Tuesday, September 24, 2013

“What’s the deal for the day, guys? Hanging out? Major activity? Variations on the porch-sitting theme?” BSC #66: Maid Mary Anne (1993)

Oh, my my. This one made me so confused when I was younger. I really couldn’t understand why Mary Anne, the biggest doormat in the universe, could ever think she was self-centered.

So MA is worrying she’s self-centered after some comment Dawn made. She has also started taking sewing lessons from a neighbor, Mrs. Towne. After Mrs. Towne breaks her ankle, Mary Anne agrees to exchange chores for her lessons. But Mrs. Towne takes advantage of her, and because of the self-centered thing, MA won’t say anything to her. Then she realizes she’s not being fair to everyone other than Mrs. Towne, so she talks to her and over course, everything goes okay.

Meanwhile, MA and Claudia are teaching a class on sewing to some kids, including Nicky and Buddy. But since they’re the only boys in the class, they get made fun of and have to show how macho they are for a while. They end up coming back to the class in time to make a quilt for Mrs. Towne.

There’s a little mini-subplot that Dawn is all depressed and making frowny faces about missing California, setting up the next book.

Interesting tidbits

The cover! Carolyn’s hair is shorter than I imagined it, and her clothes are a little more Claudia than I can imagine most eight year olds being allowed to wear. Plus, the twins look nothing like their last appearance on the cover of abook

Sharon apparently sometimes puts mail in the medicine cabinet. She also put laundry soap with the dishes in the kitchen. The latter almost actually makes sense.

Ugh. One of my pages has a rip in it and I’m missing about half a page. I think all I’m missing is Mary Anne going on a nature walk with Marilyn and Carolyn.

Mrs. Stone seems to have no problem with the BSC members showing up at her farm with no warning. I would get really annoyed if I were her.

The first chapter has flashbacks to #65 (Elvira the goat), mystery #4 (Mary Anne flunking home ec.).

Marilyn and Carolyn like to play the kind of games my sister and I were so good at growing up. On the way home from their nature walk, they go back and forth with all the ways they could die if they got lost: eaten by tigers, attacked by rattlesnakes, chased by bears. In ten years, I can just picture them insulting each other like my sister and I used to do: “You have crabs!” “You have herpes!”

It says a lot about Mallory when pushing her glasses up her nose is her “characteristic gesture.”

Wait, what? MA says that she, Claudia and Kristy were the charter members of the BSC and that Stacey joined because they were so busy and needed help. That’s not right. Did that start as a line about Dawn?

Heh. Mary Anne calls Claudia creative and then mentions she even has creative spelling. That’s actually an almost nice way to put it.

Double heh. After detailing all the best friends in the club, MA brings up Logan and Shannon and then points out that they aren’t best friends. I’d love to see a story where the two of them interact—say, babysitting together for the Pikes or Barrett-DeWitts.

This says a lot about Kristy, too: she’s one of the few people MA knows that will argue with “a Look.” I think Kristy would argue with a shoe if she thought it might disagree with her.

Jessi wears a Swatch. That would have been more appropriate in, what, 1987?

Maybe MA is self-centered. Dawn’s all quiet and keeps bringing up California and listening to the Beach Boys, but Mary Anne’s all, “Listen to me talk about my shit!” instead of really listening to Dawn. But then again, pensive Dawn is even more boring that environmental crusader Dawn, so I don’t blame her.

Mary Anne expects Mrs. Towne to be the stereotypical old grandma from a fairy tale or something. I love how these girls are always surprised when older women wear pants, have friends, don’t wear their hair in buns and have active, full lives. Don’t they watch Geritol and denture paste commercials? (Kidding. But only a little.)

Dawn and MA have a bike race to a BSC meeting, and MA wins because she cheats. I almost can’t picture that, and it’s made worse by the fact that MA is laughing hysterically over the whole thing.

Jessi and Mal are having a “horse-o-rama” movie marathon one night. Claudia groans (and probably rolls her eyes) over that. I can totally picture it, though.

Stacey keeps complimenting things by saying they’re decent. Doesn’t sound like that good of a compliment to me. (Later, Dawn, Logan and Byron use it too, so it just must have been the ghostwriter’s* word of the day.)

When Dawn suggests Jeff would like to take MA’s sewing class (although honestly, I can’t picture that), Stacey suggests he’d make a surf board cover.

Wait a minute. Doesn’t Jeff usually come visit Dawn and company over the summer? Or Dawn go visit California? It’d be logical to split the summer in half and have Dawn spend half in California with Jack and Jeff and have Jeff spend the other half in Connecticut with Dawn and Sharon.

Claudia spelling: quillting, potenshul, allmost. She also writes psiched, syked, siked before crossing each one off and writing “getting into.” Oh, and she spells sewing as sowing. Twice. Guess she’s planting a garden?

