I’ve uncovered a great deal of nostalgia for these books among my peers, so when I decided to start the blog, I was thrilled for the excuse to reread and snark them. I snark with love, friends–I’m still a total fangirl. So let’s drop what we’re doing, put on our nostalgia goggles, and pretend it’s Monday, Wednesday or Friday at 5:30pm.
Part 1–Chapters 1-3 can be found here
Part 2-Chapters 4-8 can be found here
By Ann M. Martin (she wrote the first 36)
Stacey’s turn. We see Stacey’s entry in the notebook at the start of the chapter, and we learn that Stacey dots her i’s with hearts. I know I’m not the only one of us who did that in middle school as well. Which leads to the question of would I have done that if I didn’t read the BSC or did I do it because I read BSC books? It’s disturbing, really how much of my life Martin/Lerangis influenced, and how much I still remember about these books. Shouldn’t I be using that portion of my brain for something more useful?
Stacey says she had a fine time with David Michael in the entry. Kristy does my snark for me by telling us that
the strumpet Stacey had a fine time flirting with her older brother Sam.
Guys, Sam is 14 and in HIGH SCHOOL. Stacey is 12 and in MIDDLE SCHOOL. She’s got to be one hot piece of ass for a 14 year old to date down like that. Two years? That’s just shocking–as shocking as the exact same age gap between my husband and myself. Sam and Ravi are cradle robbers, yo.
Kristy introduces David Michael and Stacey and then rushes off to babysit–LOL–the St. Bernards.
Five minutes after Kristy leaves, Sam gets home. Sam labels Stacey a foxy chick. She refers to him as a gorgeous hunk. I repress the urge to go make out with my Wesley Crusher poster.
Kristy tries to figure out what on earth Sam saw in Stacey and vice versa. We get a paragraph of Stacey’s outfit, and Kristy thinks it was babyish. Also babyish is the fact that was drinking milk at the time. What is wrong with Stacey? Girl hates junk food and isn’t an alcoholic? Freak.
Sam is wearing a radical t-shirt that says “I know you are but what am I?” immediately triggering this scene from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure in my brain.
Kristy admits that Sam is pretty cute. Now, I’m an only child so I’m only guessing, but isn’t it kind of icky to find your sibling hot? Can we invent/invoke the “Flowers in the Attic” rule?
Sam and Stacey do this gorgeously classic teen flirting that actually feels kind of authentic to me until David Michael interrupts and asks for a twinkie. Stacey gives him one, and then Sam offers to split the other one with her. Stacey says no, and Sam compliments her on how hard dieting is (OHMYGOD BOOK STOP WITH THE DIETING TALK).
Stacey suggests to David Michael that they play Candyland.
Heck, I’ll play, too,” said Sam. “We can have a championship series. First one to win two games is the Candy Land Champion of the Universe.”
“You’re going to play?” David Michael’s eyes widened.
“But you nev–“
“Hey, little brother, your shoe’s untied.”
David Michael, quit cock blocking Sam. He’s working here! Stacey has to be seriously foxy for anyone to willingly play Candy Land, much less multiple games. Inventing new rules and throwing the game to make the torture of Candy Land end are my only tools for enduring the hell of that game. No one over the age of seven would ever do that without an ulterior motive.
I’m pretty sure this is another dead end plotline. Book 8 is Boy-Crazy Stacey, and there are multiple books on the same variation of the theme of Stacey likes older guy, nothing happens. Because NOTHING that isn’t PG happens in the BSC–no making out, no second base, and no teen pregnancy. In real life Stacey and Sam would’ve been playing tonsil hockey in the kitchen while David Michael played nintendo.
The only version of Candy Land that they’d be playing is Strip Candy Land? Oh crap, now I’m trying to figure out how to play strip Candy Land—see what you’re doing to me, book?
Worth noting–I stumbled into a dark corner of the internet and found out that the BSC fanfic writers don’t think that Stacey and Sam belong together. There is a serious amount of Stacey and Charlie stories. Even the fanfic writers realizes that Sam is too young for Stacey. I predict she will grow up to be the trophy wife of a Wall Street banker twice her age.
