Monday, December 16, 2013

“No, dear. I don’t think there’s anything Mary Anne and I require from the Nutrition Center today.” BSC #114: The Secret Life of Mary Anne Spier (1997)

There are four separate things going on in this book. The A plot revolves around Mary Anne’s secret life…as an elf. She spends way more money on her dad’s credit card than she can afford to pay back, so she takes a job at the mall’s Santa Land and tries really hard to keep it a secret. Plot #2 involves her elf coworker, Angela, who is seventeen and is living at a shelter because her parents kicked her out. MA tries to help her out a bit.

Meanwhile, in BSC land, the club is working together to “save” a program at the hospital to get gifts for kids who are stuck there over the holidays. They plan a fair and ask for donations for the fair, and then donations to come to the fair. It probably would have been a lot easier to just ask for money donations, but this is the BSC here. The final plot involves the fact that Dawn is back from vacation and she and MA have trouble reconnecting because MA is so busy.

Interesting Tidbits

Y’all know I love shiny covers, right? (even when they're blurry like this)

My only other commentary on this cover is that, if Mary Anne doesn’t want anyone to ever know (as the tag line says), maybe she should leave her elf head on. Just a thought.

Who all else thinks that Richard would never actually give permission for MA to take his credit card…especially without setting a limit like, “You can only spend $100.”

Okay, here comes the “retail loss prevention officer” in me again. Where I work, we would NEVER allow a teenaged girl to use a credit card simply because the last names matched. I’ve only ever worked one place that allowed that, and they had to have a signed letter from the credit card holder.

Whoa…I’m trying to determine how much MA spent in 2013 dollars. For starters, she spent probably well over $100 dollars on Sharon alone. Add in that she seems to have bought a gift for everyone, and it really adds up. I’ll give you a total at the end…

Kristy asks MA a Kwanzaa question. Shouldn’t she already know all about Kwanzaa?

Stacey’s trying to collect dues and she actually says, “Open your wallets, kiddies.” Since it’s a Christmas story, can I call her Scrooge for the rest of the blog? (Never fear, Abby actually does call her Scrooge shortly thereafter.)

Umm, ew. Why would you make stew with both beef and tofu in it? MA says she can pick out the tofu and Sharon can pick out the beef. That’s crazy. If something’s cooked with beef, it smells and tastes like beef. I eat a lot like Sharon does (partly by choice and partly not) and would not have touched the stew.

Sharon puts her fork in her pocket. This one I can almost actually buy…

Sharon seems surprised that Richard would charge MA interest on her gifts. Has she met the man? Actually, I’m totally on Richard’s side on this one…although I would have told my kid how long she had to pay the bill. (She thinks she has six weeks, but she really only has two because Richard, unsurprisingly, pays the bills right away.) She’s never going to learn to be financially responsible if he lets her get away with stuff like that. Makes me wonder whether Dawn had to pay interest on those two plane tickets she had to pay back….

One day, I am going to go back and comment on who said each of my random opening quotes. This one is a Richard.

Aww, Mary Anne says she’s starting to think of Sharon as her mom.

I know MA is desperate, but I can’t believe she actually goes along with lying about her age on her job application. Of course, she also goes on the world’s most slack job interview. She’s going to be working with children, and they don’t ask for any ID or do a background check or anything. She’s hired right on the spot.

Charlotte agrees to make donations for the BSC’s ridiculous Santa-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa Town, so she starts clearing out her family’s pantry of every food she doesn’t like. I shudder to think what kind of refreshments the BSC would make from pate, pickled beets and corn relish, but it was pretty realistic. She ends up replacing them with brownie mix and potato chips, saying, “My parents would just buy more anchovies anyway.”

Richard doesn’t want Mary Anne turning into a “mall cat.” I’m glad he’s such a concerned parent.

Is it really sad that when MA says the Santa is great-looking, I thought she meant buff instead of round and jolly, with an authentic beard?


Not this:

I agree that small children are often afraid of Santa. But how is Mary Anne with her giant elf head any less scary? I would have been petrified of that head when I was a kid…and when I was a teen, for that matter.

Dawn’s being a little bitchy when she first arrives in town. By this point the California Diaries have started, and you’d think that with all the drama Dawn and all her friends are going through, she’d welcome something that’s the same and comforting. Instead, she kind of makes fun of the BSC and the way they have to turn everything into a project and save the world. Don’t get me wrong—obviously, I make fun of that on a regular basis—but until not long before, Dawn was part of that.

Logan has his own theory as to why MA is spending all her time at the mall: it’s where she meets her secret boyfriend.

We get to hear what Dawn is buying all her California friends. The only one I want to comment on, though, is that Ducky is getting a picture of ducks on a lake. Is she being ironic?

Logan actually gets to be funny a couple of times: “It is good to be a carnivore…Meat, yum. Deep-fat-fried-fries, yum.”

Jackie actually glues blocks onto his head.

Heh. Dawn, Logan, Kerry and Hunter come through the Santa line. Hunter is the only one to recognize Mary Anne (although, how, I’m not sure). But the part that amused me was that Kerry—who is nine and therefore, probably doesn’t believe in Santa any more—makes a face when MA gives her a balloon, but she takes it anyway.

“Mary Anne, I had no idea you were such a nut.” Those are the loving, heartfelt words Dawn shares when MA tells her the truth.

And Richard is, of course, stern when he learns the truth and basically threatens MA with hell if she lies to him again. The end!

Okay, I didn’t find exactly what Mary Anne bought for each person, but my estimation is that she spent between $450 and $500. She says she spent three times as much as she had saved. So are we supposed to believe that MA made about $300 in two weeks, working a couple of hours a day, a couple days a week? Don’t think so.

1 comment:

  1. If she made that much money in that short amount of time, I want her job.