I love how the crew for the sewing class is Vanessa and her friends (Becca, Charlotte and Haley) and then Nicky and Buddy. It’s almost as if the other girls were like, “Vanessa will be there? Okay, I’ll come.” Although, apparently Charlotte already knows some embroidery. Wonder where she picked that up?

I don’t know why, but there’s something really funny about Vanessa using the phrase “poetic metaphor.”

Heh heh yet again. Stacey has great babysitter instincts because Buddy is slamming doors and shouting at her and she knows something’s wrong. Does that mean that I have great babysitter sense, too, and so does my three year old nephew? Because even he would know something was off after that.

Stacey’s shocked that an eight year old boy is a sexist. Seriously. Show me an eight year old boy who doesn’t have rigid gender roles in his head. It’s how kids shape their world.

Oh no! Mrs. Barrett comes home late, so Stacey misses the BSC meeting! I *think* that’s the first time I can remember seeing where someone had to miss a meeting because she was sitting. Does that mean, though, that she misses out on the jobs? Because that’s not really fair.

Not enough payment: Mal and Jessi are going as babysitters when the entire Pike family is going to the mall together. They’re getting paid in ice cream.

Now, there’s a pairing: Logan hasn’t seen MA in a long time, so he greets her by going on about the years that have passed since he’d last seen her. She asks if he’s been hanging out with Vanessa, because he’s getting poetic. I’ve seen stuff where he’s with Byron (and by that I mean WITH Byron. Heh.) but not hanging out with Vanessa. I can almost see her hanging out with Kerry and developing a crush… (I am running with crazy fanfic ideas these days. Sorry!)

Did you know that potato chips are an important source of potato vitamins? Thanks to MA and Logan, I learn something new every day!

MA makes fun of pimento cheese, then packs cream cheese and jelly sandwiches. How is one any better than the other? Though I can’t comment either, as we kinda combined the two in my house and ate cream cheese-green-olive-pimento sandwiches.

Mrs. Towne actually makes MA (and Logan) come over because there’s a bee in her kitchen. Logan promises not to kill it, but then tries to squish it with a broom, on the logic that “it tried to kill us first.”

Real book: Nobody’s Family is Going to Change by Louise Fitzhugh. I had to double check, but yes, she’s the one who wrote Harriet the Spy. (If I’d kept reading, I’d have seen that that gets verified just a few sentences later.)

I hate puns, really I do. So why did I laugh so hard when Jessi calls Byron, Margo and Claire’s maze “amazing?” I think it’s because Claire didn’t get the joke.

There are no outfits before chapter twelve, and then it’s not even a good one! It makes me nauseous! And no, Claudia is not wearing it. For once.

Nicky eventually adds a hat with branches coming out of it to his outfit. Do not let Claudia see this or she’ll be wearing it in the next book (and it’ll look great on her, of course.) Jordan tells him he looks like a tree.

The Pikes make a metric ton of cookies using every ingredient imaginable: they make chocolate chip, coconut, peanut butter, etc. Mallory brings the leftovers to the BSC meeting, but they’re from the last batch that includes all the ingredients. Why not just throw those away? If the triplets won’t eat ‘em, ain’t nobody want ‘em.

Although, apparently MA actually LIKES those cookies. Reminds me of a line from a favorite (non-BSC) fanfic:

Jane: Yeah, I want -- I want your head examined.
Daria: Or perhaps your tongue.
Lynn: (*smirk*) I can attest to the fact that there is nothing wrong with his tongue.
( http://www.sh33pie.com/canadibrit )

Just like last week, there’s a moment where, randomly, Becca is referred to as Becca Ramsey.

I like this idea: Claudia wants to make a junk food quilt. MA: “I don’t think junk food counts as one of the basic needs in life. Claud: It does in my life.

Charlotte is an artist, too: she quilted a tulip growing upside down.
Is it wrong that I’m amused by the fact that the guy who has been teasing Nicky and Buddy is named Clarence? That’s also the name of the guy who teased Logan in one of the Logan books. Is it having a crappy name that turns these Clarences into assholes?

*Every time I write ghostwriter on one of these posts, I get the theme song to the old PBS show Ghostwriter stuck in my head. “Ghostwriter…word!”


Nicky: khaki cut offs, lime green t-shirt, kelly green socks, Mr. Pike’s work boots, tool belt (wait…didn’t Claudia once wear a combo nearly exactly like this in a book, when she was trying to look as bad as possible? I swear she combined kelly green with lime green. Anyone know what book that was?)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I am planning to go through this weekend and update some links (linking between one post and another when a blogged book is mentioned.) I also want to go back and actually post all the cover photos I'm mentioning. That's been my plan all along, but I keep forgetting. I'm hoping to get caught up in my school work and in the blog so that this is a possibility.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. I just had a flashback to, I think, the first book, in which Janine corrects Kristy's use of the word hopefully. I have definitely spent way too much time with the BSC in the past couple years....