Mary Anne has beautiful cursive writing. Now you guys see why she’s the secretary (although Stacey’s has always seemed more legible to me, even with those annoying hearts over the i’s.)
She totally does a passive aggressive number on Kristy in the entry–
“I think Kristy would really like them if she ever baby-sat for them. Are you reading this, Kristy?.”
Question time-do we think that Mary Anne ever really grew enough of a spine that she would be more than the mom who volunteers for everything at school and then sends out emails saying “If any of you could find the time in your busy day to volunteer for the next field trip, because I’ve done the last five, that would be so great…”? Or, once she goes to college and breaks free of Kristy’s shadow, does she totally vamp up and bust out of her shell? She is the first one to land a serious boyfriend (Book 10–This totally makes sense when you learn that MA is based on Ann M Martin). Maybe she upgrades the part of herself that got the sassy haircut and splurges on tight miniskirts. Does she become a exotic dancer? She does have all that experience with pigtails, plaid and playing shy. I see it going either way–what do you think?
Here is what you’ve been waiting for–we finally get to meet Karen and Andrew! Karen got all the personality for both of them. Andrew is just sort of a formless lump of age three following around behind someone else…and stays that way for the rest of the series. Karen has always struck me as swinging wildly between hysterically adorable (hence why she got her own spin-off book series of 128 books–way to milk the franchise, Ann!) and beyond annoying.
We get our next set-up for the eventual discover that Watson is a MILLIONAIRE
Mary Anne says Watson lives in a very pretty, big house. I guess he has a lot of money. He’d have to, the way he throws it around, buying Chinese food right and left and taking my mom out on dates almost every night.
I need to stop the review to go die of laughter. Watson making it rain with dollar bills at Panda Express. Just picture it.
Anyway, the house is large, and Andrew and Karen have neat rooms. And toys. Mary Anne had never seen so many–gigantic stuffed animals, dolls, a train that you could really ride around the backyard, cars, bikes, a playhouse, costumes to dress up in. It was incredible, kind of like being in Toys “R” Us.
Boo-Boo the cat is a demonic spirit housed the body of a cat almost big enough to be bordering on the size of a mountain lion. He bites. He scratches. He chewed THROUGH A DOOR. Everyone warns Mary Anne to stay away from him because he’s vicious.
“Whatever you do, don’t touch him,” added Watson
Golly, guys…I feel like this might be setting something up for later….
Karen tells Mary Anne that their parents are divorced and that their mom is getting remarried. Hey Watson, you know that having your ex remarry when you’re still single or dating mean that THEY WIN, right? What are you going to do about it?
Karen then babbles on about god knows what–my eyes starting glazing over, just like Mary Anne’s. Until Karen tells us that the witch lives next door, and I groan. Because oh my hell this story line needs to go die–it is funny in one, max two books—but it is a running theme for the next 20 years. MAKE IT STOP.
“Its Mrs. Porter, and she’s an honest-and-truly witch. Mrs. Porter isn’t her witch name, though. Her witch name is Morbidda Destiny. The big kids on the street told me so. And she eats toads and casts spells and flies to witch meetings on her broomstick every night.”
If you need me, I’ll be hiding in a closet. This is exactly who my Elanor will be in a year or two.
Mary Anne strongly considers telling Karen she needs to up her meds, but chickens out.
BOO-BOO IS IN MORBIDDA DESTINY’S YARD, Y’ALL!!!! MARY ANNE HAS TO GO AND GET HIM!!!! Wow, who could’ve seen that plot twist coming? (Although, Ann—Two sub plots about escaped pets in one book? L-A-Z-Y)
Mary Anne is meekly trying to coax Boo-Boo back toward her and away from the flowers. Mrs. Porter, who is a bit of the crazy eccentric old lady (okay, so Karen has an eeensy point when you look at her from pov of a 6 year old) starts screaming at the cat and waving a rake at it. That actually works and Boo-Boo runs back Watson’s yard.
