Wednesday, January 14, 2009

BSC #60: Mary Anne's Makeover

The plot of this one is simple. Mary Anne wants to get a new and very short haircut, but when she points out a photo of the kind of style she wants to her friends, they all laugh and tell her how dumb she’ll look. She decides to surprise everyone by doing it anyway and goes to the mall to get a haircut with her dad, also coming back with some hot new clothes and make up. The BSC, and Dawn in particular, start acting cold to her and she ends up ignoring them back by missing meetings and eating lunch with Logan. Rumors fly that an older high school guy named Carlos Mendez is interested in her, and Mary Anne starts feeling bad. Eventually she and Dawn make up and MA sucks it up, drinks the Flavor Aid and goes back to the BSC. At the end, it turns out that Carlos is really interested in Sabrina Bouvier, another eighth grader.

  • Mary Anne’s New Year resolution is to be the best possible person she can be, so she tries to be more understanding when she’s talking to Carolyn about something in the first chapter. Honey, if you get any more understanding, your transformation into doormat will be complete.
  • MA’s dad gets a lot of shit for being strict with her when she was younger, and for being kind of nerdy, but for the most part, he seems like an awesome dad. Especially compared with some of the other parents (Stacey’s dad is a controlling workaholic, Mallory’s parents haven’t yet learned that the rhythm method isn’t an effective method of birth control). It’s nice to see them bond in this book when he takes MA to the mall to get a haircut.
  • The other members of the BSC just tell Mary Anne that her hair will grow out and that it isn’t her. In one scene, Mary Anne sits alone and another girl, Susan, asks her to join their table. You know, she really should have. This book was a golden opportunity for Mary Anne to branch out and not obsessively hang out with the same old friends. Stacey was a real bitch most of the time, but I actually respect her for temporarily leaving the babysitters cult…I mean, club.
  • Dawn’s a total bitch. I never realized this till the second time I read these books. Gotta love when she tells Mary Anne she has a boy haircut and is wearing clown make-up.
  • At the end, Dawn and Mary Anne primp to go to the dance, and Mary Anne has to borrow some blush from Dawn because she’s run out. Except she only bought her blush about two weeks ago. I bought my last tin two years ago and it still hasn’t run out. Maybe Dawn was right about the clown make up.
  • The girls wear long dresses and heels to the dance. And Logan even wears a tuxedo that he looks good in. Between this and his job at the Rosebud Café, I think this is what gave me unrealistic expectations of how grown-up thirteen year old boys were.
  • If Mary Anne is growing up into a young woman and Sabrina Bouvier goes to the dance with a high school guy where they both look about twenty years old, how come no members of the BSC have started menstruating? I want them to start talking about their menstrual flow and scented tampons at sleepovers, damnit, not the Korman kids and their stupid phobias.
  • Oh yeah, about the kids. Carolyn Arnold builds a time machine in the basement and starts telling everyone about it, telling kids to give her a dollar and that when she unveils it later, she’ll let them travel through time. Mary Anne feels guilty that she didn’t ask any of the other members for help in dealing with the situation because they were fighting. If I were a thirteen year old babysitter, this would get a gigantic NOT MY PROBLEM sticker.

Continuity Alert

  • Can we decide what Dawn does and doesn’t eat? In some books, it’s just no red meat. In this one, she says, “Eww” when she sees that Richard and Mary Anne brought home a carton of lobster. In any case, this is good practice for when she finally goes vegan and spends every meal proclaiming that she won’t eat anything that casts a shadow.

Bitchy Remark Du Jour

  • “Oh, go choke on an alfalfa sprout!” (I’ll let you figure out who MA directed this comment at.) Go MA!

Friday, January 9, 2009


Following in the tradition of such awesome blogs as Claudia's Room, the BSC Revisited, and the rest, I'm adding my blog to the pile.

Happy Reading!

BSC #100: Kristy's Worst Idea

For once, the babysitters actually start acting like 13 year old girls and not like forty year old PTA president wannabes. They shop and goof off and consider non-BSC activities. Naturally, any desire to stray from the group must be quashed in the next 100 pages.

Eighth grade yet again (no time paradoxes here!). Kristy proposes that the club plan a Fall Into Fall block party that no one else is remotely interested in. Then she flips out when it turns out that some members have other commitments besides the club and want to be more flexible. Can we please replace the adjectives “bossy” and “stubborn” with “type-A control freak”?

Kristy votes to disband the club after Jackie Rodowsky sprains his ankle under her watch because she feels she's a terrible babysitter. The rest of Stoneybrook falls apart and eventually, they start up the club again when Kristy realizes she's not so bad, everyone misses the club (read: she has no one to bully).

I Hate Mallory Alert

When five thirty rolls around on the next non-meeting day, who calls up Kristy all wounded in a vulnerable post-break up invitation for a booty call? Okay, okay, she just wants to see if anyone else wants to hang out, just so they can still be friends without necessarily being in the club. But everyone else is too busy having a life. Poor Mallory.

