Book info

Dawn's Big Date (1992)

Dawn's Big Date (1992)
Author
Rating
3.58 of 5 Votes: 2
ISBN
0590449699 (ISBN13: 9780590449694)
languge
English
genre
publisher
scholastic
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Dawn's Big Date (1992)
Dawn's Big Date (1992)

About book: this book opens with dawn & mary anne getting ready for their new year's eve party. mary anne wants to make english muffin pizzas & pigs-in-a-blanket. dawn suggests soybean pie & some other weirdo health food snack. while they make their grocery lists, dawn gets to thinking about how no boy has ever really liked her the way that logan seems to like mary anne. logan's cousin lewis is visiting stoneybrook soon, from louisville. lewis & dawn have been exchanging letters ever since dawn gave up on travis, the older boy. dawn starts plotting to make lewis a test case. if she can get lewis to like her, like really like her, then she can use her newfound skills to find herself a local boyfriend.that night at the sleepover, all the girls make resolutions. kristy vows to turn the krushers into a winning team. mallory promises to be more accepting of her braces. claudia resolves to do better in school. dawn outwardly says that she plans to do more interesting things with her hair--but her secret resolution is to get a boyfriend, & that means somehow finding a way to make boys like her.dawn borrows a stack of teen & fashion magazines from stacey. she starts flipping through them & making notes. she concludes that all of her clothes are too baggy--boys need to see a form if they are to become warm for it. she needs to learn to highlight her features with make-up & be more creative with her hair--but never just pull it all the way back, because supposedly boys don't like that. mary anne pops in while dawn is looking at the magazines. she seems really excited about the idea of giving dawn a makeover. mary anne finds a photo of a model who kind of looks like dawn, but with way more make-up, curly hair, & different clothes. she sets dawn's hair in curlers & borrows sharon's make-up to make dawn over. dawn likes the results, although she feels she doesn't look like herself. she asks mary anne to take a photo so she can send it to lewis.meanwhile, we have our babysitting B plot. this is the reason this book gets three stars instead of four. i like this book a lot, but reading about poor norman hill bums me out. the hills are new clients. they have two kids--nine-year-old sarah & seven-year-old norman. mr. hill ordinarily works from home, but he has a new client & has to take a lot of meetings for a while. the kids' grandmother used to sit for them, but she died recently.dawn gets the first job with the hills, & is a little taken aback by norman. she says he is fat--not husky, not stout, not plump. fat. but he seems like a nice little kid. he claims he has homework & disappears into his room. sarah busts in on him with dawn on her heels, exposing norman's big secret--he eats. a lot. he hoards food in his room (like claudia) & just sits in there & eats. his family knows & they try to stop him when they figure out what he's doing, but norman has gotten really good at hiding his eating. sarah is really mean about it, yelling at him & trying to make him feel like shit. when sarah's friend elizabeth comes over to play, she tells dawn that the kids at school call norman enormous hill. elizabeth thinks this is really clever. dawn tells her it's not funny. she asks norman how he feels about all of this later, after sarah has gone to elizabeth's house. he just shrugs & says he's used to it, but he seems sad.the other sitters also end up with jobs at the hills' house. norman continues to secretly eat, sarah & elizabeth continue to torment him. when mary anne shows up for her first job there (sitting while the hill parents go to the gym, of course), she finds that there are lists of "norman-no" & "norman-yes" foods all over the house. sarah teases norman by drawing insulting pictures of him as a huge hill & as a pig. mary anne suggests that he express his feelings by tearing the pictures up. norman does so & seems to feel a lot better. sarah is angry at first, but seems to develop newfound respect for norman. norman confides that his parents relentlessly focus on his weight. when he brought home an excellent report card, his dad said, "how come a smart kid like you can't lose some weight?" norman also overheard mr. hill say, "norman is so fat, i can't believe he's our son." i find both of these remarks really, really cruel & difficult to read. there are other depictions of child abuse in the babysitters club series, but i think this is seriously the worst.anyway, mary anne suggests that norman talk to his parents & tell them how he feels. the next time a sitter comes to watch the hill kids, all the "norman no" food lists are gone, along with all the tempting sugary snacks & sweets that norman had been binging on. apparently the hills finally pulled their heads out of their asses & realized that if they don't keep cookies & cupcakes in the house, norman won't eat them. norman seems a lot happier, he's getting along better with sarah, & he asks dawn to snap a photo of him to send to his pen pal, brittany. his goal is to pretend he is diabetic like stacey, to avoid being tempted by treats. that way he'll lose weight, avoid a stint in fat camp, & be able to maintain his quasi-romantic pen pal relationship with brittany.kind of frustrating & gross that