Mrs. Porter shook her rake after him (Boo-Boo). “Rapscallion!” she cried. She headed for her house. Mary Anne could her her mutter things like “Children and pets” and “Darned nuisance.”
Let’s play “What did Mrs. Porter REALLY say” in comments.
Mary Anne then has to explain to Karen that Rapscallion is not a magic spell. I’m dying of laughter over here…but mostly because it’s not me (yet).
They go in and have an uneventful rest of the day. Boo-Boo calms down before the Thomas family moves into the house. I’m guessing Mrs. T required that Watson put him on kitty prozac or got Boo-Boo a regular catnip dealer? I don’t recall a book titled “Kristy, the Demon Cat, and the trip to the Emergency Room for 105 stitches,” but I could be wrong.
BSC meeting on Wednesday. Mrs. McKeever calls to ask for a sitter for the two most atrociously named St. Bernards in the world (Buffy and Pinky are the names of your miniature poodles, not your miniature pony sized dogs, even if you’re Martha Stewart). I appreciate the girls’ restraint in not saying “HELLZ NO,” instead explaining that they’re not pet sitters.
Phone call number two is a new client, Mrs. Marshall. She has 2 little girls. The girls ask if they have any pets. A plot hole opens in the space/time continuum and Kristy says that some people are surprised when they ask this–to which I reply exactly how many calls have you gotten off screen? Because I count three adults calling about 4 baby-sitting jobs, AND if you’d asked McKeever that question the first time, we would’ve only had one runaway pet subplot. They have a non demonic cat. Oh, and you’ll have to give Eleanor her ear drops. Maybe it’s age, and maybe it’s just really lazy writing but I can see this plot twist from a mile away–who thinks something will go wrong?
Claudia gets the job because Stacey is mysteriously busy that night. Maybe she’s using that 10pm curfew to go out on a date with your older brother Kristy? Nah, she’s just MYSTERIOUSLY busy. I can’t quite figure out how this could relate to her SECRET DIABETES, so I’m sticking with my theory of date with Sam Thomas.
You know what would be super fun? Let’s figure out how much money we’ve made at all our sitting jobs! $26.75? WOOHOO! Let’s blow it on a pizza party and junk food instead of all those other things we said we were going to buy with our baby-sitting money.
I’m sitting here bitterly contemplating that my average sitting bill on a Saturday night is $60-75. Even with the almost 20 year cost differential I begin to dream of finding a middle school student I can totally underpay to watch my children. Or of the day that’s roughly 7 years away when I can underpay Elanor to watch Rhiannon.
Where were we? JUNK FOOD, AMIRITE STACEY? Stacey? Stacey? Oh, right…. Stacey lies and says she’s going to New York and won’t be around anyway, so it’s no big deal, they should have their pizza party, OKAY? Every sits there baffled that Stacey’s feelings were hurt that they never remember this really important thing about her because they’re such good friends.
Kristy gets home and WATSON IS THERE. She notes that this is the third time he’s had dinner with them in the last week. When do you see your children, Watson??? Cheapskate didn’t even bring food this time–he’s there for leftovers! Couldn’t he at least have brought food for Kristy to refuse to eat again?
Worse, Mrs. Thomas tells Kristy to go upstairs and put on a dress. Long time readers of the BSC will understand that Kristy putting on a dress is roughly equivalent to my degree of enthusiasm for taking my children on long haul flights from Singapore to Boston (36 fun filled hours in economy and random airports door to door–WOOHOO!) Her brothers have also been told to dress up.
Mrs. Thomas and Watson have news, ya’ll. Brace yourselves.
“Mom,” I said, “will you please tell me what’s happening? Why is everything so fancy?”
“Because we’re celebrating.”
“With leftover SpaghettiO’s?”
“It doesn’t matter what we eat. I just want us feeling festive.”
“Why? What are we getting festive about?”
A few minutes later, we were sitting around the dining room table, which looked almost as fancy as it does at Thanksgiving. Mom had spread out a green tablecloth and put a white runner over it. We were eating off our good china, and everyone had a wine goblet. Mom and Watson were the only ones with wine in their wine goblets though.
