Original Publication Date: 1998
Ghostwriter? Yes, Jeanne Betancourt.
This diary is mainly about Maggie's dabbling in anorexia. I wouldn't go so far as to say that she has a full-blown case, because things get resolved too quickly for that, but she certainly shows a lot of alarming signs. Her goal weight is unhealthy for her height, and her obsession with food and fats goes beyond just wanting to eat healthy, and she quickly shows signs of the beginnings of malnurishment like headaches and exhaustion. There's also the fact that her dad is controlling while her mom is out of control, and it's common for people who have little say in other matters to develop eating disorders because eating is one thing they can be in charge of.
What finally gets through to Maggie is her mother's worsening alcoholism. The drinking is impacting more and more of her life, and almost messes up a charity benefit that Maggie had been helping her with (for an animal shelter Maggie helps at). She also disappears a few times overnight. Then she stumbles in drunk and shatters a crystal angel statue which had always been comforting to Maggie. Her mother declares that she doesn't have a problem, but her father counters that there are several problems in the family, and mentions Maggie's dieting. Maggie catches herself about to deny it exactly like her mother did. I wouldn't say the book ends on a happy note, because the problems are still there despite being brought to light, and others, like the way Maggie and her brother feel like they can never please their parents, are still hidden.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Ducky):
Dawn's in Connecticut for this book, which is consistent with the other books that take place around now.
There are some bittersweet moments between Maggie and her younger brother Zeke. Sweet in that they're bonding and supporting each other, bitter in that it's because of their father's controlling attitude and their mother's drinking. (Zeke is at a tennis camp for most of the diary)
If you are concerned with your weight, it's best to discuss diet plans with a doctor or other medical professional.
Generally it's rude to comment on what someone is or isn't eating (for example, Justin made too big a deal of Maggie not wanting butter and salt on her popcorn; that could just be a taste issue), but if you have legitmate concerns about a person's health then it's worth it to have a talk.
Wash your hands after handling reptiles; some can carry salmonella.
This book takes place in the second half of July.
Starting 8th grade: 9
Halloweens in 8th grade: 6 (plus one in seventh)
Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 3
Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate, not just reference): Christmas-3, Hanukkah-1, Kwanzaa-2
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 3
Summers after 8th grade: 10
BSC Fights: 11
SMS Staff and Faculty: 67
Students (other than the BSC): 209: 119 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 26 7th graders, 47 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.
Clients: 37 families
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 130