By Lois Lowry. Published 1985.
Anastasia’s absolute rat of a sort-of boyfriend, Steve Harvey, is giving her a problem at school. He keeps calling her names that sound like her name, like anapest and anastomosis. Everyone then calls her those names.
Awesome Mom is having a problem herself. She’s not feeling like an awesome mom. She forgets to take meat out of the freezer, and doesn’t clean very well. She gets sidetracked by her illustrating job. Awesome Dad and Anastasia make a schedule for her and the rest of the family. They think it’s easy.
The first day of the schedule goes well. For the first hour. Then there are some unexpected events. At least she remembered to get dinner out. Anastasia and Awesome Dad spend some time redoing the schedule. Anastasia once again says how easy it is. After reading a letter, Awesome Mom says, okay, Anastasia’s in charge. Awesome Mom has to fly to L.A. the next week for ten days.
Steve Harvey calls her Anaconda. All I can think of is the Big Butts song.
After her first day, there are major changes made to the schedule. Like, the beds don’t need to be made. And Sam doesn’t need a bath every night. And paper plates are fine.
Sam comes down with the chicken pox. And Anastasia has to stay home from school all week to watch him. Seriously, Awesome Dad? You’re slacking here. You might lose your title.
Anastasia perks up when Stave Harvey calls to ask her out on a real date. It’s her first date, and she’s super excited. But Awesome Dad also has a date that night. Annie, his first love, called him up and invited herself over. Awesome Mom has always been a bit prickly when it comes to Annie, so they add this to the list of things they’re not telling her.
But Awesome Dad doesn’t think it would be a good idea for Anastasia to be gone that night. They decide to invite Steve over, and have a dinner party. Anastasia gets to planning.
She decides to cook Ragout de Veau aux Champignons. You just know that’s going to go well. She calls up the grocer, and orders the ingredients to be delivered, along with twenty-one boxes of baking soda, for Sam’s baths, and purple dye, to dye the tablecloth to match the candles she found. Her color scheme for the evening is purple.
Anastasia tries cooking her meal the day before. She thinks it’s easy. She uses pantyhose in lieu of cheesecloth. Don’t worry, they’re clean. She also dyes the tablecloth in the washing machine, and then gets purple all over her arms.
The evening does not go well. Steve acts like a thirteen-year-old boy, of course. And not the Logan Bruno kind. And Annie has changed from a fair, quiet girl into a loud, brash woman. She makes fun of Anastasia’s glasses, and calls Sam Sambo. But the food is actually pretty good. She just didn’t take out the veal marrow and knucklebones in the pantyhose bag. Yummy. And then, at the end of the evening, Awesome Dad comes down with chicken pox.
The next day, Anastasia pretty much has a breakdown over the aftermath of the dinner party. There are dirty dishes stacked up, she dyed Awesome Dad’s shirts purple, and none of the other housekeeping chores have gotten done all week. She ends up calling Awesome Mom, who wanted to leave anyway. She comes home, and fixes everything in about three hours.
They buy a microwave, and tear up all the schedules.
o Anastasia hate-watches the Miss America pageant every year. Hate-watching before hate-watching was cool.
o Anastasia gets super pissed when she finds out Laurence Olivier is actually old in current time. She thought he would be a great first date.