Category Archives: young adult

Dawn and the Not-So-Impossible Three (Baby Sitters Club # Five)

This is the first Dawn book. As she pedals to her next job, Dawn informs us that she’s the newest member of the BSC, and that the club is the most important thing in her life. Not school, or family, but the club. Dawn is from California. California is awesome. Connecticut sucks, because it’s too cold. Dawn talks to the meteorologists every day. Sounds like she’s a bit crazy.

Speaking of crazy, Dawn’s job today is at the Pikes, the family with the metric ton of children. However, only half of the clan will be home. Mrs. Pike is heading to a trustee meeting – how does she have time to do anything with all of these kids? Dawn tells us that Mrs. Pike is super-organized, “a baby-sitter’s dream.” A bite-sized version of Foreshadowing skates across the hall tiles.

Dawn tells Mrs. Pike she has a BSC meeting at 5:30, which gives her leave to recap the club members and what they’re like. She leaves Mary Anne for last because she’s Dawn’s new best friend. And their parents, who were high school sweethearts, are dating again.

Mrs. Pike tells Dawn that one of the kids is playing at the Barretts, a family Dawn doesn’t know. Mrs. Pike tells her that Mrs. Barrett is “very relaxed,” and the kids go back and forth between the Barretts all the time.

Baby-sitting happens. Dawn is asked about her “new-old” house, which is from 1795, and it’s dark, and narrow, and you have to duck if you’re tall, but gee golly wow, so much history! Mallory, the older Pike, is all ears about Dawn’s mom and her dating escapades. Dawn doesn’t know the whole story about why they broke up, but she does known that her parents were unhappy together and got divorced. Mrs. Schafer is crazy – not “nasty crazy,” more ditzy, seems like. But, Dawn, what is nasty crazy? Is that a Cali thing, like “hella?”

Anyway, the musing is interrupted by the Barretts making their first appearance, Suzi with a skinned knee. Dawn takes care of it and the kids stay and hang out.

As Dawn is in her driveway, Mary Anne runs up and says she has “great news.” Ooh, what? Kristy came out? Claudia can spell?

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Breaking Dawn, or, suspend even MORE of your disbelief!

It’s been a while, readers, I know. I avoided this book for a long time, but then I realized what an utter DISSERVICE I’ve been doing you by not telling you how this drivel ends!

Are ya strapped in? Because this shit is, as the kids say, wack.

The first part is told in Bella’s point of view, as before. She is a whiny git, like always. She’s getting married to Edward, and she doesn’t want the fuss and she doesn’t want a fancy armored car (even though, as you recall, she’s accident-prone. Edward isn’t taking any chances of her untimely death). Her parents don’t seem to throw too much of a fight at her wedding extremely young, even though Bella’s dad said that her mom would probably be pissed. Jacob shows up last-minute at the reception and dances with her in the backyard, and then he gets upset, because he knows what’s coming. And then Jacob takes off into the woods before he can throat-punch Edward . . . with his werewolf mouth.

Anyway, once they’re married, Bella was intent on Edward turning her into a vampire right away, even though he was hesitant. But then, they have sex, and she is an addict. Here’s my first flag – he’s dead, right? He is a vampire, therefore has no blood. How does he get an erection? NOT POSSIBLE. She wakes up the next morning with bruises all over her body. I think you’d have internal bleeding, too. Or at least frostbite!

Edward is concerned that he has hurt her and refuses to do her again, but she eventually wears him down. And then she’s suddenly ravenous all the time, and then exhausted enough to sleep for twelve hours at a clip . . . oh, and keeps having all these weird dreams with a demon child and dead bodies everywhere. Then she starts puking.

It’s only been five days, but she’s pregnant. Second red flag . . . he’s DEAD, right? How does he still have semen? The “workaround” from Meyer is that no one knows for sure because usually male vampires are with female vampires and since their bodies are frozen in time, they wouldn’t be able to accommodate a fetus, therefore, it’s an anomaly. Whatever. That seems TOO easy.

They pack and leave their idyllic isle hideaway to return to Forks. Edward and Carlisle want her to get rid of it, but Bella is having none of it. Even though she never really wanted kids in the first place, she ain’t abortin’ this demon baby. She calls Rosalie and begs for help.

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Calling All Girls – Is there anyone out there?

