Wednesday, February 3, 2010

California Diaries #2 Sunny

So I'm a dumb ho. It took me until just a few months ago to realize that I can sign up through my crappy library for online ordering, which means that I can place holds on books in any library in our system (which has something like 60 libraries), and I can do it without ever having to move from my bed or talk to a librarian and admit I'm reserving and ordering Baby-sitters Club books. Therefore, my blogging choices are pretty much unlimited; I just remember a book I loved as a child, place a hold online, and in a few days I get a little email telling me to get my ho ass to the library to come get it (I wish the email literally said that, it would make my day). So now I can finally work my way towards finishing the California Diaries - I'm dying to make fun of Ducky, and you know I love that ho Maggie.

I LOVE Sunny. It's kind of hard to snark on her because she does it herself, and she's also dealing with her pain in a very real way. She's not a dumb bitch like Dawn, that's for sure. Her life legitimately is suck-tastic and she has a lot of heavy shit to deal with that's way more traumatizing than having to go to a different school. Okay, so she's an avoider when it comes to her problems, but shit, I think we can cut her some slack. Too bad bitchface Dawn won't.

Sunny opens up her diary with her insomnia. Bitch needs some Simply Sleep. She can't sleep because her mom is back in the hospital with a cough, which means that the chemo and radiation have to be stopped until she gets better. Also, her dad divides his time between being with her mom and overseeing their bookstore, leaving no time for Sunny. All right, I can see this from both ways. The poor man has to be with his sick wife, that much Sunny doesn't fault him for. But she doesn't seem to understand that he needs to work to pay for what I'm sure are astronomical medical bills, as well as the normal bills. But then, from what I'd think Sunny's viewpoint is, one parent is not there due to sickness and she's scared and needs the other one to comfort her and he's not there, either - but it seems to her by choice. She's 13 and not old or mature enough to understand the adult responsibilities.

She talks about her friends. She doesn't understand why Dawn is such a little whiner about being in high school a year early because she thinks it's cool to be with the older kids. She says Jill makes her sick and she flashes her belly ring at her at school just to shock her. I love Sunny. Maggie used to be cool but now has become a perfectionist. She worries that her mom switching from wearing a wig to just wearing scarves on her head is a sign of her giving up. I can't imagine that feeling, and hope I never find out.

The next day Sunny cuts school during lunch to go visit her mom in the hospital. I'm pretty sure she didn't have to cut, if she told the principal she needed to leave and why he'd probably let her. Anyway, her mom looks awful. Sunny is leaving but sees her mom's doctor in the hall. She listens outside the door and finds out that her mom's lungs seem to be clearing up, however a new lump was found that will need to be tested. Sunny flees and heads back for school.

So in social studies or history or whatever her teacher calls on her and since she is writing in her journal she isn't paying attention. He asks her to stay after class and when she does asks her why she was late coming to class and why she can't focus. Sunny blurts out that her mom is dying of cancer and her teacher is shocked, saying he knew she was sick but not that it was that bad. Sunny immediately feels guilt because she doesn't want to use her mom as an excuse, and also I think because it's the first time she's admitted to herself that her mom could be dying. Sunny's a trooper, you know Dawn's ho ass probably told every teacher that Carol was pregnant just in case her water broke during English or something and she needed to use her lifesaving BSC skills or some shit. Sunny writes in her diary that she's sick of dealing with all the things that come with her mom's terminal illness and sometimes wishes her mom might just die so it would all end. She then feels horrible.

The next day Sunny is reading a Newsweek article about cancer in math class instead of paying attention, except this teacher sends her to the principal's office. The principal patronizes her and Sunny walks all over him. She goes back to class in time to get her books before the bell rings and the teacher tells her that she'd have an easier time if she paid attention and did her work. Duh. Actually, the teacher tries to tell her that math will be simpler and more predictible that way, and I call shenanigans! I'll show you my pages and pages of detailed notes and my perfect attendance record for stats class and I barely pulled a C. I don't get math at all. Sunny is upset and leaves the classroom to vent.

Ducky is waiting for her in the hall. At this point in the series they don't know each other very well, so she is shy about venting to him. She says that something about his expression makes her feel like he actually cares, unlike her teachers and principal, and she calmed right down. She also gives a description of his outfit choice, saying that most guys in the school wear flannel shirts and jeans and shit while Ducky was wearing a bowling shirt and green overdyed jeans. Instead of her gaydar going off, Sunny thinks this is cool. Dawn and Sunny start walking home and Sunny makes the mistake of telling her what happened in math class. Dawn gets all Elizabeth Wakefield judgmental on her and then tells her she needs meditation. Sunny starts laughing, and so do I. Dawn is pissed and starts spouting off some shit and Sunny and I both tune her out.

