(photo courtesy of Amazon.com)
From Birth to Backpack
Abby and Anna are born about a month early. From the get-go, it's pretty clear that they have a special connection. When one baby would cry, Mrs. Stevenson would put the calm baby in her crib and the crier would settle down. When one girl gets hurt, the other cries as if she were hurt, too. It isn't until preschool that Abby realizes that not everyone has an identical twin; preschool is also when the twins' separate interests start to emerge. Neither girl particularly likes it when people make a big deal out of the fact that they're twins, but they still want to hold onto that special bond they have. When their dad takes them to pick out backpacks before starting first grade, they choose different ones and are horrified. They end up choosing the same ones after all, with neither girl getting what she chose originally.
Red and Blue Just Won't Do
First grade. Abby and Anna are in the same class, and their teacher seems less than thrilled with having identical twins. The other kids don't even try to tell them apart; they're both called Abby-Anna. The girls hate it. Then, their teacher sends a note home with them, discussing the trouble that having twins in class can cause. She asks the Stevenson parents to start dressing one twin in blue, and the other in red, so it's easier for everyone to tell them apart. The Stevenson parents agree to try it, and Anna becomes blue and Abby becomes red from that day forward. This helps the teacher tell them apart, but not so much the students. Instead of calling both of them Abby-Anna, the kids call them by their colors. The girls hate that even more. They also don't believe their teacher can really tell them apart; they think she's really only looking at the colors they wear. So, they decide to switch colors one day to see if anyone notices. Sure enough, everyone thinks Abby is Anna and vice versa. Even their dad, who shows up at school that day, mixes them up. This freaks out both girls; they think their own dad doesn't even really know them. He was just playing along with their joke, though; he knew who was who the whole time. Since no one is particularly happy with the color experiment, Anna decides to cut her hair short so they can go back to wearing whatever they want.
One day, when they're in fourth grade, Abby and Anna's dad is hit by a car on the way to work and killed. The Stevenson family kind of falls apart. Mrs. Stevenson's parents stay for a few weeks to help out, but when they leave, things are still a mess. Mrs. Stevenson just can't function the way she used to, and Abby and Anna are left on their own a lot. Groceries aren't getting bought, laundry isn't getting done, and the house is a mess. The girls drop out of all their after school activities, and stop seeing their friends as much. One night, Abby points out how awful things are to her mom, and asks what Dad would have thought if he could have seen the state of the house. This mobilizes the family; Mrs. Stevenson hires a housekeeper to take care of things during the week, and encourages the girls to go back to their old lives as much as possible.
The Shooting Star
One year (more or less) after Mr. Stevenson's death, things are still not quite right for the remaining Stevensons. Mrs. Stevenson is throwing herself into work, most likely to try and escape the pain of being without her husband, leaving the girls on their own. They in turn throw themselves into their various friends and activities, to the extent that all three of them end up leading mostly separate lives. Then, Mrs. Stevenson announces that they'll be taking a family trip to Sanibel Island in Florida during the twins' winter break from school. Abby is really excited at the prospect of actually spending time with her mother and sister, but when they get to Sanibel, nothing really changes. For days, each Stevenson pretty much pursues her own activities and interests, much to Abby's dismay. Finally, she hears about a family New Year's Eve party that their resort is throwing, and she tries to get Anna and her mother to with her to sign up for it. They ask Abby to go do it for them, which kind of makes her lose her temper. She points out that they haven't done a single thing together since their arrival; the staff doesn't even know that they're together. They end up having a talk, and deciding to spend New Year's Eve together.
>New Places, New Faces
The Stevensons move to Stoneybrook. Basically, we get to see parts of Kristy and the Dirty Diapers from Abby's perspective.
Thoughts and Things
- I wasn't much of an Abby fan when I first got back into the BSC as an adult, but I've liked her more and more as I've gone through this blog project.
- The whole color coding thing was totally appalling. It was appalling for the teacher to suggest something like that, and it was appalling for the Stevenson parents to go along with it. The girls were obviously very different people right from the start; would it have taken THAT much effort for their teacher to learn who was who?
- It makes me sad that no one in the Stevenson family ever really moved on from Mr. Stevenson's death. I like them and I want them to be happy!
- The pictures in this book are much better than most of the portrait pictures. Mrs. Stevenson is DEFINITELY the hottest BSC mom (page 108), but she faces pretty stiff competition from Maureen McGill, as pictured on the cover of Stacey McGill...Matchmaker?.
- Abby gets an A- on her autobiography.