the bottom line for norman's happiness is still losing weight...but it is true that his binging was unhealthy.anyway, back to dawn. dawn kind of goes nuts with the makeover stuff. she cuts up all her clothes & sews them back together to make them tighter & more stylish. she starts doing weird shit with her hair, like braiding it, gelling it, & unbraiding it so it's all "crinkly" (her word--i personally don't wish for "crinkly" hair, but what do i know?). richard, for one, is not pumped about dawn's transformation, but sharon says it's just a phase. dawn starts mouthing off in class, & horror of horrors, chewing gum! chewing gum is the babysitters club equivalent of shooting heroin with a dirty needle. when dawn stocked up sugarless trident, she may as well have just moved into a flophouse on skid row.by the time lewis comes to visit, the transformation is complete. mary anne has tutored dawn on how to impress boys through conversation, using teen magazines as a guide. dawn's hair is crinkly, her make-up is heavy, & her skirt is poofy with crinoline. lewis seems very nervous meeting her, & she isn't the world's most sparkling conversationalist, despite implementing many of the tips in the magazines. mary anne is very disappointed in dawn, but schedules a double movie date to try to give dawn another chance to impress lewis.the movie date goes even worse than picking up lewis up at the airport went. dawn spills popcorn all over the floor, cries off her eyeliner, can't seem to say anything right. the date ends early & lewis does not seem displeased. but dawn is pissed at mary anne. mary anne kept pinching dawn & bossing her around through the date. dawn thinks it may have gone better without mary anne's interference. she's also upset that mary anne hasn't been critical of dawn's cool kid transformation. her feelings are hurt by the idea that mary anne may think that dawn NEEDED her makeover.after everything gets resolved with norman, dawn realizes that she & norman were in a similar boat. both they & the people around them were too focused on what needed to change about their appearances to appreciate all the good stuff about their real personalities. she calls lewis & asks him out again, one-on-one. she scrubs off her make-up, combs out her hair, puts on normal clothes, & invites lewis over for a health food smorgasbord. dawn acts like herself, & she & lewis have a great time. they agree to see each other again the next evening, & lewis kisses her. they agree to keep writing to each other & try to pull off the long-distance relationship thing. & that's the last we hear of lewis bruno. moral of the story: be yourself. but also don't be fat.

Right after reading: 3 stars for the story, but I had to bump it up a star for all the amazing outfits! Can't wait to "Polyvore" them. :)So this story really deserves like a 2.5 for the actual plot (major fat-shaming going on that I'll get into later) but I just had to bump it up for the outfits. There are a plethora of outfits and Dawn is bringing her A-game in this one, folks. (Too bad she goes back to Cali-casual in the end.)The book starts off on the day before New Year's Eve and Mary Anne & Dawn are getting ready for their epic BSC slumber party, making their grocery list. Dawn wants to make gross vegan (their words, not mine) stuff, of course, like soybean pie and tofu apple nut loaf. Mary Anne goes for the good stuff, like pigs in a blanket (she liked the name lol) and English muffin pizzas. They start talking about Logan and his cousin, Lewis. Remember him? Yeah me neither, hang on let me go look him up. Oh yeah, he shows up after that creepy pedo Travis. Okay, got it.So apparently, Dawn & Lewis have been penpalling it for awhile now and Lewis is finally coming to Stoneybrook. Dawn is excited but super nervous and doesn't think he'll actually like her. I know this sounds like I'm totally insecure, but I'm not. People are always saying what an individual I am. You have be at least somewhat secure to be an individual. Oookay. She makes a resolution to get a boyfriend, even if it means changing herself to do that. (Hello, she already almost did that with Travis?!)Dawn gets a sitting gig for the family du jour, Sarah and Norman Hill. We also, surprisingly, get an update on another family: the Kormans. Apparently Bill & Melody are no longer terrified of the toilet monster. I know you're glad to hear it. So let's talk about the Hills. In Dawn's words: Norman Hill...was fat. (I don't mean to be unkind. There's just no other way to say it. He wasn't stout. He wasn't husky or stocky or pudgy. He was fat.) Okay then. It's going to be like that? On her first sitting job, Norman gorges on cupcakes in his room, eats Hershey Kisses the entire time they watch The Little Mermaid, and eats an early dinner of pb&j sandwich with Oreos and milk. The neighborhood kids call him Enormous Hill and his parents have threatened to send him to fat camp if he doesn't lose 20 pounds.Okay, yeah that's bad and all. But his parents kind of suck. They don't try to figure out WHY he's over-eating. They still bring in all this bad food to the house. He's 7 years old. He doesn't have any self-control. They need to do it for him. Ugh. I hated this storyline.Back at the slumber party, the girls each call a boy at midnight, except Dawn, Jessi, & Mallory. Dawn feels like a loser and makes a second resolution to change herself, to make sure she gets that boyfriend.She starts going thru the fashion