At home, Sunny decides to try meditation and clears her mind while getting the mail. However, the mail has a hospital bill, a letter from the insurance company, and a wig catalog, so the meditation goes out the door. Got any more suggestions, Dawn? There's a message on the answering machine from her father saying to call her at the store and that it's urgent and Sunny freaks out, thinking the worst. She calls and he puts her on hold, which I guess is a euphemism for their relationship right now. He comes back and tells her that her mom is coming home the next day and the lump was non-cancerous and that she should do a little grocery shopping so her mom can have some good food to eat when she comes home. Sunny does and when she returns her mom calls and reminds her that she was supposed to visit after school. Sunny forgot. Her mom then says that she had her dad leave something for her on her dresser and Sunny goes to look. It's a music box and her mom says that it's a family heirloom and she wants to pass it down to Sunny. Sunny is scared because she thinks this is something a person does before they die.

The next day Sunny wakes up and realizes she has no clothes because no one has done laundry in forever. Then she has a great idea - fuck school, it's Sunny Winslow's Day Off! Her swimsuits are all clean and she's heading to the beach. She figures that she'll just cut her morning classes and no one will even miss her. She heads for Venice Beach, which is farther away but has the less risk of running into anyone she knows. Once there, she has a great time but stays too long because she meets some surfer dude named Carson (he claims not to have a last name). Carson sucks. He's just a loser who calls himself a free spirit but what that really means is he can't commit to anything. You know the type. Sunny totally falls for his shit, but then again she is only 13, and we've all fallen for one of these hos at least once. He professes his love for Catcher in the Rye and I give my eyeballs an exercise with a massive rolling. Could he pick a more cliche book? He could've at least said Flowers in the Attic. That would win my respect. He puts on rollerblades and Sunny says she also has some and she can bring them next time and maybe they can blade together. He says whatever, which she interprets as friendly. Sunny, he blows. Even Ducky's probably gay ass is better than this ho.

Sunny makes it home before her dad and is relieved to see that no one from the school called about her absence. She is leaving her house again to go to the hospital to help bring her mom home when she runs into Dawn. Dawn tries to press her for details as to where she was all day but Sunny just blows her off and leaves. HAHAHAHA! She makes it to the hospital and her mom is sitting up and dressed in street clothes and looking much better, much to her relief. A few members of her mom's support group come in and surprise! They have a stretch limo waiting outside the hospital to take her home! That's so sweet! Sunny declines a ride and takes her bike home. She beats them there and makes a salad for her mom for dinner. However, her mom and the support group come in and order Chinese food. Her mom doesn't eat much but the support group eats like all the Chinese food and the salad. Pigs. There's not much left for Sunny to eat, and she's the forgotten one yet again.

The next day Sunny is working for her dad in his bookstore and she starts to read Carson's other favorite book, Kerouac's On The Road. Another cliche favorite book by a "free spirit." She is impatient to see him again and tell him how much she likes it. Sunny spends the rest of her day getting yelled at by her dad and then cutting out of there to go visit her mom at home, only to find out she's gone to a support group meeting. She finds a shoebox full of fugly jewelry that her mom placed on her dresser. Her dad comes home and yells at her for dinner not being prepared. Her mom then comes home and says that she's been trying to clean things up and is giving Sunny things she thinks she may like. Sunny interprets it more as a sort of will and inheritance thing rather than decluttering and tells her to knock it off. Her dad calls her ungrateful and a big fight ensues.

The next day, a Sunday, Sunny wants to apologize to her mom but not her dad. Unfortunately her mom is pretty much booked solid with visitors until the evening, so Sunny grabs her rollerblades and heads for Venice Beach, telling her parents she'll be at Maggie's. Once there, she reads, relaxes, and just takes some time out for herself. She doesn't see Carson there, and is disappointed, but decides to just chill instead and not worry about it. When she gets home her mom is resting and no one questions her whereabouts, so she got away with it.

