Wednesday, March 11, 2015

“Is this putting practice?” BSC #73: Mary Anne and Miss Priss (1994)

This is the final original-series title I read as a kid. It really didn’t have anything to do with the book; I was 13 by then and waaaaay too old for the books. My parents only spent so much money on books for me, and I could either get a BSC book or something that lasted me more than an hour or two. I chose the latter. (And also, as I’ve mentioned before, the fact that #74 had a substantial Karen presence really didn’t help the BSC’s case.)
Andrea Prezzioso has become a baby model, and Jenny’s turned back to her old fussbudget-y self because of it. She’s trying to be perfect because everyone keeps saying Andrea’s perfect. Mary Anne goes on several acting auditions with Jenny, but Jenny’s not really cut out for that life. She then tries to get her parents attention by being the exact opposite: extremely messy.
The triplets have decided they don’t need babysitters because they’re mature and responsible enough to take care of themselves. To prove it, they start a kickball team. But fighting and a lack of planning nearly kills the team before it gets started.
Also at the Pike house, there’s a little C plot about how Mal isn’t allowed to come back to the BSC, yet she’s sitting for her own family all the time. Finally she points out to her parents how she’s sitting more now than when she was in the BSC and they let her rejoin.
Interesting tidbits
The cover: This kind of cracks me up. That’s Mary Anne, Jenny, the triplets and…some blonde girl (based upon the kickball team members, probably Haley). MA is supposed to be short for her age, so why are the triplets—who are only a couple years younger than her—so much shorter than she is? There’s a bigger height gap between MA and the triplets than the triplets and Jenny.

The story begins with a mistake in paragraph two, when Nicky is randomly nine. Then there’s another mistake on the next page, when a paragraph ends without a period.
Dawn left for California for “six months” at the beginning of the school year. So how is it now spring and she’s not back yet?
Sharon-itis: high heels in the vegetable drawer of the fridge; pruning shears in the bathroom.
Things Mary Anne is never allowed to say, #1: NOT! (As in, Claudia really loves math. Not!)
This story must have run seriously low on plot, because there’s the summary of about six different plots from earlier books in the first two chapters alone. You get an extreme overview of MA’s history, and then details of #70, #71, #72 and mystery #13. Phew!
Logan, after hearing that Astrid (Shannon’s dog) is having puppies, decides to point out that Bernese Mountain dogs drool prodigiously.
There’s gonna be a whole lotta Jenny outfits in this one, I’m sure.
Healthloaf: meatloaf, only instead of meat, it’s walnuts, carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes. It probably isn’t that bad, but it sounds wretched.
Ha! The Pikes use Pow as a canine vacuum cleaner. Probably cuts down on the chores they need to do, and it’s probably as effective as a real vacuum, so why not?
I just can’t find anything to comment on in this book. Is that bad, or good? Meh.
I have to wonder, much like the last book, how accurate this is. How much of this story is accurate to auditions for baby-modeling? Did anyone research this? Of course, most of the parents—including Mrs. Prezzioso—are total stage parents and totally annoying.
Wow, Mary Anne is having a slow moment here. I can understand why she doesn’t get that Mrs. P is taking Andrea on auditions before she's told, but come on. She goes on an audition with the two of them and Jenny and it takes her quite a while to figure out that Jenny is jealous and feeling inferior.
Remember back when cell phones were called car phones and portable phones? Ahh, reminiscing.
I’ve always remembered this bit: Jenny gets an audition for a series of Karberger’s department store. She’s not very good at pretending to be happy or sad, but it gets worse. Instead of saying, “I wanna go to Karberger’s!” she calls the store Hamburger’s. Mary Anne tells her she always calls the store Hamburger’s.
The triplets’ kickball game is hilarious. They don’t have any rules or any planning, so it’s a total free-for-all. Everyone wants to pitch and they actually have two balls in play at once during the game at one point because of that. (Haley won’t let go of the ball—she’s actually lying in the dirt clutching it—so Matt gets another ball so the game can go on without her.) I laughed partly because it was ludicrous and partly because it reminded me of so many things I’ve seen in real life, when people thought they could half-ass preparing for things that needed more effort.
Here’s what you see when you watch the triplets in this effort, though. Adam is trying to be in charge; he’s the one who reaches out and gets everyone’s attention. Meanwhile, when the three of them argue, Byron’s usually the one with the most sensible answer (and he tends to win out); for example, he gets everyone to agree to count off to select teams. Jordan is the quickest to get frustrated, and he spends most of his time bellowing. He’s the one who calls the game “on account of rain.” It isn’t actually raining at the time.
When Jenny’s attempt at acting isn’t successful, she decides to get her mother’s attention in another way: by being super slobby. Is it really sad that I totally understand this logic? It makes me feel like I think like a four year old.
I like this: Usually, when the BSC determines there’s a problem with a client, one of two things happens. Either they solve it without consulting the parents, or the parents are completely shocked and clueless when the BSC member brings up the issue. Mary Anne is trying so hard to figure out how to bring up Jenny’s problems to Mrs. P, but she doesn’t have a chance: Mrs. P brings it up first. She knows what the problem is, and even how to solve it, but can’t make it work.
YAAAAY! Claudia spelling! First of all, she’s siting for the Pikes. Ther, sevendy, woud, cleen, sumthing, storry. Also, she uses wood for would.
Oh, I should have known it was this book! One day, my sister was talking to my mom’s extremely fat gray cat. He’s named Bear, and it suits him these days (although it didn’t when he was named.) My sister always calls him Bar or Baroo. I interrupted her and said, “Doesn’t Pow from the BSC say Baroo?” She just gave me a really weird look and went back to talking to the cat. But, yes, he does indeed say baroo. I guess that’s the onomatopoeia for basset-hound-esque howling.
All is well at the end of the book: Jenny has one successful modeling job and then decides to join the kickball team, giving up modeling all together. The triplets set some ground rules and their team is successful. And Mal’s back at the BSC. Yay!
Jenny: pink dress with lacy collar and puffed sleeves, pink hair bows and lacy sock; pale blue dress, blue hair ribbons and socks; blue dress with pinafore and matching hair bow; pink dress with kitten-shaped pockets

I’ll be reading two more books next week to catch up: Mystery #14, Stacey and the Mystery at the Mall and #74: Kristy and the Copycat. I’ll tell you this right now: If Karen were real, I’d bitch slap her during the events of #74. As is, I may require alcohol for this. You all have been warned…

1 comment:

  1. My dad called our dog the vacuum sometimes. She was really good at cleaning up after dinner. :)