mags and Mary Anne agrees (kind of insists) that maybe Dawn could do with a change. She slathers all this makeup on and does her hair in about 50 curlers, then tears a shirt up to make it off-the-shoulder, and takes a sexy new picture to send to Lewis. Dawn is so excited about her new look that she decides to make it permanent, along with an attitude adjustment."Dawn" [the teacher said] "Name two common forms of igneous rock.""Heavy metal and pop," I answered, tossing my hair over my shoulder.She starts tearing up all her clothes, making miniskirts out of sweatpants, more off-the-shoulder tops, and adjusting her jeans. The other girls don't like her new look and attitude, because they're jerks. MA understands though and comes up with this ironic little sentence: "Everyone should be allowed to change. I mean, we're only thirteen. None of us will stay exactly the way we are for the rest of our lives." It's finally time for Lewis to come and we get the best outfit that Dawn has ever worn:Black ballet slippers; black lace capri leggings; a short metallic silver skirt with all this crinoliney stuff underneath that made it poof out; a stretchy, tight, black-and-white-striped top with long sleeves. I'd bought six rubber bangle bracelets, and a new pair of feather earrings that reached down to my shoulder. (I wore both earrings in the two holes in my right ear. I put a pair of small black hoops in the two holes on the left.) This time I didn't set my hair; I piled it on top of my head, then made six braids.Of course, her new look does not mean that their first date goes well. Quite the opposite, in fact. Dawn is so busy trying to act cool that she forgets how to communicate so Mary Anne starts piling all these self-help articles on her, like "You-Directed Conversation" and "Taking Charge of Your First Date" and "Flirting with Flare". Dawn pulls out all the stops on the date, saying Lewis' name every 5 seconds, touching his arm, making creepy eye contact, trying to hold hands in the movie theatre. They go see Gone with the Wind which is a big mistake. Dawn starts crying halfway thru and gets blue and black rivers streaking down her face. It's all a huge fail and it's all Mary Anne's fault. Duh, because it's totally not the crazy outfits.Dawn finally comes to her senses and tells Lewis why she's been dressing like this. He tells her he likes how she used to look and she runs home, washes all the cool out of her hair, throws together some granola lunch, and Lewis finally sees the real Dawn. And surprise surprise, he likes her. Gag me with a spoon. Dawn & Lewis kiss in the end. Is that her first kiss? I can't remember. And he goes back to Kentucky.Reviewed & all 5 outfits at: Give a Hoot Read a Book!!
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Reviews
Laura Hughes
Logan’s cousin Lewis, whom Dawn has been pen-palling since shortly after her dalliance with the older boy, comes for a visit. For some reason, Dawn becomes convinced that Lewis won’t like boring old Dawn, so she begins experimenting with clothes, makeup, and sullenness. Nobody likes "the new Dawn," least of all Lewis, whom she is actually pretty mean to. Standing strong with cliche, she drops her act and "is herself" just in time to have one good date with Lewis before he has to go home.Meanwhile, Dawn is sitting for new clients Norman and Sarah Hill. Norman is overweight and his whole family wants him to slim down. Sarah especially gets into it, blurring the line between encouragement and cruelty. Norman just isn’t interested. Striking about this baby-sitting dilemma is that it’s not wrapped up in a neat little package--Norman doesn’t lose weight, his family doesn’t stop pushing him. Dawn just gets Norman to stand up for himself and Sarah to back down a little. (She’s a charge, too, so she can’t be totally demonized.) There’s also some pat tie-in I can’t quite remember.Dawn’s and Mary Anne’s motivations are both weird here. At first, Dawn seems to be putting on an act as a form of rebellion: Mary Anne seems to be a little too invested in the Dawn/Lewis thing working out, and Dawn isn’t so sure she’ll like Lewis in person. She thinks of him as "a test case" for future boyfriends, but seems on some level to be trying to sabotage the relationship before it starts. But Mary Anne surprises Dawn by going along with her makeover plan, and Dawn gets insecure, wondering if that means she really does need a total face and personality makeover in order to be the remotest bit attractive to a boy and everyone knows it but her. Dawn is simultaneously trying to attract and repel Lewis, and Mary Anne is simultaneously encouraging and disapproving of her methods. The psychological complexity, while interesting, is handled too clunkily to be intentional. I think it’s just sloppiness.How Far Is New York? They drive to La Guardia to pick up Lewis. How do they go all the way to NYC and Mary Anne doesn’t make them stop to look at the Empire State Building or somethingJeff/Byron Report: Jeff is visiting for the holidays and Dawn finds him annoying, but pleasantly so. Mentions are made of his visiting the Pike triplets, and all three sleep over for New Years.Timing: December 30 through the end of January. Lewis comes during his school vacaton, although SMS is in session. How does he have vacation in mid-January?? Surely he had Christmas off too. It just doesn’t add up. Revised Timeline: Same, of eleventh grade
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