Fun Observations

  • Mary Anne's last name, Spier, rhymes with “fear.” I always pronounced it to rhyme with “flier” until I read this one. Incidentally, Claudia thinks the name is spelled "S-P-E-A-R."
  • The club meets on a Labor Day Monday. The Kishis were at Claudia’s aunt and uncle’s barbeque and apparently Claudia’s parents agreed to cut it short and come home early so a group of thirteen year olds can hang out. (Though considering they let the rest of the club hang out in Claudia’s rooms during times when even she couldn’t make it to a meeting, somehow I’m not surprised.)
  • There’s a picture of a parrot on Claudia’s easel. Hmmm. Another self-portrait?
  • The rest of the Stoneybrook really needs their BSC fix. Mrs. Wilder offers counseling, Mr. Papadakis offers to pay them a retainer, and Mrs. Arnold is almost reduced to tears. Wow, for once they'll have to spend time with their own offspring.
  • Kristy eavesdrops on Erica Blumberg and Lily Karp (remember when they used to fraternize with non-BSC members?) and overhears Erica not realizing that Lucy Newton needed a diaper change when she sat for her. Kristy barges in and starts giving advice about the best thing to put on a diaper rash (hmmm, why does Kristy know so much about baby asses?) and then gets offended when Lily and Erica tell her that the BSC had the racket on babysitting covered.
  • Jessi can’t make Friday meetings because of a ballet class conflict. Rather than excusing Jessi once a week, they have to change Friday meetings to Thursdays. Um, what? And in what world is missing one meeting where babysitting doesn’t even occur all that big a deal? Could be worse—initially Kristy thinks it’s reasonable that Jessi either has to quit ballet or the club.
  • Kristy has a meltdown when Abby and Mary Anne are late for a meeting after they go shopping and Abby has an allergy reaction. Kristy: “I am a reasonable person. Really…that is, if a BSC member has a good reason, like an accident or a death or a horrible family crisis. But for a shopping trip? I was seeing red.” Makes you wonder if Kristy asked Claudia to produce a death certificate when Mimi died.
  • Oh yeah, Claudia and Mary Anne get into an awesomely bitchy fight when babysitting the Barrett-DeWitts. Too bad it’s not over anything fun like Claudia job hogging or when MA will grow a spine and tell Logan about that secret abortion Claudia had to help finance — no, it’s about babysitting. MA is supervising the kids while they play board games, Claudia wants to do art, MA is too dull, Claudia leaves the toddlers alone and they dump out all the silverware from the dishwasher, boooring. However, it is always fun how passive aggressive MA gets. Loved this line: “[Marnie and Ryan are] already making a silverware sculpture!” Burn!
  • Poor Jackie Rodowsky sprains his ankle when he falls out of a tree and later gets a concussion while riding his bike, helmetless. Horrible things happen to this kid all the time, but never to his two brothers. It’s sick but whenever I think of Jackie, I can’t help picturing this book:
  • Incidentally, aren’t you NOT supposed to move someone who may have broken their leg? Yet Kristy helps Jackie inside before she even knows if it’s a break or a sprain.
  • One of Stacey’s motivations for wanting the club back is that she misses the money. Yes! A normal, non-fixated-on-the-lives-of-eight-year-old-kids reason!
  • Kristy’s English teacher: “Stay with me, and you’ll be richly rewarded, as we visit the vastly different worlds of Dickens, Stevenson, Faulkner, Blume, Cormier…” Blume and Cormier? Hey, I love Forever as much as the next gal (any book where a guy decides to nickname his pistol Ralph is all right with me) but we never got to read her in eighth grade. Though Kristy’s English teacher did inspire me to read The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, so maybe he’s not all bad.

BEEP BEEP—Continuity Alert

Mary Anne claims that Kristy stood up for her and that’s why Alan Gray stopped teasing her in third grade. Except in Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, in the fifth grade, Alan picked on everyone and Kristy fooled him into stealing her lunch (which was actually full of dead spiders and mud pies)—and that’s why he picks on Kristy. Bad ghostwriter—no twinkie!

Outfit Alert


At that Labor Day meeting she was wearing a bracelet of dyed, braided shoelaces, along with a blousy ruffled shirt that looked like it once belonged to Captain Hook; mismatched high-top Converse sneakers; and baggy, pinstriped men’s suit pants, gathered at the waist with a bungee cord.

Claudia, Claudia, Claudia, the puffy shirt didn’t work for Jerry Seinfeld. It’s NOT going to work for you.

Also, even the hipsters manage to coordinate themselves by color, and I don’t even want to know what you’re doing with a bungee cord.


Kristy thinks it’s reasonable to blow up when club members want to do things that interfere with the club (Mal’s writing workshop, Jessi’s new dance class conflict, Abby possibly taking up a new instrument, Stacey going to a Broadway show on the night of a club meeting). Nope, not cult like at all.