I’m back with another issue of Calling All Girls; this is Volume 31 from 1944.

Did you know that Tootsie Rolls give you energy? It’s true! Apparently, they even made a drink similar to Ovaltine . . .
tootsie

It’s summer, junior housekeeper, and the temperature is rising. Let’s make something cool to eat, like . . . a molded salad! I still don’t understand the fascination with Jell-o salads. This one, quite frankly, sounds disgusting.
jello anyone
Tomato soup, lemon jello, cottage cheese? I like all of these things, but not together. This is a VomitComet waiting to happen.

An advertisement for paper that still manages to be sexist. Remember, good letter writers get boys!
yay sexism

The war is on, young ladies, and you still want to go out, without your best male escort. Whatever shall you do?
without comment

Finally, a portion of an advertisement for Lux laundry soap.
i sure hope so

Um, I sure hope so!!

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Calling All Girls – Is Anyone Listening?

Back in 1941, Parents Magazine developed a magazine for teenage girls entitled Calling All Girls. It changed names several times, and if you’re around my age (early thirties) you might remember it as YM (which originally stood for Young Miss before it was changed to Young & Modern).

Calling All Girls, in addition to self-help type articles, had stories and even comics, usually about women taking charge. Fashion was also a big part of the magazine, but unlike today, it showed you how to make it by yourself (perhaps with an inexpensive McCall’s pattern).

Anyway, this magazine, born during the Second World War, has a very can-do spirit about it, but yet, of course, there are some things that fall a bit flat. Let’s take a look at Volume 10 from 1942.

The first comic, “Daughter of Free France,” tells the story of Eve Curie, daughter of Marie Curie, who, instead of science, embraced a life of intrigue as a journalist. In several panels, the comic portrays her different experiences, and then she comes to America . . .

curie

Yes, America, where only good-looking people have a voice.

Next up, we have a story called “On the Hoof,” where a girl, taking care of the family stables while her father is away, is attempting to catch a man who is misusing the horses as hunting animals. A male friend of hers helps her with his camera. So, he is the one who gets most of the evidence, although she does find a wounded bird where she thought the hunter was going. The only really obnoxious thing in this story is this little paragraph:

nocalls

How dare you try to ask a business question, you hussy?

More to come!

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The “Truth” About the Toy Industry, Reprise (Part Fourteen)

Chapter 14 – Where Do We Go From Here? I’m not gonna go through this paragraph by paragraph, as I did the other thirteen chapters. Because it’s mostly the same shit. However, there are a few more loony bits I’d like to share before we close Turmoil in the Toybox for good.

Phillips claims that, after the Lord spoke to him and he listened, he did not go right out and begin spouting that toys are “bad.” Instead, he “researched” the subject. “The more I researched, the more I saw the ‘tentacles’ tying to different subjects.” Cthulhu fhtagn.

Apparently, god gave man children so that he would feel a sense of responsibility. I thought it was to populate the Earth, but I’m a heathen.

Children conform to the peer group they are in. Therefore, you should ensure that your child’s peer group has similar values to your child. “It is OK to allow your children to play in the neighborhood. However, I would discourage my child from spending the night at someone’s house where the parents or guardians are not Christians.” Hmm. You DO realize how quickly that sentence could become even more dangerous, yes?

He gives parents a list of Twelve Forbidden Practices (oooohhhhhh) for them to peruse – with Bonus Bible Verses! – and then, armed with this knowledge, he encourages them to watch the programs the children are watching. “You will be appalled at what you see. You will be moved to seek the lord on behalf of our little ones.”

Phillips also tells parents to educate themselves about the New Age Movement, and Humanism, which is now infiltrating the public schools. Okay, I’ve gotta quote this whole thing, because it’s just too good not to do so:

Parents should know enough about the New Age Movement to understand that when their children come home and say they had to write a paper on ‘death,’ that this is a Humanistic way of values clarification. Schools should not be focusing on death, especially at the younger grade levels. Some schools even have sixth graders write their own wills and suicide notes. This is secular Humanistic education.

Suicide notes?? Where did he COME from, and why doesn’t he go away?

He doesn’t believe in evolution, either. Are we really surprised by this, though?

Remember, the battle is the lord’s. I say, then let him deal with it, and I’ll keep my She-Ra and Cabbage Patch Dolls.

