* Hi, everyone. Sorry, I haven’t been around. I did Nanowrite and I’ve been working on my own writing. But last night I decided to take a break – read a Camp Sunnyside Friends and write up a review. I enjoyed it, hope you do to!
Title – Katie Steals the Show
Alternate title – Katie the brat
page count – 116
The Agenda – Katie is paranoid that the girls of Cabin 6, her posse, will make fools of themselves in the upcoming talent show – the Spectacular like they did last year unless of course she’s in charge. Ha, who is she kidding? Katie just wants to be in charge - period. And well in that performance – she gives a repeat of last year and makes a fool of herself.
Plot – To set the stage for Katie’s supreme bossiness the first scene shows the girls wiling away the hours during a rainy day – doing their own thing – anarchy for a Gestapo like Katie. Fashion-mad Erin is trying to French braid Megan’s hair who is daydreaming, Sarah is reading ( possibly a series fiction book from Avon Camelot ), and Trina ( that goody-goody ) is doing needlepoint. Am I crazy, or is voluntary needlepoint in 1990 at camp, crazy? Oh, well. Naturally the second Katie sees this peaceful scene she decides to ‘get this gang going’ and says they should all go to the activities hall. Nobody wants to budge. However when Carolyn comes in and asks about the Spectacular and suggests they go to the activities hall to get some ideas everyone now is up for it. Hmm.
Very subtle foreshadowing – Katie demands – doesn’t get results, Carolyn suggests – and viola! gets results. But not to worry the rest of the message of this book is as about as subtle as sledgehammer. Sarah has wrote a play which would be perfect for the Spectacular and wouldn’t you know it does double duty for the message. The play is called the Search for Happiness. It involves a spirit of happiness who gets kidnapped and how two groups of people – one smart one strong, find themselves bickering and unhappy because they are being ruled by the spirit of Meanness. Everyone likes the play and Katie especially likes the idea when it’s decided she’ll be director. Which seems a little strange considering Katie didn’t do a very hospitable job of running the color war.
Naturally, Katie is disorganized and makes moot points. She offends Sarah by wanting to change the cutesypoo title of her play, doesn’t ask the cabin five girls who have teamed up with them their names, tells them to shut up when they all talk and instead of having the girls audition was going to pick who should do what or be what. When Carolyn suggests that the girls audition for the parts, Katie says huh? Like she’s never heard of the concept. Um she’s never been involved in a school play?… you would think Camp Sunnyside was a planet populate with parentless children and counselors and no concept of school or the other three seasons.
Carolyn reminds Katie to be tactful during the auditions, hell why stop there. And Katie does her best but Megan flakes out as the spirit of Happiness, Erin is good but a sullen girl ( the never-heard-of-before- this-book-never-will-again ) Dinah is excellent. Though she casts the play she can’t understand why these killjoys would rather swim, or horseback ride when they could be indoors practicing the play 24/7 with her cracking the whip over them. She expects their lines memorized in a night, and during the practice as she yells and gripes, doesn’t see the irony of the girls saying lines like – “Isn’t this fun!” and “We always have fun together” meanwhile their expressions getting grimmer and grimmer.
Katie has her delusions of the audience cheering “Director! Director!” but in reality she’s racking up the enemies. Sarah is getting snippy because Katie’s altering her lines, Megan is in tears because Katie is yelling at her, Erin doesn’t really give a crap and Trina is starting to call her ma’am. Finally Katie loses it and gives an ultimatum if they don’t start listening to her, she’ll leave. As she waits for the cries of dismay and none come ( shocker ), she storms out thinking without her the play is finished. Um. Yeah. They just ask Carolyn to help them.
Meanwhile Katie gets the spend the day with herself and her doppelganger – Dinah who hammers home the point of no compromise when she refuses to play ping pong, and won’t work on a quilt with the rest of her cabinmates cause she didn’t get to pick the pattern. Working alone, Katie gets creeped out – not wanting to wind up alone and friendless like Dinah.
She wanders over to the play and offers her input in a more tactful way. She things they should paint gold fruit on the trees to make the land more magical. She talks finally to Sarah and Trina who set her straight. Carolyn feigns an emergency ( or I always thought so ) allowing Katie to take over rehearsals. Katie learns to balance praise with direction and she’s voted back in. The play is naturally a success and someone does cry out director! Director! Reducing Katie to tears.
Subplot – Dinah is a sullen girl who is there and only there to help drive home the message that cooperation, and compromise are needed. She demands the role of the spirit of happiness but wins the role of spirit of meanness and refuses to be in the play. Since she won’t compromise what games she wants to play, or things she wants to do or accept a certain part in the play she remains as she started, talented but friendless. Her one expression – If you don’t want to do what I want to do then I don’t want to play is echoed as a line in the play. The irony is in a series book we’re supposed to recognize Katie’s character growth and notice Dinah lack of it – however Katie is up to her old bossiness like three books later.
Character quirks – Every notice how Katie is always trying to one-up-someone in nearly every book? Her older brothers, boys or Maura. This time its Maura’s turn again. She is snide to Katie who know feels she has to prove herself – to the dimwit she doesn’t like.
Trina is just too good, but I like her, I remember when friends were loyal and nice.
Unintentionally funny – Katie’s megalomania
Funny – Katie’s megalomania
That’s whacked – Realizing/ Recalling in her daydream that the audience doesn’t call Director! Director! They call author! author! And though she thinks Sarah deserves to take a bow intends to have someone in the audience that will call out director. Modest isn’t she? Oh, and even when someone in the play does something good – like the girl playing the Spirit of meanness she adds a cackle to her lines. Instead of saying that’s great! She consults her script and says that’s not in there. But it does allow Carolyn’s artistic interpretation comment. Which Katie thinks is mumbo jumbo.
Best Comment – Trina – her best friend – had just called her a dictator!
Bullwer Little would be proud Fun cheesy moments – the play rehearsals, the over the top moments when Katie and Trina have an after-school-special moment discussing Dinah’s friendless state.
Cover Art – Who knew the Camp Sunnyside uniform included shorts with a bag waist and drawstring! I’m digging the irony of the friendship bracelets. Erin looks like Stephanie from Full House.
Summary / Opinion – It’s shlocky fun. One of the better Camp Sunnyside books but not the best.
The theme is heavy handed though it includes a nice summary sentence. Although taken out of context it makes Dinah look freespirited. Lol. – Dinah just didn’t care if people liked her or not. Katie wondered if she’d ever know what she was missing. – pg113.
80′s comparison – No 80′s nuggets. Accept those bag waist shorts. Anyone have a pair of those? I remember getting jeans like this but I can see why the fad didn’t last long. The only way of wearing them was to tuck in your tee shirt or wear a crop top. Otherwise you’d have this weird bulge under your shirt.
Recommendations – **½ in general or *** for this particular series. If you see it anywhere, pick it up it’s a fun read.
Check out Ebay – for bag waist denim shorts, too cool! http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vtg-80s-90s-ACID-WASH-Baggy-Paper-Bag-HIGH-WAIST-Denim-Jean-Boyfriend-Shorts-M-L-/331118249074?pt=Vintage_Women_s_Clothing&hash=item4d182f8472