“What I observed was that the book banners have very little fashion sense.” BSC Mystery #13: Mary Anne and the Library Mystery (1994)

Mary Anne is helping with a Readathon in the children’s room at the library when someone starts a series of fires. Many of the kids are really excited about reading but the BSC’s suspect list includes several kids who are not really into it, like Nicky, as well as some protestors who want to ban books, and the assistant children’s librarian, whose family used to own the land the library was built on. The culprit turns out to be Sean Addison, probably because he’s been in the series since near the beginning and, at that point, had never had his own story….

Interesting Tidbits

Ahh, the cover. I love Rosie’s ugly yellow high tops….She’s also a mini-Mallory.

This book is full of MA doing stuff that reminds me of why I’m such a Mary Anne. Just a warning here. For example, she decides to watch a movie that makes her cry because it might make her feel better. I used to do that, only I read Lurlene McDaniel books instead of watching old movies. Also, MA likes to check the birth announcements to see if the babies are given weird or good names, something that I still do to this day.

Mary Anne wants to reread all the books she read as a child. I could picture her as an adult, blogging her books…

Flashback time: MA teaches Corrie how to use the card catalogue.

PSA time: Book banning is bad, mmmkay.

Real banned books: To Kill a Mockingbird, Diary of Anne Frank, The Outsiders

Kristy writes a script for Rosie to ask for donations. Rosie makes fun of the script because Kristy didn’t put her stage directions in parentheses. Kristy says she should remember that from English class…but wasn’t she also in a play? Even funnier, Rosie tells her the script is boring and jazzes it up.

The second fire is started with lighter fluid, which is pretty scary. I’m wondering how many kids could easily get ahold of lighter fluid. I probably could have at that age if I’d been sneaky about it.

Jessi is doing yoga on the floor during a BSC meeting. They had to give her something to do with Mallory out with mono, I guess.

More real books: Deenie and A Light in the Attic. These books are later revealed to be on the fifth grade reading list.

Nicky becomes a suspect because he has matches in his pocket. He swears they’re not his, but that’s pretty much what anyone caught with matches in his pocket would say. MA says she believes him but can’t rule him out as a suspect.

Jessi arrives at the Pikes to pick up Nicky and help him with his Readathon stuff (why does that need a sitter?) Everyone swarms her and wants her attention. My favorite was Claire, who’s all dressed up and introduces herself as “Mrs. Filthy Rich.”

Were there really new Marguerite Henry books in the 90s? I’m going to have to research that. I never read any of those, but I seem to remember feeling like they were classics when I was a kid.

After some matches turn up that say Chez Maurice on them, Jessi, Kristy, Nicky and Rosie go there to ask about them…which, of course, does not turn out well. What fancy French restaurants wants a teen and a group of preteens hanging out?

More banned book: Huckleberry Finn, The Grapes of Wrath, Bridge to Terebithia. MA says she doesn’t know why anyone would want to ban the last one. I love BtT—it’s in my top ten books of all time—but I understand exactly why someone would want to ban it: Leslie questions the existence of God. It’s actually about my favorite part of the book, because it’s the only time I’ve ever read a book with overtly religious overtones that I didn’t want to throw out the window.

Someone set fire to Tom Sawyer the third time. Again, it’s on the fifth grade reading list.

Heh heh…as I’m reading this, I’m watching The Office (the British version) and the fire alarm just went off.

More banned books: A Wrinkle in Time and How to Eat Fried Worms.

Since all the burned books are books that the protestors want to ban, they decide to stalk follow them. All they learn is that Claudia thinks the protestors have no fashion sense.

Shannon and Rosie go to the library together one time. I think that’s actually a good pairing, because they have a lot in common. (I really want to go through one day and pair up sitters with sittees that I think they should sit for more often. I would pay to read a story that teams Abby up with Jeff Schafer, for example.)

Much like the Kristy mystery about the treasure, they track a family tree in this one. Ms. Ellway’s grandfather was Theodore Ellway, her father Theodore Jr., her brother Theodore III and her nephew Theodore IV. Theodore III is the owner of Ted’s Tools. (I’m pretty sure he also shows up in a few other books. I like this.)

There’s a fancier neighborhood than the one Shannon and Kristy live in? If Watson’s a millionaire, wouldn’t he want to live there?

Shannon and Claudia are actually disappointed when the Ellway family members all turn out to be super nice.

I find it really funny that MA is dreaming about fictional characters having to jump out the library windows and stuff. She’s super disturbed by it but I find the image of The Runaway Bunny and Ramona Quimby escaping a fire hilarious.

Why am I not surprised that Claudia’s backpack is chock full of candy.

Ooh, an emergency club meeting! I’m surprised we had to wait until chapter 13 for one.

Claudia spelling: she finds some chocolate covered pretzels in a box labeled Kaligrufy pens. Way to use phonics and sound it out, Claud.

