of the movie and makes her go home.

Her dad takes the boys to see the movie the next night, while she has to stay home with her mom. Kristy really wants to know how the movie ends, so she enlists her friends for help. They start playing Car Man with some toy cars, and the boys come home. She tricks them into playing with them, and the boys reenact the last scenes, showing her how the movie ends.

After Patrick leaves, the kids have more responsibilities around the house. Louis gets sprayed by a skunk, so they need to give him a bath. Kristy knocks over a bunch of stuff while looking for tomato juice, and all the kids (Kristy, Charlie, Sam, Claudia, and Mary-Anne) all accidentally get locked in the bathroom. Elizabeth comes home, lets them out, and gives them a bunch more things to do around the house so they aren't always running wild.

Kristy then gets to go to a softball summer camp for girls. She doesn't get the position she wants because a girl from the previous season gets it. The camp divides all the players into two teams for practice, but they all play together against other camps. They launch a major prank war that ends when their coach quits because she can't handle their constant fights. The girls all agree to work together, she comes back, and Kristy becomes best friend with the girl who got her position.

There's also a few chapters about Patrick. He comes back to town, tracks down Kristy, and asks to spend time with her, but he doesn't want her to tell any of her siblings or even her mom that he's there. He constantly talks down about her mom and how she's too controlling. She has to lie to her family and friends about where she's going, and she really wants to tell her mom that he's back.

He gives her a new glove as a gift, but she notices that it's for the wrong hand. She doesn't tell him, but it makes her realize that her dad doesn't really know her. Watson ends up running into her in town, and she flips out about him following her. When she makes plans to see her dad again, he never shows up. He checked out of his hotel and disappeared. She tries to exchange the glove, and learns that it was a gift he won at some banquet. Kristy tells her mom about what happened, and Watson gives her a new glove, making her realize that she has a dad who loves her and cares about her.

*I guess the Patrick story was in the BSC movie? I actually haven't seen that since it came out on video. I keep seeing it in the bargain bins, and I should really grab a copy before it winds up going out of print. Maybe I'll even do a review! I definitely want to recap the television episodes.

*Patrick is such a dick! Elizabeth literally found out that he left her when he didn't come home one night and she called his work the next day. His boss had to tell her that he "headed west."

*She goes back to work full-time after he leaves, and this book makes it out like she hadn't worked in years. Seems hard to believe that a sports writer could make enough to support a family that size.

*Nannie tells her that she started walking when her brothers were playing baseball. A ball flew across the yard, and Kristy literally stood up and ran to it. Of course she did.

*Kristy's mom and grandmother decide to go out one morning and naturally assume that she can watch the kids for them. Does anyone in this town actually spend time with their kids?

*Andrew loves the story of Car Man so much that he tries to climb in Emily Michelle's play car. They act like he's way too big, but he's only four. Would a four year old really be too big for a toddler car?

*Charlie also makes him a hat with a toy car stuck to it so he can be Car Man, and Karen acts like the villain of the movie. Couldn't they just buy them a copy of the movie?

*Elizabeth assigns them jobs and tasks around the house after the Louis situation, but in the very first book, it doesn't really seem like Kristy and her brothers have to do much around the house except take care of Louis and David Michael.

*Elizabeth constantly watches over the kids when Patrick is around, but Kristy walks in one day, says she's going across the street, and Elizabeth doesn't think twice, which is when she sneaks out to the movies. Nice parenting there mom.

*There's also a mention of how Patrick would sometimes not come home at night for work, which is similar to something Dawn says about her dad in her book. Does anyone else think these guys were cheating on their wives?

*Kristy was almost born during a Yankees game. She kind of blames her dad for making her go even though her mom wanted to see the game.

*Kristy divides the Krushers into two teams for practices, but she notices that they start fighting a little. She sits them down at the end and tells them about her camp experience so they'll work together. Seems like something she would have done earlier.

*At the beginning of the book, Kristy skips a Krushers practice to work on her autobiography. Who the heck is working with the team if she isn't there?

*I swear that when they go to camp, Kristy says that she never went before and it was her first time.

*Ahem, I do believe that Charlie is younger in this book than Jessi and Mal are, and he has full control over the kids without any limitation as to when he can sit.

*Also, Elizabeth hired other sitters. That was the whole point of the first book and why Kristy came up with the idea. In this book, she just lets them run wild with Charlie in charge.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Eternal Enemy (Christopher Pike)


Rela is the adopted daughter of a minister who has a huge crush on a guy named Chris. At the beginning of The Eternal Enemy, she decides to buy a VCR from Circuit City (ha-ha!) to use at a big party she wants to throw. The cashier, Ed, finds her super attractive, which leads to him accepting a post-dated check from her just so she can buy a better VCR than she can afford. Though he asks her out, she turns him down because of Chris.

Her best friend, Stacey, wants her to ask Chris to her party, but she does let her know that he's been spending a lot of time with this hot girl Debbie. Rela can't work up the nerve to ask him, but Stacey does it for her. He asks her after calculus class if it's okay that he comes to the party and if he can bring a friend.

