Claudia and Mean Janine (RS#7)

Original Publication Date: 1987

Ghostwriter? No


Claudia and Janine have a tense relationship. I think they're both intimidated by each other. Claudia is popular, Janine is brilliant. They're also very short with each other, somewhat watching for each other to screw up. After a particular fight, Mimi goes to bed early and has a stroke. Claudia blames herself, a theme that will recur with her story lines. Mimi starts a slow road to recovery, her right hand and leg partially paralyzed. There's a part I've always found sad, more since I learned (and love) to knit, where Claudia finds Mimi's knitting needles and yarn in a bag stashed in a closet.

Meanwhile, the BSC is hosting a summer play group, charging a whopping $3 per morning for each kid. Had I any kids, I'd take advantage of that steal for a morning or two.

Claudia and Janine do end talking about how they both feel like the other is the family's favorite. They are getting along by the end of the book, but don't expect their new-found understanding to last.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls:

Claudia candy: cupcakes in her desk drawer, licorice in her pencil case, M&Ms in her jewelry box, gumdrops.

Claudia still seems insecure: she thinks her mom finds her difficult to deal with and describes herself as a pain when going over her family dynamic. She thinks she's a disappointment to her parents.

Claudia had an enemy in fourth grade named Beverly McManiman.

Mary Anne wants to be a teacher.

Their Families:

According to the book, Janine makes fun of Claudia for not being smart, but I don't think we actually read about particular instances very often. It seems more like both are impatient with each other: Claudia doesn't want to admit that doesn't understand what Janine says and will finally say something like "Speak English!" and Janine gets upset at Claudia's reaction. And Janine does come off sounding like a show off. I speak (and try to write) with proper grammar, but I also avoid purposely using words that people don't understand. It's important to remember that you should never use a large word when a diminutive one will suffice.

Claudia's grandfather still died before she was born; good continuity.

Claudia's father is a partner at an investment firm and her mother is the head librarian, but she doesn't like Claudia to read Nancy Drew. I like the theory that her parents let her think that so she would be more encouraged to read, for the thrill of sneaking it around, you know?

Aunt Peaches and Uncle Russ don't visit Mimi. I thought they lived close-ish? Close enough to visit if Peaches's mother is in a coma.

The Club: Nothing new

SMS: Summer vacation!

PSA time (yes, new category):

Very, very smart, Janine. It's a brilliant idea to send someone to wait for the ambulance. Even though it may be obvious which house, how will they know which room?


They do a good job "introducing" us to the idea of Mallory being in the BSC. She helps with the playgroup in this book, and she'll also help in #8.

Is it accurate that Mimi would be "white as a sheet" after having a stroke? My dad said his mom was grey. This might sound racist, but I am curious, because Mimi is Japanese and my grandmother was Scots-Irish (like Stacey, if I recall).

The kids in the play group make get well cards for Mimi. I wonder if Claudia realizes how badly misspelled they are.

The numbers:

BSC Fights: 2

Teachers: 4 (3 7th grade, 1 elective)

Students: seventeen 7th graders, four 8th graders

Clients: 9

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 17 (bubble gum, butterscotch candy, a chocolate bar, Ding-Dongs, cupcakes, gumdrops, Ho Hos, jawbreakers, licorice, licorice whips, peanut M&Ms, regular M$Ms, Ring Dings, root beer barrels, salt water taffy, Snickers, Twinkies, Lifesavers)

Crushes: Claudia-1 (Trevor Sandbourne), Stacey-2 (Pete Black, Sam Thomas)


ali said...

Do Peaches and Russ move to Stoneybrook later? Whether they live locally or not, I would think they'd make the effort to visit Mimi.

"It's important to remember that you should never use a large word when a diminutive one will suffice."

Hmm, I like that.

BSC AG said...

They do move to Stoneybrook later, but I think they were within a days' drive. I'll find out when I read #78!

Sadako said...

I like it, too, ali.

I also always thought Claudia was the mean one here...Janine was more or less nice if a bit brainy and perhaps a bit socially awkward/reserved. But Claudia would bite off her head every time she tried to be even vaguely nice...no wonder she kept retreating.

BSC AG said...

Sadako: Claudia is far from blameless, yes. But Janine does seem to egg her on at times, at least in this book. There's a difference between not being afraid to show that you are smart and actually showing off, which is how it seems when Janine refuses to speak in terms that Claudia would understand. Now, in Janine's defense, Claudia doesn't ask her nicely, just yells at her to speak English.

charmecia said...

claudia was a bitch in this book(and i like claudia too). Poor Janine always has to be the family's little guinea pig and puppet,not even getting to have much of a life either.

this reminds me of helga and olga's relationship in hey arnold.

poor mimi had to suffer a stroke
all thanks to claudia being a bitch.

i hated claudia in this book.
loved the louie scene where Louie gets a bath though.

Raym said...

I agree with Charmecia. Claudia was being such a brat in this book. Janine didn't really do anything wrong. Every time Claudia blamed Janine for not helping out or something I was like Janine is right, Claudia never asked or didn't give her time to do anything before bitching at her.

SJSiff said...

It is a realistic sibling relationship, if nothing else! :)