Chapter 11-Karen’s Wicked Stepmother
It’s another morning at the big house. Another school morning to be exact and Karen does not want to get up. She had two funny dreams that kept her up some of the night. She finally wakes up and gets dressed. She races downstairs to have breakfast with her family. She starts telling Nannie all about her dreams. In the middle of one of them, Andrew is raising his hand to speak again. Emily also wants Nannie’s attention. Elizabeth reminds Karen that she must let others speak. She grudgingly obeys and then tries to continue telling Nannie about her dream. Nannie gently reminds her that she’s going to be late for school. Karen finishes up her breakfast and is just about to leave when Elizabeth calls her back. She takes her back to her bedroom that is a mess once again. After some bargaining on Karen’s part, Elizabeth allows her to finish her chores when she gets home with no consequence only if she gets them done. Karen thanks her and goes of to school. Hannie’s mother drives the kids to school that day. While Linny and Mrs. P talk in the front seats, Karen complains to Hannie about Elizabeth in the back. She tells her that Elizabeth makes up too many rules and has too many suggestions for things. When the girls get to school, Karen complains to Nancy as well. And that’s where the chapter ends.
(I can totally understand where Karen is coming from here. While I can understand where Karen is coming from, I remember being very mad at Karen when I read this particular chapter. The reason was, I had it worse than Karen did on the mother or lack there of front. I didn’t have one most of the time. And when she was around, she didn’t want to spend time with me. I remember thinking, Karen better count her blessings and talk to Elizabeth about this instead of complaining to friends who can only give her advice.)
Its a few days later and the girls, Karen and Hannie, have just arrived home from school. We’ll assume Karen did her chores at the end of 11 just to give her the benefit of the doubt. The girls have a seed pod race; actually they have a couple of them. They both win a few each. Not long after that, Linny, Melody, Bill and the rest join them and they decide to hold a practice go cart race. At first, Karen doesn’t want to let Andrew join them, but then she relents, remembering they built the go-carts together. Sam is also the judge of this race. Melody ends up winning the race to Karen’s disappointment. She and Andrew didn’t win because they couldn’t steer their go-cart. Sam offers the kids help with their carts, but Karen refuses again. Kristy offers her services a little while later, but Karen still declines. (Karen, when are you going to learn there’s no I in team?)
(This chapter was very boring in my opinion. I was glad when I was done reading it. In fact, the whole go-cart sub plot was boring, at least to me.)
Chapter 13-The Fight
That Friday in school, Karen is assigned homework by Ms. Colman. Karen tells us that they aren’t given much homework in school. (I wasn’t given much homework in from kindergarten until third grade, but I still enjoyed it. I especially loved the journal entries we had to write and anything else to do with story writing.) Anyway, Karen wants to get her homework done so she can work on the go-cart some more and play with her friends. She is just finishing the worksheet when Elizabeth pokes her head in the room. She asks to talk to Karen and the seven-year-old agrees. Karen offers her a seat and then realizes that there is nowhere for Elizabeth to sit. There are books, papers and art supplies on her bed (which is not made) and her chair is piled with dirty clothes. Rather than sit, Elizabeth stands in the doorway and state she obvious. Karen has not done her chores once this week. Therefore, she will not get her allowance again. Karen protests that she wanted to buy a book and she owe Kristy fifty-cents, but Elizabeth stands firm. Elizabeth leaves Karen fuming in her room. She leaves her room a minute later and goes to the garden to calm down. Once she is a little calmer, she gets an idea. She is NOT going to give Elizabeth her gift. Wicked stepmothers don’t deserve presents and cards.
(Oh Karen, Karen, Karen, if only you had to live with the woman who brought me into this world. I’ll bet you wouldn’t be complaining so much about Elizabeth then.)
Karen starts picking a bouquet for Lisa when she gets her idea. She runs into the house and tells Watson, in front of Elizabeth, that she would rather spend mother’s day with Lisa instead. Watson is understandably upset by Karen’s rudeness and tells her no straight away. He explains that if she would have come to him in private and talked it over with him, he might have made other arrangements, but since she didn’t, she must stick to the original plan they made earlier in the month. He then insists that Karen apologize to Elizabeth for hurting her feelings. Karen refuses, so Watson sends her to her room. Karen leaves fuming once again.
