It's been established that Shannon doesn't have the greatest home life, and this book gives us a deeper look into exactly what the problems are. Her dad is always off playing golf or at work (maybe he and Ed McGill should make friends?), and Shannon, Maria, and Tiffany are always off doing the own things. Shannon doesn't even feel like her family is one cohesive until, but a bunch of people who just happen to live in the same house. Mrs. Kilbourne is the only one who seems to have any time for anyone else, but she's taking it to the extreme. She's WAY too involved in Shannon's life, and has been bossing her around like she was still a little kid. She also goes to Maria's swim meets and spends way more time talking to the coach than any of the other parents. There's also a ton of tension between the Kilbourne parents; Mr. K. even forgets Mother's Day, and gives his wife an emergency gift that he'd had in his office at work for times when he forgets special occasions...complete with a birthday card. Lucky for Shannon, she can escape to school, school activities, and the BSC pretty much all the time.
Speaking of school, Shannon is super excited about the trip to Paris that her French class will be taking right after school ends. All of her friends are going, and they've been practicing their French nonstop (pommes frites, anyone?). Then, disaster strikes; Mrs. Kilbourne has accepted an offer to be a chaperone on the trip! Shannon is really unhappy. She was looking forward to the week away from her mom, and now that won't be happening. Shannon decides that there's no way she's going on the trip if her mother is, so what does she do? Purposely flunk her French final. That brings her average down below where it needs to be to qualify for the trip, so there won't be any Paris for Shannon. She tells her friends that she just didn't study hard enough and choked, and they seem to believe it. Her mother doesn't, though, but she doesn't seem to get that she herself is the reason Shannon flunked that test.
Mrs. Kilbourne puts Shannon in charge of the house and the younger girls during the day while she's gone. At first, handling everything is a challenge, but Shannon pretty much gets the hang of it after a few days. Then, she gets bored, and finds herself bossing her sisters around and trying to get involved in their lives in EXACTLY the way that Mrs. Kilbourne had been doing. Shannon starts to understand her mother a little better, and when she gets back from Paris, they have a talk. Mrs. Kilbourne admits that she's been feeling lost, and Shannon suggests that she get a job. Mrs. Kilbourne had been thinking the same thing. Life isn't perfect for the Kilbournes, but things run a little smoother.
Thoughts and Things
- I found myself really into all the Kilbourne family drama, but totally bored by anything BSC-related. I wish there had been more Shannon books. Maybe even a separate series, a a la California Diaries?
- Who thinks that Tiffany will end up growing something a little more interesting (and a little less legal) than vegetables and flowers in her garden in a few years?
- The difference in the way that 11 year old Tiffany (sitting charge) and 11 year olds Jessi and Mal (sitters) are treated is really obvious in this book.
- This one was published out of order, I think. It's May in this one, but it was fall in the previous book and will still be fall in the next few books. It's almost like it was written around the same time that the Logan books were, but held back until this point in the series.
- I totally understand that Shannon wanted that Paris trip to be "hers," but there's no way I would have given up a trip to Europe just because my mom was going, too. Shannon could have always done what Stacey did in SS#15 and try to stick with groups that were led by other chaperones.
- I take back what I said about Ed McGill and Mr. Kilbourne being friends; they'd be too busy working to hang out!