Kristy can be a bitch sometimes. MA was in the library during all the fires and she’s naturally freaked out by that. Then she starts having nightmares, and then there’s a fire at the school. Kristy, sensitive soul she is, tells everyone that Mary Anne is losing it, completely embarrassing her: “If we don’t solve this case soon, Mary Anne is going to have a nervous breakdown, and where would that leave the BSC?” Niiiiiice.

Just a thought. Why is it always Mary Anne who has fires in her stories?

The BSC has a stakeout and invites Logan along. Because I always bring my boyfriends on stakeouts. Plus, Kristy makes fun of Claudia and Stacey “dressing up” when they’re supposed to blend in. But their outfits aren’t really that wild or out there.

I love how the BSC is all surprised that Sean doesn’t like how his parents shuttle him from one activity to another to avoid spending time with them. You’d think that would be something that Claudia—who has dealt with that with Corrie on more than one occasion—would pass along in the club notebook. Maybe they just forgot because they’ve read so many things in the notebook?

Gag, gag, gag. Nicky wins the prize for third grade because Mary Anne inspired him to like reading so much, he read as many books as fast as possible so he could surprise her.


Rosie: sailor dress

Claudia: white shirt over a jumpsuit (I’m going to start taking a shot of whipped cream vodka every time a jumpsuit shows up in these books. I’ll be too drunk to finish writing the blog, though), pink high tops, flamingo earrings

Stacey: red miniskirt, red and white striped shirt, heart earrings, black boots

Next week: #66 Maid Mary Anne

Thursday, September 12, 2013

“Right between the eyes! Did you see, Mary Anne?” BSC #86: Mary Anne and Camp BSC (1995)

There are three stories going on at the same time in this one. In the main plot, the BSC is holding a camp with a circus theme. About half the campers went to a professional circus camp before (as outlined in a Little Sister book). Karen leads those campers in being brats (big surprise there, huh?) and it leads to some tension between those campers and the ones from Stoneybrook Elementary, who didn’t go to that camp.

Meanwhile, Richard has to go out of town for two weeks and MA starts to feel all depressed while he’s gone, because she misses him so much and she feels like she can’t talk about it to Dawn and Sharon. The third story, which ties directly into this, involves Alicia Gianelli, who has never spent so much time away from her mom before and refuses to go on camp outings because she’s scared her mom won’t be able to find her. After MA sprains her ankle, Alicia decides she wants to go on those outings but MA, who was the only one who thought that Alicia should be allowed to continue sitting out every day, uses her as a security blanket or something. So when Alicia decides to join the group, MA realizes she’s been acting childish and turns herself around.

Interesting tidbits

Is it wrong that I’m looking at the cover and trying to figure out who all those kids are supposed to be? I know the blonde with the pink glasses is Karen, and the redhead on the left must be Jackie. The brown haired girl could be Margo, but then who is the brown haired boy? A lot of the characters it could be wear glasses—Nicky, Ricky (heh..that rhymes). I’m trying to account for all the children who would be at the cookout. Linny? That kid looks a lot younger than nine (actually, he looks about five). And Bobby appeared on the cover of a Little Sister book I saw at the thrift store recently and I don’t think that’s supposed to be him. Maybe it’s Chris, whom I don’t remember from any of the Little Sister books I actually read, but who goes to school with Karen?

Pow is apparently now known as Pow Barrett Pike. Even for someone who gives her cats middle names that seems a little silly.

The Pikes are so full of energy that Mallory suggests harnessing it for electricity, noting that Dawn would approve. Although, in this case, energy mostly seems to be loud noise.

Sharon’s housekeeping (I have a feeling there will be quite a bit of that to keep track of in MA books): books in the linen closet and cans of beans on the book shelf. That’s pretty tame for her.

MA mentions how Sharon and Dawn eat health food and don’t eat red meat. She says she thinks Jeff does sometimes. Does that sound consistent with what we know? I would think Jeff would eat whatever he’s told to eat at his age, but whatever.

Three cheese macaroni and garlic and onion toast sounds yummy, but not exactly healthy.

Didn’t Richard have his own law firm at one point? I swear I remember reading that in #9 when Granny and Pop-Pop were interrogating Richard. In this one, the firm he works for is merging with a larger one.

Why would Dawn, the health food fiend, want to eat fast food takeout every night? That’s a horrible diet, and even a thirteen year old knows that.

Here’s a similarity we don’t generally get to hear: Kristy and MA are both really stubborn. MA says that when they used to fight as children, it was because of this. It’s kinda true.

Stacey quit/was fired shortly before this book, so MA’s kinda mad at her. She says Dawn’s a good treasurer “even if she’s not the math whiz of the world.”

Haha: “Logan is stubborn and sometimes bossy.” I liked this because usually we just get to hear how wonderful Logan is, and not just in the Mary Anne books. But I’ve always thought Logan was a bit of a jerk. (Let me rephrase that: he was basically my dream boy when I was 10 or so. Adult me has always considered him a jerk.)