However, during the night her mom wakes up and isn't feeling well. She asks Sunny's dad to read to her because it will help her go to sleep, and Sunny takes over for him when he starts to fall asleep. They end up having to take Sunny's mom back to the hospital because she's running a high fever. Sunny was late to school because of it and yelled at in nearly all of her classes for sleeping/not paying attention/not finishing her homework due to the lack of sleep from staying up all night reading to her mom. She gets sent to the principal's office again, where he makes sad panda faces at her some more for having a sick mom and doesn't fix anything. Where exactly is the school counselor and why is Sunny not being sent to him/her? This girl is obviously dealing with a lot and needs help. Upon leaving the office, she runs into Ducky, Dawn, and Maggie, who ask her why she was in there. Sunny says she's having a serious relationship with Principal Sad Panda Face. Hee! Maggie doesn't talk to her for the rest of the day and Sunny says bitch cannot take a joke. She's probably counting calories in her head, Sunny. Dawn just gives her weird looks, which I interpret as the Elizabeth Wakefield condescending judgmental looks we see on the cover of nearly every SVH book.

Sunny comes home from school to a message on her answering machine from her dad. Her mom has pneumonia and Sunny needs to bring her a bag of stuff. She does, and is deeply saddened by her mom's condition. When she comes home again her dad yells at her for the house being dirty, his laundry not being done, and there being no nuts or raisins in the house. Mr. Winslow really likes nuts and raisins, I guess.

Sunny cuts school the next day and goes to the beach. Are you surprised? She sees Carson there, and he basically dismisses her, but she follows him into a coffee shop anyway. He approves of her cutting school and says no one will notice. Carson sucks. Then he insults the coffee and dumps it on the floor. No, really! Sunny, impressionable youth the she is, laughs and does the same. Who does that? When I go to Taco Bell and I get a less than stellar Cheesy Gordita Crunch I don't toss it on the floor like my 17 month old nephew! Whatever, I hate this douche. They hang out for the rest of the afternoon and we find out that Carson is 17, a high school dropout (because school is useless and he's had plenty of jobs without a that won't happen when you're 25 and don't have a diploma, buddy), and is from Cleveland but took off. Sunny tells him about her situation at home. She tries to make plans to see him again on Friday, but he says he doesn't like plans. SUNNY! HE SUCKS! He leaves and she ponders over her feelings for him.

The next entry, a week later, starts with a note Sunny forged from her mom's doctor excusing her from basically a week of school. Sunny has skipped a lot. She's chipper about it, though, because Carson's stank ass has been at the beach every time she's gone. She calls the beach her escape and says it helps her feel not so depressed.

At school, Ms. Krueger, the teacher whose house the party was at in Dawn's book, approaches Sunny and basically tells her that her forged note isn't fooling anyone and her absences have caught the attention of a lot more people than just Sunny's teachers. She also thinks that the special treatment should be over and done with. She tells Sunny she needs to be in school and that she can come to her any time if she needs anything. Again I ask, where is the school counselor? Ms. Krueger leaves and Sunny meets up with Ducky in the hall. She asks him for advice on Carson, and instead of telling her he sucks, he says he must like her if he's at the beach waiting for her every day, even if he won't tell her his last name. No, he's homeless, what the fuck else does he have to do but go to the beach? Sunny is so happy by this that she cuts school at lunch and goes to the beach. Carson The Suck is there and I swear it's less of him waiting for her and more of him sleeping under docks there. He finally tells her his last name and she's super happy by that. She thinks this means she trusts him fully. Oh, Sunny.

When she comes home, she's accosted by Dawn. Apparently Sunny's dad stopped by the school to pick her up because her mom is back in the hospital for tests and she was nowhere to be found and Dawn covered for her, saying she was on a late field trip. Well, she sort of was. Dawn notices Sunny's beach towel sticking out of her backpack and reams her for being at the beach while her mom is in the hospital. Sunny didn't know her mom was back in the hospital when she left for the beach, so shut up, Dawn. In the midst of Dawn's ranting and raving, Sunny notices her earrings. She asks Dawn where she got them and Dawn says that Sunny's mom gave them to her because maybe she's happy that someone cares about her, and then leaves. HATE. Sunny is super upset because she feels that with all the work she does in her dad's store and around the house and all the trips to the hospital she's being replaced by Dawn. What does Sunny do? Packs up some shit and runs away to Venice Beach, this time for good.