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The “Truth” About the Toy Industry, Reprise (Part Thirteen)

Chapter 13 – Monkey See, Monkey Do. “Do as I say, not as I do.” Many parents today are showing this by their actions, without having to verbalize this statement.

Television violence rarely shows consequences, leading impressionable children to imitate actions they see. He quotes from an article in the National Federation for Decency Journal (which is the American Family Association now – no wonder I couldn’t find anything the last time), which talks about a gifted student, with no (obvious) discipline problems, who came into school, guns blazing, and shot two other students before offing herself. Of course, they posit that perhaps the blame lies with television.

On TV, when people get shot in the head, it’s never depicted realistically. Yes, this is still true, for the most part, to get around Standards and Practices; we still see characters, supposedly dead from gunshot wounds to the head, with a trickle of blood descending from the temple, or a mini-puddle on the floor. “Since children believe what they see on television is true, they do not fully comprehend the consequences of shooting someone,” Phillips whines. I have two thoughts in response. Point the first – would you rather a young, impressionable child see the realistic, gory aftermath of such a wound, with gray matter and liberal blood spatter? Point the second – this is a perfect opportunity for A Teaching Moment; a parent can explain how such things would work in “real life,” to a child’s understanding. Of course, I’m assuming that you don’t just plant your child in front of the set, hoping that the twitchy glow will cause them to sprout.

The coyote from the Roadrunner cartoons never dies! Um, can you name a cartoon from this era where any of the characters died?

He brings up He-Man again, and again, feels the need to stress that it is unacceptable for children, in his view. However, he says, some parents feel that it different from other cartoons because it shows consequences. “If he gets hit on the jaw, He-Man says, ‘Boy, that hurt. I should try something different next time.'” That is not a Phillips quote, by the way, lest you think he’s going soft on us.

TV criminals do go to jail, but then plea bargain for lesser sentences. These are not “accurate” consequences. Riiight, because that never happens in reality. Adults are only shown running or fighting when faced with dilemmas – is this what we want children learning? We should be using logic, and reason – wait, what about prayer, and fasting? Am I still reading the same book?

He quotes an article from Ladies Home Journal that discusses a possible link between childhood viewing habits and adult criminality. Apparently, it was a 22-year study done by two psychology professors at the University of Illinois, who surveyed a 3rd grade class’ viewing habits, and then revisited the participants when they turned 30. “Of those with criminal records,” the article states, “the ones who had watched more TV violence as children were convicted as adults of crimes significantly more violent than others from the same classrooms.” But can one make such a quick and dirty conclusion as this? There are so many other factors at possible play here. At any rate, I have no idea why Phillips cites this article about the study, as the very blurb he quotes from says that one of the professors who led the study would not say that TV violence was the sole factor responsible.

Ugh, and then he starts extrapolating why TV might beget violence and THIS is where you start thinking like a rational person, sir? Ten pages from the close of your book? Gimme a break. We’re done here.

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It came from the 1960s! (Life Cycle Library, Part Two)

Chapter 17 – How to Keep a Conversation Going. Conversation is an “adventure,” a “passport” to making new friends. I think they’re overdoing it a little bit, don’t you? The ability to converse with all types of people can be learned. They liken it to a recipe; just like making a cake, there are several ingredients. “Three of the most important are simple courtesy, honesty, and oddly enough, listening.” What about the eggs?

Courtesy is letting everyone have her say, and express her ideas. It’s only fair, as they just might be right! This facet of conversation is especially important when dealing with your parents, EveryTeen. Hear them out; don’t be disagreeable or fight back. They are absolutely right in barring you from dating that black boy down the hill. I don’t care how nice you say he is, no daughter of MINE . . .

Learn to listen. Know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. And be honest, lest the “conversational cake” fall flat. (They are way too invested with this food metaphor). The best way to make friends, of course, is to be too honest. Be forthright about your institutionalized brother, even if there is no rhyme or reason to bringing it up in the course of conversation. And, if you cause the person you’re talking to to back away, well, you didn’t want to be friends with them anyway, amIright?

It’s simple to “bake a conversation cake” (ugh, enough.is.ENOUGH.with the fucking cake), but occasionally we have instances where we become tongue-tied, “when it seems that only possible thing to do is to stare out the window or up at the sky.” Are those my only options? Continue reading

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