They have an almost-emergency meeting to discuss the concept of a summer camp, and even Logan has to attend. Umm, why? It’s not like they’ve never run a summer camp before. #7 comes to mind, as does SS#10.

Mary Anne apparently tries to reason with Tigger sometimes. Trust me; reasoning with cats does not work.

The BSC needs to have an adult who is home to be on call in case of emergency, so they call Mrs. Braddock and Mrs. Prezzioso. Not only does Mrs. Braddock agree, she signs Matt and Haley up for the camp. Two thoughts on that: Doesn’t Mrs. Braddock work? Isn’t that the reason that Jessi works with the Braddocks so much? And two, if she’s going to be home, why does she even need a camp for her kids? You’d think that the main reason someone would need a program like this is if they can’t afford a full-time nanny or daycare center and just need activities for their kids every day while they work.

MA thinks Logan looks handsome on a bicycle. I…do not get it.

Smartly, the BSC pairs up the kids so everyone has a buddy. They even seem to do it by age on the first day, pairing Alicia (the youngest) with Vanessa (one of the oldest). But if Alicia is so afraid her mother will miss her, why don’t they adjust the pairings, at least at first, so that Alicia is paired with her brother?

Here’s my thought: by letting Alicia “stay behind this one time” they set a precedent that comes back to haunt them. Although, one of my memories from being Alicia’s age is when I was afraid of something at preschool and my teacher let me sit it out until I realized that I wanted to join it…

Mrs. Gianelli is really making things worse by not just dropping Alicia off and leaving right away.

There’s a division of the kids at camp between the SES and the Stoneybrook Academy kids. I’m assuming that Andrew and Alicia go to the SA side since they have older siblings there. That leaves Jamie…where does he fit in?

Karen is such a bitch in training. She decides the camp is stupid because it’s “not a real circus camp” and basically spends all her time convincing her schoolmates to complain about it.

I like how Dawn actually manipulates Linny into not being part of the whiners by saying she needs his muscles to help move things. Usually Dawn pisses me off at least once through a book, but she’s actually made me smile a few times in this one. (Earlier, when MA was admiring how hot Logan looked on a bike, Dawn punched him in the shoulder like he was an old buddy, and the two of them are working together with the “roustabout” kids and have a hay fight. (Hmmm…maybe MA better watch out??))

Richard is singing in this one. He’s way too happy to be leaving his wife and family behind….Wonder what he’s really doing when he’s “away on business.”

This is odd. There’s a moment when Richard is leaving and MA says she’s looking forward to spending two weeks “with Sharon and Dawn Schafer.” Why is their last name on there? Is there another Sharon and Dawn in the series I’ve forgotten?

Real movie time! MA, Dawn and Sharon have a bad movie night and choose Plan Nine from Outer Space, (Dawn) Girls, Girls, Girls (Sharon) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (MA).

Sharon, why would you pick an Elvis movie if you don’t like it when Elvis sings on screen? (She demonstrates this by throwing popcorn at the screen.)

Alicia staying behind on all the trips means that there’s an odd number of children and someone ends up without a buddy. When it’s Claire, she nearly throws a tantrum until Jessi agrees to be her buddy.

There’s this humorous bit where everyone starts listing animals that laugh because Mal averts a Karen-related meltdown by suggesting that all the hawks are laughing.

How come none of the babysitters ever needs to go to any appointments during the camp? Like why doesn’t Claudia have art class or Jessi go to ballet or somebody have a doctor’s appointment or something?

MA says she can like just about any vegetarian food, except sprouts, because they look like green hair and get stuck in your teeth. Which makes me laugh, partly because it’s true and partly because there are so many more disgusting (looking) vegetarian foods she could be grossed out by.

Heh. A roll of TP fell into the shower while MA was using it. That has happened to me on several occasions.

I’m seriously wondering where the Gianellis got a camel costume for Alicia.

Really? Sharon found a place that puts eggplant on pizza?

The camp includes a night-time cook out for all campers ages seven and up. Can you imagine the responses of Claire, Alicia and Andrew, who all have older sibs who get to go, but aren’t invited?

Wow, there’s actually someone who refuses to let Karen get out of control with ghost stories: Logan tells her flat out there are no ghosts at MA and Dawn’s to cut her off before she scares anyone. Usually, the BSC just lets her ramble until they get kicked out of places and/or everyone’s in a tizzy. Later, he tells her that “the Barn Ghost” she made up on the spot doesn’t come out until midnight and can’t follow her home. Logan may be a jerk, but he’s actually pretty smart this time.

When Logan tries to tell scary stories, the kids cut him off and say they know those ones already and want REAL scary stories. Heh.

So Mal tells a bloody and gruesome story that seems wildly inappropriate to tell a bunch of seven through nine year olds.

