By Ann M. Martin. Published September 1987.
So, obviously, Claudia and her sister Janine do not get along. I don’t think Janine’s mean, though. A little annoying and overly proud of her mad intellectual skills, sure. But not mean. But it rhymes, so what the hell.
One night they get into it over a trivia game they play with Mimi. Janine totally schools Claudia, and Claudia accuses her of cheating. Then Claudia gets on Mimi for her and her parents liking Janine better because she’s smarter. Mimi says she’s tired and goes to her room. A little while later the girls hear a thud, and find Mimi passed out. They find out later at the hospital that she’s had a stroke.
At first Mimi is only able to communicate by blinking her eyes, but she slowly regains her speech, although she confuses English and Japanese. She also has to relearn motor skills, but her right side remains weak. She goes to therapy everyday for all this, first while she’s still at the hospital, and then later as well when she’s allowed to go home. During the mornings, Claudia stays with her and they work on things together.
During all this, the other girls have taken up a venture in a playgroup. It’s held three mornings a week during July, in Stacey’s backyard. All the regular neighborhood kids are there, including Jenny Prezzioso. Last time she was featured, I didn’t think she was too much of a brat, but this time around, I kinda have to agree with the BSC girls. Her mother of course sends her to the playgroup dressed like she’s going to a party. But then she screams about not taking off her shoes or wearing a smock. It’s pretty bratty behavior.
But then Karen, of all people, helps to fix it. She tells everyone that Andrew’s a monster, and Jenny flips out. But when Andrew tells her to wear the smock, she does it. Yay Andrew.
Kristy’s family moves to Watson’s mansion during this time, but we don’t hear much about it. But we do get a chapter where the kids bathe Louie and get him all fixed up for the big move, and it’s actually pretty funny.
Lucy Newton’s christening is held, and of course the girls are there to help out. Jamie has been kind of jealous of Lucy during all the preparations for the party. Towards the end of the party, Claudia catches him about to punch all over Lucy, but he changes his mind and doesn’t. He tells Claudia he was going to, but she’s his sister and he loves her.
Claudia thinks about how Jamie’s parents love them both the same, then realizes her family probably love her and Janine the same as well. She goes home and has a talk with Janine. They discuss how it seems like Janine is too damn busy studying all the time to make time for the family, but it’s just that Claudia jumps in first. And they both feel like their parents like the other one more. So they make up, and it’s lovely. For this book, anyway.
o What kind of a library doesn’t have Nancy Drew books? Although, maybe they don’t anymore.
o I always pronounce iron “eye-ron” in my head because of Mimi and this book.
o Claudia almost hits Janine at one point, raises her hand to do it and everything. Not much is made out of it. But who’s really the mean one here, Claudia?