Taffy Sinclair and the Melanie Makeover

As a fifth and sixth graders, I loved the Taffy Sinclair books. I thought Jana Morgan and her ” self improvement club” the Fabulous Five, was the shit, and  I hated Taffy Sinclair, that blonde bitch, with a passion. I was completely on Jana’s side and would get so upset when Taffy would do things like brag about her part on a soap opera, or try to steal Randy Kirwan of the 1,000 watt smile from Jana.  One of the Dairi Burger gals wrote once that she felt Jana Morgan was a total bitch, and before reading this book I was like ” oh no not my Jana I LOVE her”. Then I read this craptacular book. I had never read this as a kid, actually, ( I pretty much read all of the books about the Fab Five in 5th grade, read maybe one when they were in 6th, then graduated to the Fabulous Five series when they are all in junior high pretty quickly. I also was reading a lot more Sweet Valley Twins and Freshman Dorm books by late 6th grade and into seventh).

The basic premise of this book is that Taffy Sinclair decides to take Melanie under her wing. In fifth grade, Jana keeps saying that Melanie was wicked fat due to her mom constantly making baked goods, but then Melanie lost a whole pile of weight a la Robin Wilson in sixth grade, and she’s looking hot now. Jana and her friends are worried that Melanie is talking to Taffy, and so they completely snub Melanie and give her ” poison dart looks” and turn their noses at her whenever Melanie even goes near there, which of course forces Melanie to hang out with Taffy even more, since Taffy is more than willing to pal around with Melanie to piss off Jana and her friends.

Taffy convinces Melanie she should enroll in a modeling class with and tells Melanie she and Taffy will have bright futures in modeling. Jana and her friends all decide to enroll in the modeling classes too, because the woman running them is this famous model, and modeling classes will be great for self improvement. By the way, Jana will always point out her friends’ flaws- like Beth is a drama queen, Melanie is a formerly fat bubble-head, Christie is an egghead know it all and Katie is a ” feminist”- oh horror- but we never hear Jana saying what exactly is what with her- annoying!

After modeling classes start, Jana sees that Melanie and Taffy always have tons of fatty foods like mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and pudding on their lunch trays at school, yet Melanie is not gaining weight. Melanie tells the other girls in the Fab Five that Taffy is teaching Melanie ” tricks” that will help her to eat whatever she wants without gaining an ounce! One day, Jana hears Melanie getting sick in the girls’ room, then thinks that Melanie must just be coming down with a flu or something. Taffy is in the bathroom with Melanie when this happens.

Well, long story short, one day Melanie faints at the modeling school. We learn that Taffy was teaching Melanie how to be a bulimic, basically. Taffy told Melanie to throw up after each meal so she could eat whatever she wanted and not gain weight. Yeah I still hate Taffy because that is fuckin bitchy and dangerous. Melanie’s eating disorder is instantly cured by Melanie’s mom making her eat a bunch of Mrs. Edwards’ ” gorgeous” brownies as Fat Melanie used to call them. Too bad Mrs. Edwards wasn’t aware when Robin Wilson was anorexic for that one book!

In an awful subplot, Jana decides that since the Fabulous Five will no longer hang out with Melanie because she is all worshipping Taffy, the are going to take a girl named Mona Vaughn under their wing. Mona is Taffy’s little pet, and Taffy’s only friend because Mona worships her. Taffy totally ignores Mona to teach Melanie bulimia and piss Jana off, so Mona is really lonely. But Jana just focuses on how Mona has stringy hair and a shitty wardrobe and ” tries too hard to make friends.” So Jana and her friends teach Mona better ways to fix her hair and make changes to her wardrobe and they are sooo proud that they made Mona Vaughn a fetching hottie now. Jana also starts to realize that she actually likes Mona, and she wants Mona to be in the Fabulous Five since Melanie is pretty much out. Well, even after Melanie becomes friends with Jana again, Mona says that for now she’d rather not be part of the club, but she definitely would love to be good friends with Jana, Katie, Christie, Beth and well Melanie. And then we never hear about the Fabulous Five hanging out with Mona again. Seriously, it’s sooo shitty that Jana makes fun of Mona for having stringy hair and ugly clothes, and kissing Taffy’s butt because she wants a friend sooo badly, and she only decides to befriend Mona to get Taffy mad, but is upset that Taffy is just playing Jana at her own game. Yes, Taffy went way too far by getting Melanie to have an eating disorder, of course,but yeah Dairi Burger girl u are right- Jana is a total fuckin bitch. She’s a lot less bitchy at Wakeman Jr High, it seems, but Jana is Jessica Wakefield/ Laura McCall/ Alison Quinn from SVU psycho in elementary school! And of course Betsy Haynes- way to pretty much make light of eating disorders. You know you are a pathetic YA novelist when even Sweet Valley High teaches children more about eating disorders and their effects than your crappy series does.  I will say the Girlfriends books did a great job writing about Cassandra’s eating disorder, but I don’t have those books around- though if I find them on Ebay I may recap a few more.

I am HOPING to recap ” Karen’s in Love” a BSC Little Sis book by the end of this week or early next week.  Hopefully I can also get through Freshman Dorm ” Freshman Passion” next week- and whoa lots has changed since my last Frosh Dorm recap let me tell ya!

And coming up-

BSC #1 Kristy’s Great Idea!

Sleepover Friends #11 Stephanie’s Family Secret

Sweet Valley Twins #44 Amy Moves In

Sleepover Friends #26- The New Kate


3 Responses to “Taffy Sinclair and the Melanie Makeover”

  1. “Melanie’s eating disorder is instantly cured by Melanie’s mom making her eat a bunch of Mrs. Edwards’ ” gorgeous” brownies as Fat Melanie used to call them.”

    I learned how not to be anorexic from the Danny Tanner school of life. Talk to your daughter and tell her she’s beautiful and then she’ll be raring to eat dinner and be a normal teen again.

    I had such a misconception of how disorders/addictions worked from TV/books.

  2. While eating disorders are nothing to make light of, I do feel like a lot of teen and preteen girls experiment with skipping meals and even purging and don’t develop full blown eating disorders. An eating disorder is generally a manifestation of a bigger psychological problem than just wanting to lose weight. So, in Hayne’s defense, I don’t think it’s that unrealistic that a girl who was throwing up her lunch every day for a week would just stop after being confronted about it, nor was it necessarily grounds for diagnosing her with an eating disorder.

    And yes, Jana is a stone cold bitch in these books…although, once again, not that unusual to find in a 6th grade girl. And yeah, Taffy had it coming in most of these books.

  3. True…but sitcoms just make it look so easy. I mean, there are people who experiment and don’t get addicted to drugs or involved in eating disorders. But at the same time, there are a lot of girls who do start that way and it’s not as easy to just say, “Oh, you’re great the way you are and looks don’t matter.” Plus, there are so many people who do get full blown EDs (Kelly Taylor on 90210) and then they go into treatment and…that’s it. They never really deal with it again when in real life it’s like this constant struggle that’s always kind of there.

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