Mistake: Mary Anne tells a ghost cat story, and says it’s something that happened to Dawn. Although Dawn was in that story, it was really a Mallory story.

There’s actually a lot of Logan in this story. He helps the kids make s’mores and comes up with a bunch of creative ways to make them. Can he come to my house for a cookout sometime? (Matt Braddock wins though, with the idea of putting Reese’s Pieces in the s’mores.)

MA’s accident sounds pretty spectacular. I’d like to see it animated. She hits a pothole and while she’s trying to regain control of the bike, she hits a tree and then up onto the sidewalk with the bike on top of her.

You know, if I didn’t relate to the plotline of MA being depressed, this book would have been wicket boring.

Claudia spelling: bowlling, excelently, especialy, expectting, allie. That’s actually not that bad; autocorrect fixed all of those except the last.

On the way to bowling, they sing all kinds of cheesy songs: Bowl, Bowl, Bowl your boat; Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s off to bowl we go; Take me out to the bowl game…

Mr. Braddock appears in this story more than he usually does; first he just happens to be driving by when MA has her accident; later, he apparently doesn’t have to work on a Monday because he drives some of the campers to the bowling alley.

Mary Anne…*shakes head* Alicia clearly wants to go bowling; she asks if it’s fun and follows after everyone when they go to leave. Yet MA doesn’t suggest she go along and have fun.

Heh. Out of the twenty one kids, only two make strikes: Linny (one of the oldest) and Jamie (one of the youngest.)

Chapter 13 and so far, no babysitter outfits. LAAAAAAAME!

When Natalie makes a sassy comment about the clown make up running (which, while we don’t know her too well, seems a little out of character), David Michael dumps a bucket of oatmeal on her head. While this is humorous, why does he have a bucket of oatmeal and where did it come from? (Apparently the oatmeal is actually part of the clown act, but it seems unnecessarily messy to me.)

Karen refused to let anyone know what type of circus trick she was putting together, so no one gets to see it until the dress rehearsal. She wants to saw Nancy in half, but a) she tries to use a real saw, which the BSC quickly vetoes and b) Nancy’s “legs” sticking out of the far end of the box are stockings filled with toilet paper and one of them falls off during the trick.

Mary Anne is shocked when her dad tells her she needs to loosen up. She says it’s the last thing she’d ever thought she’d hear him say. But Richard and Sharon really are good parents, and it’s actually good advice.


Alicia: navy, lavender and white striped shirt, navy shorts with lavender stripe, white sneakers, white socks with lavender trim (sounds adorable; think they have it in my size?)

Vanessa: white jeans, rain boots, black jacket, t-shirt that says Ring Master, top hat

Nicky: t-shirt that says “Because I’m the boss, that’s why” (sounds like something Kristy would wear), blue sweatpants

Marilyn: t-shirt that says “I break for chocolate” (sounds like something Claudia would wear), blue sweatpants

Next week: Shall I do a mystery? Why, yes! I just haven’t decided which one yet.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

“What if we have to stay in here forever?” BSC: Kristy’s Book (1996)

So these “autobiographies” don’t have one plot. They’re similar to the memorysuper special in that they’re a series of stories from the past, divided in to time frames. Obviously, this book is all about Kristy growing up. So, here’re the major highlights:

·         She was nearly born at a baseball game because her dad didn’t want to leave.

·         Kristy’s first “great idea” involved making snowmen for profit when she was five.

·         Kristy basically ran away from home to watch a movie with Charlie and Sam.

·         After Mr. Thomas left and Elizabeth got a job, Charlie, Sam and Kristy basically turn the Thomas house into party central and eat junk food for a while before Elizabeth realizes she needs to lay down the law.

·         Kristy gets a scholarship to softball camp, makes an enemy and eventually, a friend, while learning a lesson about teamwork.

·         In a plot taken straight out of the BSC movie, her father comes back into her life but wants her to keep it a secret.

Interesting tidbits

Sam takes DM to Krushers’ practice, yet Karen is still around, annoying the shit out of Kristy (and me.) Shouldn’t she be at practice, too, and who’s running the practice, anyway?

Kristy’s mom comes in to ask her to babysit and ends up lying on her bed for a while. This kinda cracked me up. She says Kristy’s bed is just so comfortable.

I think it funny that Kristy was almost born at a Yankees/Red Sox game when she’s a Mets fan.

Of course, Kristy didn’t walk her first steps; she ran them to pick up a dropped ball.

I always wonder why little Kristy always tells Mary Anne her plans to break the rules when she knows little MA can’t lie to adults.

When Mr. Thomas left, Charlie got mad at his dad, while Sam got mad at his mom…for making his dad want to leave. Not only does this sound realistic, but it is consistent with the Forever Friends book when their dad gets married again.

Kristy, meanwhile, embodied the stereotype of the kid thinking the divorce was her fault.

