Original Publication Date: 1999
Ghostwriter? Yes, Nola Thacker. Special thanks is also given to Robin Dorman.
During dinner one night, the Brewer-Thomas household gets an interesting phone call: it's Patrick, calling to invite Kristy, Sam, and Charlie to his wedding (notice the lack of invitation for David Michael; the reason given is he's too young, but Patrick doesn't even talk to him on the phone). Kristy and Sam are sort of okay with going, but Charlie sees no reason to pretend that he cares much about the man who abandoned the family. Kristy's mom says either all three go, or none of them go. Kristy convinces him to go, and the three siblings head to Sausalito, California.
Once there, they get to meet Patrick's fiancée, Zoey. She's also his boss, the owner of a restaurant where he's a chef (possibly the main one). Patrick does his best to be cheery and upbeat, but has the audacity to be upset with Charlie for not wanting to be co-best man with Sam (not just sad, but pissed). Zoey seems to be more understanding, and to their credit, none of the kids hold Patrick's past against her. Charlie takes every chance he can to get a dig at Patrick, while Sam overcompensates with jokes and Kristy tries awkwardly to smooth things over. She's thrown for a loop, though, when Zoey mentions that she and Patrick want to have kids. She has two competing thoughts: if Patrick likes kids and wants a family, why wasn't hers good enough; and does Zoey really know how Patrick abandoned his first family.
Things come to head just before the rehearsal dinner, when Patrick jumps on Charlie for his negativity and Charlie responds by calling Patrick out for what he'd done. Patrick tries to pass the buck, blaming the kids for not keeping in touch and the fear that Elizabeth would make things awkward for not visiting. Kristy and Charlie both put Patrick in his place, and Sam tries to calm things down. Patrick ends up going to the dinner alone, and the kids come to terms with the fact that Patrick will never be a father to them, and it's not their fault. They go ahead to the dinner (and wedding, of course) but more for Zoey than for Patrick. The night before the wedding, Kristy talks with Zoey to make sure she knows Patrick's past. She does, and is convinced that seeing what he's missed with Kristy and her brothers will prevent him from making the same mistake twice. The wedding goes well, and Kristy, Sam, and Charlie head back to Connecticut for the remainder of the summer.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: none mentioned (Claudia's only in the book for a couple paragraphs)
Kristy considers herself a veteran of weddings, having been to three. I guess that's a lot for some people, but my two-and-a-half-year-old's already been to three.
Kristy says she has only one dress, so she must have gotten rid of a couple.
The company Watson work with is Unity Insurance.
Nannie holds her tongue regarding her opinion of Patrick, which I think is a good move on her part. While he hurt her daughter tremendously and did something rotten to her grandkids, he's still their father.
David Michael is still excellent at whining, just like back in the first BSC books.
There are some nice memories of how Kristy and her older brothers pulled together after Patrick left.
Both Charlie and Patrick watch baseball games on TV with the sound muted and the radio on for the commentary. My dad does that with baseball games, and football, too.
Kristy's paternal grandparents died before she was born...but I swear there was a mention of a grandmother who wasn't Nannie in another book. At least, the woman was referred to as Grandma rather than Nannie. She also mentions Ray, Patrick's brother who seems to have had even less contact with the family than Patrick.
The Club (and clients):
There's just a brief mention of a meeting discussing plans for Kristy's weeklong absence.
SMS: summer vacation.
The book's moral seems to be that if you quit when things are tough, you'll miss out on so many great things.
Mary Anne's right; holding a pet is good way to reduce stress (well, a compliant pet that you're not allergic to). Stroking a dog or cat has been shown to lower blood pressure.
One of my uncles used to live in the area that Kristy's father does in the book, with a house reminiscent of the description Kristy gives (his name is similar, too, but he's never been married and certainly hasn't abandoned any children). I picture his old house when I read this book.
Although, because of the above, when Kristy mentions wearing jeans out and about in August, I know that she'd be too hot. I've stayed at my uncle's old house in August before. San Francisco...you might get away with it because the fog cools things down, but in Sausalito shorts are a better bet. Ha! And then she and Zoey pick out a dress made of velvet for the wedding. Enjoy sweating, Kristy (sorry, Madame Noelle: glowing).
Geez, does everyone play first base in BSC-land? Any time someone's position is mentioned, it's first. There are eight other positions in baseball! Nine in softball (two centerfields, right and left CF).
Starting 8th grade: 11
Halloweens in 8th grade: 6 (plus one in seventh)
Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 4
Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate in the plot of a book, not just reference): Christmas-5, Hanukkah-2, Kwanzaa-3
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 5
St. Patrick's Days in 8th grade: 1
Summers after 8th grade: 12
BSC Fights: 13
SMS Staff and Faculty: 68
Students (other than the BSC): 213: 119 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 30 7th graders, 48 6th graders, 16 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.
Clients: 38 families
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 149