“Something very special happened today,” she (Mrs. Thomas) said.
I drew in my breath.
“Watson asked me if I would consider getting engaged to him.”
Full stop. Watson asked what? Pussy. Grow a pair and ask her for real, dude. PUT A RING ON IT.
Further, if you’ve got such momentous news, class it up a bit from spaghetti and gatorade–at least get McDonalds or something!
Finally, is there a real reason to break the news like this if Mrs. Thomas wants to think things over or discuss it with her kids? Especially given that Kristy will explode why are you telling them with Watson there? You lose like five hundred parenting points.
Kristy freaks out. Because of course she does. Anyone who has been reading the book for the last 108 pages could’ve told you that was going to be her reaction.
Kristy freaks out hard enough that the plot hole space/time continuum re-opens and changes Kristy’s meal from spaghetti and gatorade to fried chicken and twinkies. (Did Scholastic get some sort of product placement deal with Twinkies? Because they’ve been mentioned with some regularity in this book.)
Apparently Stacey actually had a legit trip to NYC with her parents on Friday, because the whole family left early that day. Her parents are okay on the permissive/playing along scale but I don’t think they’d take her to NYC just to let her continue to hide her diabetes–that’s taking the subway to crazytown, and I don’t mean Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Kristy, Claudia, and Mary Anne decide to play the whole pizza party thing by ear because Stacey might come back in time for the pizza party, even though she’s made her feelings clear that she’d rather wear ugly clothes forever than go to a pizza party.
Saturday is one of those days. David Michael has the stomach flu. Mrs. Thomas is pissy (probably because 1-sick kid means drama, 2-Kristy is being a bitch about the potential wedding, and 3-because she’s thinking FML).
Kristy then spends FIVE PAGES on the phone.
Mary Anne calls Kristy sobbing that her dad says she needs to save her money for things like college and clothes (he’ll come to regret that last one down the line when she starts shopping at Rave instead of GAP) and can’t use it for a pizza party. She doesn’t want to be a charity case, so she’s not going.
Claudia calls upset that her parents got a letter that she’s not working to her potential and they flipped out so no parties for her. Claudia points out that multiplying fractions is irrelevant to real life and that school is stupid. (I have a magnet that says “School prepares you for the real world, which also sucks.” I think Claudia might need that more than me.)
Kristy calls Stacey’s house because ??? and is surprised when Stacey’s Mom answers the phone. Damn you 2003 one hit wonder.
I introduced myself to her and asked for Stacey. There was a pause, then it sounded as if Mrs. McGill might be covering up the mouthpiece of the phone, and then she got back on the line and said, “I’m sorry, dear, Stacey’s not home.”
“Oh,” I said, disappointed. “Where did she go?”
“Well, sh’s…um…she stayed in New York with friends, Kristy. She’ll be back tomorrow night.”
Liar. Even Kristy can figure out that something bad is happening in Oz (sorry guys, I’m in a music mood today.)
The phone then rings and it’s Mary Anne ratting out that she JUST SAW Stacey. Something fishy is definitely going on.
Kristy calls Claudia and they gossip about Stacey too. Why is Stacey so MYSTERIOUS? What is she HIDING? (For fuck’s sake, it’s diabetes…I’m losing my freaking mind over here)
Mrs. Thomas yells at Kristy to get off the phone and I genuflect in gratitude. Seriously, Kristy, get off the phone.
The phone rings. Mrs. Thomas looks like she’s going to lose it. When it turns out to be Watson, and she
begs him to take her away makes kissy noises at him.
Then she turns to Kristy and tells her that Watson needs a sitter for Karen and Andrew. Right now. HOLY SHIT–ALL THOSE TOYS ARE TO MAKE UP FOR THE FACT THAT HE NEVER SPENDS TIME WITH HIS FREAKING KIDS. She’d have them dropped off at the house, but they could get David Michael’s illness. Kristy thinks it through, and realizes she’s the only one available. She looks at her mom, and knows there’s no worming out of this–she is going to baby-sit Karen and Andrew.
Where’s Kathy when we need her?