How does six year old Claudia have junk food? I can understand teenaged Claud using her babysitting earnings to buy snacks, but most six year olds don’t have enough allowance to buy that sort of thing, and how is Claudia able to get to a place to buy snack food on her own?

I can understand most of the photos in the book, but at one point, the Thomas kids, MA and Claudia get locked into the bathroom with Louie after he gets sprayed by a skunk. There’s a picture of this in the book. How? Who took it and why? When Elizabeth lets them out, she’s all pissed and makes the girls go home and everyone else get changed.

I’m not even going to relate most of the stupidness with Kristy at Camp Topnotch. Rent any summer camp movie and you’ll see it all.

Ten year old Mary Anne has the same handwriting and spelling as twelve year old Mary Anne.

In the picture of Kristy at camp, she looks as if she has no nose.

Ahh, an explanation to a question I’d had for a while. When the series first begin, Kristy says her dad is married and living somewhere in California. Later, in FF, he gets married again. This one explains that his marriage in FF was his third marriage; when Patrick runs into Kristy, he tells her he and his second wife split up.

As I mentioned at the top, the plot line with Kristy’s dad showing up is straight out of the BSC movie. I hadn’t seen it when it was first out because I had just quit reading the books the year before and didn’t want to get sucked back in. I watched it for the first time as an adult (circa 2004) and thought it was really lame. I’ve seen it a few more times since then, and my opinion hasn’t really changed, though I do quote a couple scenes here and there….
(Icon courtesy of this awesome livejournal.)

Mistake? Kristy ran into her dad “last spring,” possibly meaning seventh grade. Yet she tells him about the Krushers, which she started in eighth grade. Maybe it’s just part of the Time Warp Stoneybrook is suffering.

I kept reading. It’s part of the Time Warp Syndrome, because Elizabeth is already married to Watson.

Real question about Patrick coming to town: He makes Kristy keep his visit a secret. Why would he want to just visit Kristy and not Charlie, Sam and David Michael also? I can almost understand the DM thing: he wasn’t ever there for DM, so he doesn’t even consider DM his kid. At least in the movie, I don’t think they ever mention Charlie or Sam, so maybe Kristy and DM are supposed to be the only kids in the family.

The ending to the Patrick story is actually pretty sweet: After Patrick gives Kristy a “gift” of a hand-me-down baseball mitt—it’s a righty and Kristy’s a lefty—and skips town, she realizes how awesome Watson is because he buys her a proper ball glove.

Kristy gets a B+ on her autobiography, in case you care.

We’re officially starting September this weekend with a switch to Mary Anne. I’m thinking well begin with #86 Mary Anne and Camp BSC.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

“Do I have enough to buy a tree?” BSC #100: Kristy’s Worst Idea (1996)

Okay people, you owe me. I could be out, “enjoying” the 100 degree heat at Santa-Cali-Gon, but I sacrificed in order to try to bring you at least one more Kristy before the month ends. (Okay, you won’t get to read it until September, but I am actually writing it in August.)

I picked this one because it picks up the Sunday before Labor Day. Kristy’s returned from Hawaii and feels like the club has gone to pot while Abby was president and no one’s taking it seriously. After Jackie R has an accident while she’s sitting him, she and the BSC get into a big fight and disband. Everyone takes individual sitting jobs except Kristy. Later, Jackie has a much worse accident while trying to bring Kristy a note and Mallory accidentally hurts Claire during another sitting job, and Kristy realizes that the incident wasn’t really her fault. Everyone misses the BSC, so they reform with a probationary period.

Interesting Tidbits

The cover cracks me up. First, Claudia’s room is way too clean. Second, Claudia is arguing the MA, and Kristy is arguing with Stacey, while Abby’s just yelling at the room in general. Third, for some reason, Stacey has bent down in front of Kristy and is waggling a finger at her. Plus, it’s shiny.

It bugs me more than a little that all these books mention the BSC on the first couple pages and then say (more about that later.) If you’re reading book 100, then a) you know exactly what is coming up in chapter 2 and b) you already know all about the club anyway.

This says exactly what I was thinking at the time: “Don’t think I’m a rich snob or anything. I’m casual, down to earth, and friendly as can be. (Modest, too. Heh heh.)”

Kristy brings everyone gifts, even the people who went to Hawaii earlier in the summer. But she gives the crappiest gift to Mallory, who didn’t get to go at all: clip on earrings. Those things hurt like a mofo, and anyway, Mallory’s ears are pierced.

If I were Abby, I’d be insulted: Kristy says Abby and Anna are nothing alike, and then calls Anna sweet, kind and thoughtful. Of course, Kristy’s kind of down on Abby in this book anyway, because she’s apparently jealous that Abby got to be president while she was in Hawaii.

Speaking of that, I’ve always wondered what the point of the vice president is if Claudia doesn’t take over at meetings. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the VP to act as the P? Claudia’s position seems to be mostly ceremonial, while everyone else actually works.