She doesn't find Carson immediately but when she does she tells him she's now a super cool runaway, just like him! He thinks this is awesome, because humans aren't meant to stay in one place and the notion that they are is only a few hundred years old or some shit. Yeah, they were nomadic because they needed to travel for FOOD, you dumbass! Now we have McDonald's and Jewels all over and we don't have to chase our fucking dinner, so we can stay in the same place! Sunny says now they can band together and Carson is all like, crazy hippie girl say what? He feels that the point of being a runaway is to be unattached, and he doesn't want any company. He gives her a poor little rich girl speech, telling her she doesn't have it so bad, and then walks the fuck out on her, leaving her to pay the bill at the coffee shop. Dick. She tries to go catch the bus home but misses the last one and the next won't be there until 5 AM.

Sunny tries to prepare herself for a scary night alone on the beach. She thinks a skeezy looking man is following her, and is terrified. Then she hears someone calling her name. It's Ducky, with his car. He says that her dad brought her mom home from the hospital and they found her runaway note and freaked out. Ducky remembered their talk about Carson Stupidface and drove out to Venice Beach to find Sunny. Sunny is relieved, and tells Ducky to take her home.

However, as soon as he drops her off, she heads for Dawn's house. Dawn is pissed, but relieved that Sunny's okay. Sunny asks if she can camp out there for the night because she doesn't want to face her parents yet. Dawn makes her call them first and tell them where she is. The next morning Dawn wakes her up super early to pump her for details. Bitch. She walks Sunny home, where she receives a teary welcome. Sunny comes clean to them - about why her mom giving away things upset her, about cutting school (but not about Carson), and her feelings of neglect. Her mom tells her things will get back to normal someday, but Sunny's not so sure. Her diary closes with her saying that happy endings are for fairy tales and that she is really scared, and wants to escape. Surf's up, Sunny!

A velvet hippie top, a corduroy thing (skirt? shorts? long shirt?), and white leggings. Sunny is a super hot dresser. Literally, it's fucking California and she's on the beach 90% of the book.


Fear Street said...

Dawn is such a damn scag.

Sada said...

Are you SURE Ann M. Martin wrote these?

p.s. As a Cleveland native, I was bummed to see Ann M. and/or her writer-bots slander my fair (former) city by making it the birthplace of pretentious teen-runaway surf rats. HAVEN'T WE SUFFERED ENOUGH?

snappleaddict said...

This one was ghostwritten by Peter Lerangis.

Sadako said...

It had to be Lerangis. Ann could never trust an old biddy like Ellen Miles with this! Ellen would drop her tea cozy in shock if she knew half of what went down in CA Diaries.

Agree, one hot outfit. I never got why kids living in LA and such would ever wear long sleeves when I used to watch sitcoms that took place out there, or in the summer. Me, I can't even stand to wear jeans when it's hot out.

snappleaddict said...

Another cover came up too when I Google-image searched it (too lazy to scan) where Sunny's wearing a wrap skirt but still a long sleeved shirt. I don't get it, either, it's fucking hot!

I need to place a hold on the rest of the CD books, but at a library where I get the books I have on hold myself instead of having a librarian get them for me, because I'm sick of the weird looks, lol.

coulrophobic agnostic said...

The Sunny books really broke my heart. I just lost my dad, and I'm twice Sunny's age. I can't begin to imagine going through that as a kid.

Dawn's such a bitch.

BTW, linked to you on both my blogs :)

Amber said...

Weirdly, a lot of people in southern california dress as weather-inappropriate as Sunny. I think it's the equivalent of giving the sun the middle finger.

shushie said...

The best part of the library is putting holds on loads of potentially embarrassing items anonymously at home from the computer, the worst part is the walk of shame to pick them up.

Anonymous said...

I randomly came across one of my old CD books the other day, and since then re-read the other ones I had. I never got to read the last book so I googled, and I found your blog. You're hilarious and I can't wait for your next recap. Oh, and I also can't stand Dawn.

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

I remember reading Dawn's California Diary and thinking "nooo what's happened to my BSC" but this book is actually pretty fantastic, in terms of how well it's written and how relatable it is. Except the tired old "On The Road" = freewheeling spirit cliche. Loved your recap.

Jen said...

oh the library walk of shame! Totally. I'll put tons of ya books on hold and then pray that some cute dude isn't standing behind me while I scan them out.

Anonymous said...


abeella1 said...

yaay, i am so happy you do another California Diaries! :D Personally, Amalia always bugged me. But James was a freak, I have to admit. :D

Ilove your blog! ♥

snappleaddict said...

Thank you! I have Maggie on hold at the library, and will get it Saturday, I think, because that particular library isn't open on Friday...I switched libraries to a different one where the on hold shelf wasn't behind the counter and I could get my YA novels myself and not have to have the librarians do it for me and be ashamed.