(I got to stop here for a second and commend Watson’s parenting here. You’re inching closer and closer to that parent of the year award, buddy. I really liked tat he didn’t give into Karen’s demand, but at the same time, he explained to her how if she would have asked him and done things differently, he would have done it. I really think it’s important for parents to help their children understand why they have to say no sometimes so they learn how to behave better and approach the same situation differently if it should come up. Watson was totally in the right here.)
Later that night at bedtime, Elizabeth comes to say good-night to Karen, but Karen is cold towards her. She informs her stepmother that she does not want to hear more about Hoover. Elizabeth nods, tells Karen good-night and leaves the room.
(While I Thin Karen could have been a little more polite in her refusal to hear more about the demented acorn turned vacuum cleaner, I’m with Karen on this one. I think she made the right choice. At least now she’ll have sweet dreams.)
Chapter 14-Mother’s Day at the Little House
Karen awakens on Saturday feeling mad and glad. She’s still mad at Elizabeth for not giving her an allowance, even though Karen was the one who didn’t’ earn it due to not doing her chores. She gets dressed and gets her things ready for Lisa’s. She asks Watson if she can pick a bouquet for Lisa and he gives her permission. She is very careful with the flowers. Once the flowers are picked, she puts the bouquet together and goes to meet Charlie at the junk bucket, along with Andrew. Apparently, Charlie is driving them over to the little house.
(I would make a comment about why Lisa couldn’t pick them up, but it’s her day, so I’ll let this one slide.)
Anyway, needless to say, Lisa and Seth are very happy to see the kids. They haven’t seen them for two weeks. Lisa cries from happiness upon seeing Karen and Andrew. Karen cries a little too. Andrew doesn’t understand why his sister and mother are upset and Lisa explains that they’re just happy to see each other. Charlie leaves and Lisa and the kids go inside to get their pre-mother’s day celebration started. They wish Lisa and happy mother’s day and she opens her present and reads her cards. After having something to drink and a small snack on the porch, they relax a little more and then go to dinner at a restaurant. Alter they get back home, Karen tells Lisa that Elizabeth is mean and she wants to spend mother’s day with her. Lisa is thrilled, but she wants to make sure Watson Okayed the plans. Karen then lies and says Watson said it was okay.
Lisa takes Karen at her word and the four of them continue celebrating. Seth drives the kids back to the big house a little while later. Before they leave, Lisa promises to pick them up around ten-thirty the next morning. Dun, dun, dun…
(Not that Lisa shouldn’t believe her daughter, but Karen has been known to lay form time to time. They even wrote a book about it a few back for goodness sake! She should have checked with Watson anyway, even if it was to make sure the time she set to pick the kids up was okay.)
Chapter 15-Karen Causes Trouble
Karen wakes up on Sunday feeling excited. Her big house family is busy because of mother’s day. Charlie and Andrew make Nannie and Elizabeth breakfast in bed and bring it to them while Kristy and the others work on the show and other tasks. Karen chooses to watch TV instead of help out. Around ten-thirty she hears Lisa honking her horn and she jumps up excitedly. And the drama begin
Watson goes out to meet Lisa and see what’s going on. He’s understandably upset when he finds out what Karen did. Lisa is also upset when she finds out Karen lied again. Watson and Lisa call Karen out on it and they both agree she is going to be punished. Lisa leaves a few minutes later and Watson tells Karen they will discuss her punishment later that night. Karen stomps upstairs to her room and refuses to come out.
(I like this chapter because Karen didn’t get her way this time. I was very happy with the way Watson and Lisa banded together and stood their parental ground with her. Still, I feel bad for Karen a little. I know what it’s like to have to stay somewhere where you’re not happy and want to spend time with your real parent. Believe me; I know that feeling all too well.)
Chapter 16-Mothe’rs Day at the Big House
Karen is forced to come out of her room to participate in the mother’s day festivities. Even though she has to take part in them, she’s not happy about it and makes no qualms about showing it. She gives Nannie her card and gift and gives her a hug. She wishes her happy mother’s day too. As for Elizabeth, Karen doesn’t participate in the show Kristy put together for mother’s day, nor does she give Elizabeth her card and gift. She gives her a bouquet of dead roses instead. She knows she is in trouble, but she doesn’t care at this point. When it comes time to sing to Nannie and Elizabeth and cut the Merry-Go-Round cake, Karen turns her back on everyone and doesn’t sing. Watson has about had it by this point and tells Karen she is in BIG trouble. The family gathers in the backyard for a family picture a few minutes later. Karen refuses to stand next to Elizabeth. Before things can go any further, Elizabeth steps in and actually saves Karen from getting in anymore trouble. She tells her that after the picture, they’re going to have a talk.