This is different than what we usually read. Kristy says Claudia has “the world’s oddest way of looking at life.”

Ouch. It’s not just Abby on Kristy’s shit list. She refers to the We <3 Kids Club as a “sloppy, unprofessional” version of the BSC, but then adds how nice they are. It’s kinda like the Southerners who add “Bless her heart,” after being vicious to someone.

Heh. When Kristy says she doesn’t feel like the club is taking things serious, she says they’ve been “Abbified.” I actually don’t mind a little Abby in these later books because she’s the only one who doesn’t take the club over-the-top seriously. She lightens things up a bit.

Claudia and MA babysit for the DeWitt/Barrett clan and they’re, uh, violent. Marnie wants Jessi to baby-sit, and Madeleine tells her Jessi’s dead. Later, Buddy says he’s going to poison his teacher and blow up the school. MA manages to get them all to settle down when Claudia barges in and tries to force them into an art project. The two of them end up sniping at each other. You can always tell that MA is really mad because she actually acts bitchy and middle-schooly to her friends.

Wow, Stacey actually misses something because she’s in New York with her dad!

Kristy refers to “Picasso’s Theory of Relativity.” Jessi corrects her by saying “Einstein,” and Kristy corrects herself: “Picasso’s Theory of Einstein.”

Kristy keeps trying to push everyone into a Fall Festival and no one’s into it. Even funnier is when she explains what she’s doing to the Papadakises and Kormans and they all think it’s stupid.

Cokie doing literary analysis using accurate terms is very, very wrong.

When did Kristy turn into one of those characters who gets famous people’s names wrong and pronounces everything wrong? She also calls Mary Anne Miss Congealiality. Which sounds like an awesome award to win.

Abby and Stacey determine that the hot lunch sandwiches are made out of recycled footballs. Would Dawn approve of that? It’s not meat, after all…

How does Jackie know what a googolplex is?

Watson makes a joke. This is almost as funny as if Richard were doing it. (Actually, I read #98 last night for fun because I’d just gotten a copy before and never read it, and Richard was telling jokes with Jeff.)

Kristy brothers take bets on how long the BSC being disbanded will last. I wonder who wins?

This made me laugh. Kristy’s all worked up about the end of the BSC so when MA is upset at school, she assumes that’s the cause. Really, Mary Anne is just freaking out because the school lunch that day is something disgusting.

Heh. Mr. Papadakis actually offers the BSC a retainer to get back together. I don’t know why—he’s got Kristy, Abby and Shannon all living on his street and he can call them directly. But Claudia imagines he means an orthodontic retainer.

Claudia spelling: metablism, oxyjin, elmints, efect, blode, ventricals, somting. She also uses to for too, hart for heart, blew for blue and their for there. She refers to the parts of the ‘hart’ as ‘ventricals and auricals’. But my real favorite is that, for the date, she wrote Thurz.

Later, she tells Kristy she’s D-E-D dead and spells Mary Anne’s last name wrong.

The kids in Kristy’s neighborhood keep asking her to babysit for them. Abby asks, “What about me?” to which Scott Hsu replies that she’s too old for Kristy to babysit.

I didn’t notice it until I started reading these later books through a second time, but you don’t hear much about the Krushers after #95, probably because, with Bart out of the picture, there was no one for the Krushers to play.

When Jackie gets hurt a second time, the whole BSC rushes to the ER to be by his side. Which is pretty stupid, because I can’t imagine the ER wanting a bunch of non-relatives hanging out in his cubicle.

Archie, Jackie and Shea are playing madlibs, and Shea tells Archie that adverbs are “verbs from ads” and pronouns are “names of professional teams." Jackie catches a case of the Kristies (the ghostwriter really likes the messing up words thing, as Claudia does it a few times also) and Shea keeps correcting him. Jackie says he had a combustion (concussion) and he was unconscience. Shea corrects the latter by saying “scious” and Abby replies, “Gesundheit.”

Jackie’s spelling is on par with Claudia’s. I won’t give you all the errors, but he uses my favorite Claudia-spelling and says babby siters.

When the BSC members get together to discuss reforming the club, they all have reasons for wanting to reform. The only one that gets through to Stacey—who, for some reason, is the most stubborn about rejoining—is money.

It think it’s hilarious that Shannon cracks up at the idea of running the BSC by “the net”, but ten years later, that’s exactly how a club like this one would have run.

When Mary Anne and Claudia finally make up, they air their sitting issues (MA feels like she’s dull compared to Claud; Claud feels like MA talks down to her when they sit together) and Logan pretends he’s going to cry from the drama of it all.


Claudia: bracelet made of dyed shoelaces, Captain Hook shirt, man’s pinstriped pants with a bungee cord belt

I’m hoping that by next week I’ll have one more Kristy and a Mary Anne ready to go. But don’t hold your breath…