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?)

1 comment:

  1. I do Claudia's trick with using another word when I can't spell the word I meant. Doesn't happen nearly as often to me as it does to Claudia, though.

    The book with the purposely bad outfits is #62, Claudia's -Freind- Friend ("freind" is crossed out on the book cover). The BSC gets anonymous notes saying things like "You are nice" and "You are the greatest" and then gets invited to lunch at a restaurant. They assume that someone like Cokie is pulling a prank and dress like idiots because somehow that will enable them to exact revenge. SPOILER ALERT It turns out it's some of the kids they watch wanting to treat them to lunch, and they clean themselves up as much as possible in the bathroom before eating. I think there is some trading of clothes involved.

    I'm normally not into fanfic, but I would be interested in seeing a story with Shannon and Logan interacting. Cool idea!