Monday, February 11, 2013

"It was the same way a person might say liver." BSC Forever Friends # 3: Mary Anne's Big Breakup (1999)

I know a lot of people don't consider the Forever Friends books to be a "real" part of the series. I look at it this way: They exist. There's not many of them, and they're pretty stupid over all. But they are part of the canon. It's almost like the authors tried to pretend that books 5-131 (not to mention all the mysteries, super specials and super mysteries) never happened. Almost.

So, without ruining the plot of #131 too much, Mary Anne's house has burned down. She feels like Logan is always taking charge and being too bossy. So she dumps him (on page 24!) again. She spends a lot of time crying and second guessing herself. Eventually, after talking to Dawn and Claudia, she realizes she needs to be more confident in her choices and makes a decision to stop being so agreeable just to make others happy.
"Interesting" Tidbits

The FF book covers use real girls to portray the BSC members, and they look pretty much the way you'd expect. Mary Anne's hair is long again (probably because her shorter hair style went out of style), she's got long bangs and she wears conservative clothes. The inside of the book describes the characters--it's sort of a third person chapter two of the earlier books. The descriptors are extremely cheesy: "Even though she's the shortest person in the eighth grade, she lives large." "Claudia knows the regular rules don't apply when you have art in your heart!" They also describe Stacey as confident, smart and thoughtful. Huh.
Logan made photocopies of all the letters and cards MA sent him and gave the copies back to her. Who does that? Even if she did lose all his letters to her in the fire.

Awww. MA says she feels like she's lost her mother entirely, now that all her pictures and mementos of her are gone.
Mistake! Sharon says she's "overdo" for a haircut.

Claudia and Stacey are fighting over a boy. I haven't read that one, so I'm not sure the actual details. The guy's name is Jeremy and he's new in school.
Mary Anne keeps the club record book under Claudia's bed. How does it not get eaten by the dust bunnies and scuzz?

When MA tells the other girls at the meeting that she's thinking of breaking up with Logan, they're all, "But I thought you'd be together forever!" Which is realistic for thirteen year olds. I remember that one couple that dated for more than a year in my middle school that we'd felt that way about. (He's married with kids now; she's a lesbian.)
Hallelujah! Mary Anne makes a decision without consulting Logan and her friends. She does have a spine! (Of course, that only lasts about 15 pages before she starts doubting herself.)

Logan cries when MA breaks up with him. He sarcastically asks if she wants to break up, and is totally shocked when she says yes.
Janine comes in while Mary Anne is crying in Claudia's bedroom, and she's really sweet. She asks MA if she's okay, and then gives her encouragement.

Mary Anne is surprised when her dad notices something is wrong with her, and even more so when he says he's noticed her "lack of enthusiasm" for Logan recently.
Do we really have to be told that Stoneybrook Middle School is called SMS for short? That's pretty standard.

Ahh consistency. MA says that she has to go past where her house burned down to get to Logan's house "on Burnt Hill Road." It's established that both of those houses are on that street.
Mary Anne babysits Kerry and Hunter post-breakup. In order to explain things to them, MA tells them she still likes Logan and them, but she isn't dating Logan any more. Logan comes home and Kerry tells him MA still likes him. Mary Anne ends up running out and I could only think two things. 1. It was pretty mature of Mary Anne to take the job and deal with the angry little sibs. 2. She ran off without getting paid.

Mary Anne freaks out when one of Logan's friends asks her to the fall dance...mostly because Logan's other friends are all pretending she doesn't exist.
My favorite BSC boy, Pete, has a thing for Mary Anne; he asks if she's dating anyone else, and tells Emily that MA won't be single for long because she's pretty and nice. This makes me laugh because he's been on dates with Stacey, Claudia and Dawn in the past. Who's next, Kristy?

Kristy and Logan are hanging out and laughing. When Kristy puts her hand on Logan's arm, MA worries they'll start dating...and that she'll lose Kristy as a friend over it.
Dave, Logan's friend who asked MA out, tells her a joke about a frog trying to get a bank loan. Is it sad that I want to know what the joke was?

Richard, Sharon and Mary Anne go with the contractors to check out the plans for the new house they're building. One of the contractors is called Ellice. At first I was reading that as Ellis, until I realized she was a woman. I guess it's pronounced like Elise?
Ellice gives MA some good advice: she tells her not to limit herself and box in her thinking.

Heh heh heh. Mary Anne goes apple picking with the Brewer/Thomas crew. Karen mentions that Kristy told them MA and Logan broke up, and Andrew adds, "Yeah, she says you're crazy." Leave it to a four-year-old to repeat exactly what you don't want them to repeat.
Karen gets stuck in a tree. They should have left her there.

Instead of going to the dance, Mary Anne stays home alone and watches movies. She rejects a bunch of movies because of romance or Logan memories. These include: Fly Away Home, Sleepless in Seattle, and Paulie. Logan calls and, instead of mentioning a specific movie, he says he rented "the Robin Williams movie" that just came out on video.

Despite the fact that Logan usually hasn't been allowed into the Spier house when no adults are home, MA says her parents won't mind that Logan came over to watch the movie.

Dawn tells Mary Anne that she's always defined herself by her relationships: Daddy's little girl, BSC member, Logan's girlfriend. While this is true, and Mary Anne needs to hear it, it's totally ruined by MA telling Dawn, "I may not be as much as an individual as you are..." (Speaking of that, that's one thing I liked about the California Diaries--I've now read 14 out of the 15--is that Dawn actually is the individual they keep calling her. She thinks for herself instead of being all insecure and doing what everyone else expects of her.*) On the plus side, she tells Claudia that she's the only person she knows who's more of an individual that Dawn is. Which is actually more true.

Back to what Dawn says to MA. She tells her that she needs to figure out who she is without her friends or anyone--just Mary Anne. She tells her she's busting out and becoming herself, and that it's a good thing. If I hadn't read the California Diaries, I'd find her smug and annoying saying this. But really, she's telling the truth.
Stacey: fuzzy aqua sweater
Claudia: white painter's overalls covered in daisies

*If anyone was wondering, I've read all the Ducky books, and although they never say he's gay, he's totally gay! Sunny kisses him and he panics and runs off. He says it's like kissing his sister and he's not "into her." Dawn tells him she's not surprised that he's not into Sunny. Made me laugh. Dawn apparently has good gaydar.

No comments:

Post a Comment