(I liked Elizabeth for the first time ever in this chapter. As they say, better late than never. Elizabeth should have talked to Karen way before this. But I guess if she had, there wouldn’t have been a plot. Who else wants to make a bet as to how many times Hoover will be mentioned in this talk?)
Chapter 17-Gettign Along
After the picture is taken, Elizabeth and Karen go for a walk. Karen is sure she is in more trouble, but Elizabeth surprises her by being very understanding about her behavior and feelings. Elizabeth explains that the new custody arrangements were a big change for everyone-not just Karen and Andrew. Karen admits that she misses the little house and reaffirms that they don’t have chores there, but help out only when Lisa and Seth ask them to aside from keeping their rooms clean and taking care of their pets. Elizabeth understands and they continue their talk.
(So far no mention of Hoover. But the talk isn’t over yet.)
Elizabeth agrees that while living at two different houses equally will take some getting used to, she explains that while Karen and Andrew are with them, they will have to follow the same rules that Kristy, David Michael and the others follow. Along with that, they will have the same privileges and consequences for not following said rules. Elizabeth goes onto say that if Karen was treated any differently from Kristy and the others she would not feel like a part of the family and Karen agrees. After making sure Karen truly understands the chores she is assigned and why, Elizabeth moves on to some of Karen’s other issues. Karen explains to Elizabeth about making too many suggestions and her stepmother agrees to stop making so many if Karen will agree to not talk so much and try not to interrupt her on the phone. The deal is ceiled and they move on to a few other things.
) How much you want to bet Karen breaks her half of the deal in record time.)
As they finish up they talk, alas, Hoover is mentioned! It only took fifteen minutes into the chapter! GOL! Karen asks to hear more about him and Elizabeth agrees.
(This chapter was really good. I liked how Elizabeth and Karen talked and worked things out. It was actually realistic as far as BSLS will ever get.)
During the next two weeks, Karen and Elizabeth work harder to get along. They stick to their deals and Karen even remembers to do her chores for the most part. The kids also work very hard on their go-carts. Karen figures out how to make her and Andrew’s go faster and Nannie compliments them on their hard work a few days before the race. After they pain their go-cart and name it the Speed Demon, their go-cart is ready for the race.
(This chapter was okay. Like I said, I didn’t really like the go-cart race plot of this book.)
Chapter 19-The Race
After a little more preparation for the race, the day of the go-cart race finally arrives. Andrew is sure they’ll win, but Karen doesn’t agree. On the day of the race, Sam judges it like before. All the kids give five running steps before leaping into their carts. Surprisingly, Karen and Andrew win! They didn’t expect to and they end up winning due to their speed.
(I love when Karen tells Andrew they did NOT come in last and then Charlie informs them they came in first! GOL! And it was Charlie who judges this time, not Sam. Sorry! All I have to say about this chapter is I’m glad it’s over.)
Chapter 20-Happy other’s Day!
To celebrate the go-cart race, Memorial Day and the end of Karen and Andrew’s first month at the big house, Elizabeth and Watson have a vegetarian barbecue! (I would so love to go to one of those!) The food is delicious and Karen is enjoying time with her family. Kristy asks Karen is she’s happy to go back to her mother’s the next day after school. Karen says yes and no. She is happy to go back to Mommy’s, but she will miss everyone at the big house. Karen enjoys herself at the barbecue and even allows David Michael to borrow the speed demon while she is away. Once dinner is over Karen takes some time for herself in the backyard. She can feel summer coming and she is looking forward to it. Karen then gets an idea and makes another, more prettier and more alive bouquet of flowers for Elizabeth. She gives them to her, along with a hug and wishes her happy mother’s day. Elizabeth is touched and thanks Karen. She returns Karen’s gesture of gratitude by telling her more about that demented vacuum cleaner turned acorn! (Way to reward your stepdaughter’s efforts!)
And that’s the end of the book!
I really enjoyed snaking this one. I’m goanna do Karen’s Two Families next to complete this story arc. I hope everyone doesn’t mind.