Sunday, January 25, 2015

Class Pictures (1980) by Marilyn Sachs

In this short novel, Pat looks back on her friendship with a girl named Lolly by going through their class pictures.
these are just some unrelated pics I got from Google to spice up the post
When they meet in kindergarten, Lolly arrives new to school and the class popular girl Pat bites her cheek. When Pat later takes up for Lolly after she wets her pants, their friendship begins.
In first grade Pat saves Lolly's birthday party when the other kids refuse to come by telling them that anyone not at Lolly's party won't be invited to hers. At the time, Lolly was overweight and a big crier, so she wasn't the most popular student in the class. Pat lives with her single waitress mother, two little brothers and cranky grandmother, who weren't planning on throwing Pat a party in the first place. They do scrape together a party, and although it isn't as grand as Lolly's had been, the kids have a good time.
In second grade, Pat's and Lolly's class differences come to surface. Lolly's fussy, overprotective mother tries to encourage Lolly to play with girls from their own neighborhood, although these kids dislike Lolly. What's more, Lolly's mother inadvertently opens a can of worms when she tells Pat, during a conversation about genetics, that her father had to have brown hair and eyes like she does. It turns out that the blonde-haired man Pat thought was her father (who died in a car accident) was really her stepfather - her mother confesses she had been married before.
The third grade chapter is mostly filler, with Pat and Lolly looking at Grandma's old pictures and making paper dolls.
Fourth grade finds Pat in the gifted class, separated from Lolly. Being placed in the special class brings a newfound respect from Lolly's mother, but Pat is miserable and complains so much she's assigned to a regular class the next year.
In the fifth grade, Pat and Lolly endure chicken pox together and exchange valentines. Pat is still one of the most popular kids in the class, receiving 26 valentines to Lolly's five.
In sixth grade, the class has a picnic to commemorate the end of elementary school, Grandma starts dating a widower friend, and Pat says goodbye to a favorite teacher (who affectionately calls her "ugly duckling"). Pat's mother seems tired all the time now, but she makes it to Pat's graduation at the last minute.
In seventh grade, Grandma gets married (although she still calls her husband "Mr. Nagel") and Pat feels left out and finds it difficult to adjust to her absence. Her favorite teacher from elementary school, Mr. Evans, lets her conduct science experiments in his basement which definitely sounds a little iffy to twenty first century ears. Pat feels there is something different about Lolly this year and it isn't until she looks at their class picture that she realizes it is that she has become beautiful.

The world shifts in eighth grade, with Lolly becoming the popular one. She is the hit of every party and even convinces the shop teacher to allow Pat to take his class using her feminine charms. Pat can't help but feel a little jealous, especially when the boy she likes shows an interest in Lolly.
the president's class picture. can you find him?
When Pat is in ninth grade, her mother goes nuts and says some hateful things to her. Pat finds out that her mother lied about being married to her birth father and that she actually has no idea who he is. Lolly's family invites Pat on their ski trip, also renting ski equipment for her since her mother couldn't afford it. Pat and Lolly get into a deep discussion and both admit they have been jealous of each other at times.
In tenth grade, Pat continues to suffer the pains of being the less attractive friend. On a double date Lolly sets up for the two of them, both boys hang all over Lolly and ignore Pat.
Junior year, Pat wins an award for one of her experiments and Lolly leads an environmental club. Pat has guilt-ridden daydreams about Mr. Evan's wife dropping dead so she can have him to herself, all the while beginning her first romance with a boy her own age.
Senior year, Pat gets in trouble at an Anti-Nuke protest Lolly has orchestrated but is not allowed to attend. Pat and her boyfriend break up before prom, which upsets her mother. Pat finally confesses her love to Mr. Evans (whom she still calls Mr. Evans).
Mr. Evans later sends Pat a postcard signed "love, Jason" which probably isn't a good idea, and Pat tells Lolly about her feelings for him. Pat is going away to college and Lolly is moving out on her own with a roommate. Pat frets that the new girl will replace her as Lolly's best friend. The girls decide that things may change, but sometimes change has to happen for things to get better.

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