Real decides to set up the VCR to take an old alien movie that she loved as a kid, but she doesn't look at the tape after recording it. Cut to her party when she puts on the tape. She sees static and the news, gets freaked out, and turns off the tape. Chris goes with her to Blockbuster (ha-ha again!) to rent some new tapes. She also manages to cut her finger while talking to Chris and cutting vegetables and he takes care of her. He also tells her that Debbie is new to town and his cousin before he asks her out on a date.

She can't stop thinking about the tape and finally sits down to watch it. She somehow managed to tape the news, but she thinks it's odd that the newscaster keeps talking about football scores. It takes her awhile, but she finally realizes that she taped the future. She proves it to herself by making a bet with her father about the score of the football game he's watching. Real ends up winning $500 from him right before her date with Chris.

Their date goes pretty well, and he seems to like her. He talks a lot about how he loves computers and is really good with any type of technology. Chris even makes money repairing electronics for companies in town. She starts to tell him about the VCR, but changes her mind and tells him about a dream she had where he was sitting in front of a computer and mapping the human brain. Though she wants to tell him more about that dream and another dream she had about him, she stops because she doesn't want to scare him off.

Rela starts having a series of odd dreams. She sees herself in a hospital with a vial of green liquid nearby, she sees someone injecting her with the liquid, and she keeps waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. After seeing another report that she recorded, she decides to take the $500 and head to Vegas. She finds someone willing to make a bet for her, and she wins $20,000+. The next report shows a group of window washers dying when their equipment breaks, and she realizes that she should use the tapes to save their lives.

This leads to her flying to San Francisco, but she only ends up saving one of the people. She tries to see Christopher, but he wants to hook her up to this new electromagnetic wave thing that he created. As soon as he tries, she freaks out and runs away for reasons she can't explain. She then has another dream of waking up in California with no memory of her former life and meeting the man who would eventually introduce her to her father.

A few days later, she hears someone knocking on her front door. It scares her so much that she literally starts shaking, but she can't explain why. Her father comes home and finds no one there. She watches the next news report, and it's all about her and how her father found her dead body in his house. She goes to her job at the library and tries to figure out what to do when she meets a man in a strange gray sweatsuit with odd eyes. The man talks to her and gives her the chills.

Rela calls Ed, tells him that someone is stalking her, and asks for his help. He agrees to meet her in a coffee shop after work and follow her home. He'll even stay the night if she wants. She then decides to call Christopher and finally tell him what's going on. When she reveals that she needs the VCR and a tape, he agrees to meet her at her house. They find all the windows and doors sealed shut, which they both think is strange.

When she watches the video, it's changed to show Christopher dead. She runs downstairs, Christopher seems weird, and then he passes out on the floor. All the lights go out in the house, and the man from the library appears on her doorstep. She makes him promise that Christopher will be all right, and he begins talking about her past. Just as he reveals that she's actually a Robotic Experimentation Logistical Algorithm, she remembers that the man is actually her grandfather.

The next part of the book is a little too sci-fi for me, so let's just summarize. Rela remembers that she's actually Sara, the granddaughter of the future Christopher. He named her after a girl he knew in high school who unexpectedly died. The future is pretty terrible. There's nuclear wars, the waters are almost all polluted, and people wait in line hours/days just to get food.

Future Christopher (FC from now on) creates the first cyborg, which somehow lets him see into the future. He discovers that nothing every changes and that no matter what he does, humanity always has a bad end. FC started with a new group, which planned to help the world, but just kept screwing everything up. He tells Sara all this, including a bunch of technobabble that made my head hurt. She decides to kill herself and have him make her cyborg so she can go back in time and end things. Sara always planned on killing Christopher, but when she woke up, she had no memory of her past.

FC (the dude from the library) plans to kill her before she can kill his younger self. He's also a cyborg from the far, far future and knows that humanity never gets any better. There's a knock at the door, and Ed and Stacey shows up. FC somehow manages to convince them that he's a nice guy and Christopher is just taking a nap on the couch. Rela manages to get to the VCR and somehow plug herself into it to record her story. She realizes that she did this all along as a way to make her conscious self realize who she was.

Ed and Stacey leave and FC gets ready to kill her, but Christopher wakes up. She tells him that she loves him, they say goodbye, and she thinks about killing him but can't go through with it. She does tell him that her real name is Sara and asks him to remember her. After he leaves, she finishes recording her story, and FC kills her.

The book cuts to several weeks after her funeral. Her father brings her VCR over to Christopher's house. He talks about finding all the money in her drawer and giving it to his mission, and he tells Christopher that he thinks he should have her VCR. After he leaves, Christopher plugs it in. He watches the story, knows that it's the truth, and vows never to become the man from the future.

Ugh. I really love Christopher Pike books, but the sci-fi books are always a pain to slog through. There was so much scientific stuff in this one that I found myself skimming pages and skipping entire paragraphs. It's nice to know that THC still exists in the future though. It's what they use to wipe people's memories. I should really call my ex and let him know what smoking pot can do to him...