Sunday, July 17, 2016

“The only thing that was obvious was that she hated eggplant.” BSC #120: Mary Anne and the Playground Fight (1998)

I thought I had blogged this one before? If I have, I apologize. I’m usually pretty OCD about keeping track, so since it’s not marked off, I’m going to assume I didn’t actually blog it. I might be getting it confused with another book, or maybe I referred to the plot when I blogged SS#15 or something.
Two exciting events are happening this summer in Stoneybrook. First, a camp is opening, and the staff is looking for middle-school aged counselors with babysitting experience. All the BSC members, including Dawn, who’s in town for the summer, and Logan apply. When the club learns that SMS is sponsoring another summer trip—to England and France, this time—several of the members are excited to go to Europe. The trouble comes when the two events, camp and the trip, overlap. Fighting between BSC members over who is the best sitter and deserves the camp job becomes constant. A few even consider lying during the interview process to get a better edge. In the end, the members who decide not to go to Europe get the job, while the others make plans for their vacation.
Meanwhile, Victoria from #102 is heading back to England. The BSC invites various kids to a going away party for her. Victoria wants MA to visit her in England, only to learn that MA isn’t going on the trip…she’s staying in CT because Dawn is.
Interesting Tidbits
The cover: This is not a good look for Mary Anne. This isn’t the first time she’s worn attire that makes her look like a boy, either. Even Karen and friends in the background are better clothed.

Mistake: MA says she lived with her grandparents in Nebraska when she was little. Her grandmother lives in Maynard, Iowa. It’s actually Karen’s step-grandparents—her stepfather’s parents—who live in Nebraska. It disturbs me that I remember that.
I LIKE this a lot: After English class, Mary Anne walks back to her locker with Gordon and Barbara. If you remember all the way back to #93, the two of them and Amelia were her English project group. It’s nice to see her still be friendly with them and that they’re actually still in her English class. Later, it’s mentioned that MA and Abby have the same math teacher, but not the same math class, as mentioned in #96.
Victoria tells MA and Logan she doesn’t want to move back to England, as she’s ‘Americanized,’ and that having to move sucks. I just love that they got away with putting that phrase in a kids’ book, even with Miss Rutherford chastising her afterward.
I’m still trying to figure out in what universe the airfare to London is less than the airfare to Hawaii. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but some girls I know went on a trip very similar to one to London and Paris in SS#15, and it cost them $2400. Now, these girls were born in1998, not traveling in 1998, but you know prices haven’t sextupled in the past eighteen years.
Abby’s mom studied abroad at ‘London University’ in college.
“Sometimes Logan sounded just like Kristy.” Even more reason to ship them? I know I’ve seen that somewhere, and not just in FF#3…
Charlie agrees to drive Kristy, Vicki (what Victoria insists upon being called, because it’s more American) and a slew of neighborhood kids around the neighborhood so she can…say goodbye? Reminisce? I’m not exactly sure. But if I were Victoria’s guardian, I wouldn’t want some seventeen year old I don’t know driving my kid around without my knowledge. Not to mention the fact that Kristy told Miss Rutherford she and Victoria would be at her house. What kind of responsible babysitter takes the kid elsewhere without letting her guardian know?
So Dawn is on her way back to Stoneybrook, and MA decorated her room…which is steeped in presents. I’ve said before that I don’t get why Dawn needs a present every time she goes from one house to the other, but here are my questions this time: Did they completely redecorate her room for her? That’s what the book makes it sound like. Also, is Jeff’s room also piled high with gifts and redecorated?
The title quote is about Claudia, who is eating at her ‘favorite’ restaurant, Cabbages and Kings.
Dawn likes to sleep in, and Jeff apparently repeatedly tells her she doesn’t live up to her name. I think that joke would get old after about the first time he said it…
Wow, a lot of people are going to the bathroom in this book. Dawn does it during a BSC meeting, and then Claudia (during another meeting). It’s really just an excuse to talk about her or read her playground job application without her being in the room, but it reminded me of a whole chapter in one of my favorite book series. These books would have chapters that seemed to have absolutely nothing to do with moving the plot forward, but were funny and brilliant anyway—and actually did relate directly to the plot, if not right away. At one point, the author discusses how a lot happens to the main character that doesn’t get into the books, like eating breakfast and going to the bathroom, because that would make the story drag on and be 3000 pages long. We know the BSC members have to pee sometimes, but rarely does it actually come up in the story.
It must be super-fun to go out for pizza with the BSC and try to share a pizza. Between certain members preferring meat, Dawn refusing to eat meat, and Abby being allergic to pizza on the whole…awesome.
I love this technique; I’ve tried it myself and it works. When Stacey arrives at the Kent house, she can hear Victoria shouting before she even gets into the house. When she’s let in, Victoria is still screaming at Miss Rutherford. Stacey walks and whispers her hello, explaining—when Victoria asks—that she’s whispering specifically to counterbalance the shouting. The person shouting starts to realize how ridiculous they sound.
Victoria is angry when she learns MA won’t be going on the Europe trip, because she thinks Mary Anne doesn’t want to see her anymore. She points out that ever since Dawn came home, she’s been seeing a lot less of MA. This is interesting for two reasons: it’s also part of the reason Kristy is angry (although Kristy hasn’t said that, and it’s never acknowledged in the book), and when MA shows up at the Kent house to apologize to Victoria for not telling her herself, Miss Rutherford says Victoria doesn’t wish to see Mary Anne. Umm, Victoria’s seven. I can see honoring her wishes to some extent, but it seems a little silly to send MA away when she just walked all the way across town to come visit, without even letting her say her piece through a closed door or something.
Alan tells the interviewer during camp interviews that he knows CPR and has lots of sitting experience. Well, who knows whether or not he’s got sitting experience, but he does know CPR. He was in the same safety class the BSC took in #114, where MA learned the CPR that saved Timmy Hsu’s life. And he could have babysat before. The BSC aren’t the only sitters in town.
Okaaaay. The interviews are in alphabetical order, so the BSC members would go Logan, Claudia, Stacey, Dawn, Mary Anne, Abby and then Kristy. Yet, in the book, Abby is somehow interviewed before Dawn and MA.
This was actually funny. Victoria wants some ‘cool American clothes’ so she buys an outfit that hadn’t been cool since 1991. But the funny part was when she called them authentic American clothes and Karen pointed out that the shirt was made in China.
The ending to this book is dumb and unrealistic. The counselors are chosen, and Logan, Mary Anne, Claudia and Dawn, who all weren’t going to Europe, were the winners. As soon as that happens, everyone makes up, with no hard feelings. Yeah, right. If Kristy’s that quick to get snippy, I can’t imagine she’d really be that quick to get over it.
Victoria: t-shirt, jeans, red high tops; jean shorts, Mets t-shirt, no shoes; hot pink shirt, pink and black leggings, pink sunglasses

Next: Mystery #36

1 comment:

  1. Maybe the interviews were alphabetical by first name?