the best friends you’ll never have


Best Friends is the latest book in Ann’s newish series, Main Street. You can read my reviews of the previous MS books and other MS-related posts here.

In this one, Flora’s best friend from her old city is coming to visit Camden Falls, and Olivia is freaking out because Olivia finds herself boring and uncool in comparison. Also, Camden Falls is celebrating their big 350th anniversary, Olivia’s parents are opening up a store, Nikki is worried her dad will come back, and Ruby is starring in a play for the aforementioned 350th anniversary celebration.

Something that is glaring about Main Street for the dedicated BSC reader, those of us who know Ann’s obsessions so well it is like they are our obsessions. Those of us who automatically think of Ann whenever they see something related to “I Love Lucy” or “The Wizard of Oz” know what I’m talking about. Just like in BSC, Ann makes no pretense of hiding them.

The most jarring and distracting one in this book is undoubtedly the name that Ann chose for Flora’s back-home BFF, which could not possibly be a coincidence. Her name is Annika Lindgren.

Confession time: When I was younger I loved Astrid Lindgren’s books, particularly the Pippi series and the Children of Noisy Village series. I sincerely wanted to learn Swedish and be transported back to the time of Astrid’s childhood so I could live the Noisy Village life. I also thought that Annika (which is the name of Pippi’s female next door neighbor friend) was the most beautiful name ever, and I wanted to change my name to it. Apparently Ann likes the name to, hence we have Annika freaking Lindgren in Main Street.

Moving on. One thing I don’t think Ann understands very well is poverty. In Stoneybrook, having a dad who was a partner in a law firm makes you “middle class,” when we all know from Sex and the City that partners in a law firm make BANK. Nikki is the token poor of Main Street, and Ann always makes sure to mention that everything at the Sheridans’ house is rundown. Nikki’s notebook is even “battered.” While it’s possible that Nikki found the notebook somewhere and it was already battered when she got it, my assumption is that the less you have, the things that you do have are more important to you and you would take better care of them. In my mind, it’s the kids who live in Kristy’s neighborhood who would have the battered notebooks, because they can always send out the housekeeper to the store to buy them five new beautiful Lisa Frank notebooks with dolphins and pandas on the cover. It’s just like, OK Ann, we get it; Nikki’s poor–but you don’t have to make every object she owns totally busted.

The Fongs’ dogs are named Mouse and Rosie, just like Ann’s cats were named. Mouse is a clever name for a cat, but for a dog it just doesn’t make sense. Sorry.

I read recently on a comment on The Dairi Burger that in Eleven Kids, One Summer, one of the eleven kids becomes friends with the characters from Just a Summer Romance. I would like this kind of thing to happen in Main Street. Not that Jackie Rodowsky would visit Camden Falls or something, but just a nod to universe of Stoneybrook and Palo City and Reese and Sea City. Something very subtle. I want Camden Falls to be on the same map as these other fictional places. I don’t even know why, but it is a very appealing idea to me.

3 Responses To This Post

Subscribe to this post comment rss or trackback url
Jenn said, May 20th, 2008 at 10:39 pm

AHAHAHA, there is a character named Anneke Lindgren? I AM GOING TO DIE LAuGHING OVER HERE. DIE.

wanderingfrog said, May 22nd, 2008 at 7:42 pm

I noticed the Annika Lindgren thing, too (seriously, how could you NOT?) and I totally meant to mention it on the boards, but I forgot. Hee. I was always partial to Lindgren’s book Mischievous Meg, myself, more so than Pippi Longstocking. I know, I’m weird.

I’ve got to say, though, that it’s totally possible to be middle class when one’s dad is a partner in a law firm. Because my dad was, and we were middle class. Not rich, not “upper middle class” or anything like that. Admittedly, my mom was a SAHM so we were a one-income family, which I suppose makes a difference. Also, you know how the stereotype of the legal aid lawyer is as close to being “poor and downtrodden” as a practicing lawyer can possibly get? Well, that’s not necessarily true, either. My dad works for legal aid now, and he earns considerably more than he did before. This stuff depends a lot on geographical location, so your point is of course valid when it comes to the BSC: if you are partner in a law firm in an affluent area of Connecticut, you’re probably making plenty of money. It just really used to annoy me how kids would inform me that I was rich because my dad was a lawyer when I was not, in fact, rich.

dsharpe113 said, May 28th, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Muaha, I just got this book, but I haen’t finished it. I noticed the Annika Lindgren thing too… i did a “wait a second” especially since i rediscovered my love of Pippi Longstocking recently.

Response To This Topic

Please Note: The comment moderation may be active so there is no need to resubmit your comment