Tag Archive | 80’s books

Snarking Nostalgic: The Baby-sitters Club #2 Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls

This week we’re going back to Stoneybrook!  Pull out your hidden junk food and pretend it’s Monday, Wednesday or Friday at 5:30 pm.

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 3.28.20 PMClaudia and the Phantom Phone Calls

by Ann M. Martin (not ghostwritten)

Published October 1986

Kirsten Dunst’s first job was modeling for the little blonde girl on this cover.  She says “I was a child actress/model.  I did it strictly for the money.” Given her enthusiasm, I’m guessing she has the cover framed and illuminated in the middle of her living room.

*****

Claudia wishes she could be in her room reading a mystery and eating candy, or dreaming about Trevor Sandbourne, or painting.  But no, she had to do her Math homework because her parents are facists.

At least Mimi is the one helping her and not Janine the NERD.

Mom has no accent (neither does my father, who also came to the United States as a small child) but Mimi has this pleasant, rolling accent that reminds me of a ship at sea.  And she is polite, polite, polite never speaking a harsh word.

Cultural sensitivity wasn’t really a thing in the 80’s, huh?

Mimi helps her with her homework, and sits for Claudia’s painting . They chat about the mystery book Claudia is reading and Halloween.

Claudia asks Mimi why she and Janine aren’t besties.  Mimi tells her that it’s because she’s a bitch who avoids and complains about her sister–except Mimi’s polite polite polite about it.  But that someday they’ll be friends.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 10.47.08 PMI wouldn’t hold my breath.

Claudia calls Stacey.  Claudia is all swoony over Trevor, the poet.  Stacey is still gaga for Sam Thomas (Kristy’s older brother).   Boys are sooooooo dreamy.

The next day at schools the girls have a three page discussion about a boy named Alan Gray.  They go on at length about a trick Kristy played on him and how now he feels the need to bother her all the time.  So they’ll be hooking up by the end of the book.

Mary Anne is “flipping through the Stoneybrook News.”  Because seventh graders casually read the newspaper when hanging out with their pals.  She shrieks, and drops the paper.  OHMIGOD you guys–Phantom Phone Caller On Rampage In Mercer!  Mercer is the closest town to Stoneybrook!

“Well it’s still 20 miles away,” I said

Wait, what?   Are they surrounded by 20 miles of virgin forest?  It’s Stoneybrook, CT, not Storybrooke, Maine, FFS.

The Phantom Phone Caller calls the house to see if anyone answers.  If not, he goes and steals their jewelry.  He apparently doesn’t take anything else, so your diamond encrusted chairs are safe, millionaires.

Claudia gasps because a few nights ago, the phone rang and no one was on the line!

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 11.04.11 PMHe wants your handcuff earrings and key necklace, Claud

EMERGENCY BSC MEETING Y’ALL.

The girls decide that the best way to handle a suspicious situation is to stack cans in front of the door or window on the inside, so you’ll know if he’s entered the house

Then there is the elaborate phone message system

  • If you think he’s in the house CALL ANOTHER BABYSITTER and say “have you found my red ribbon?”
  • The other sitter will say “No, the blue one.”
  • If you know he’s in the house and your are in danger say “Now I’m in for it”
  • If you’re not sure there’s trouble say “That’s okay”

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 11.19.28 PMBEST.  PLAN.  EVER.

 

We can’t get too hung up on this whole Phantom Phone Caller/Home Invasion thing–The Halloween Hop is coming up.  Claudia wants Trevor to ask her.  But–sigh–he doesn’t even know she’s alive.  “Faithfully” by Journey swells in the background.

Chapter 5 is all about a sitting job at the Newton’s, but there’s no entry.  I don’t know why I care, but I do, and I thought you should all know.  Everything is going okay until Claudia sees lights going on and off in the house!  The phone rings, but stops before she can answer it!  Then there are footsteps!  Claud peeks through a convenient hole in the fence and looks straight into another eye!  OHMIGOD IT’S THE PHAN—Kristy.  It’s just Kristy.  Kristy was looking for them, and the lights going on and off were all her, going through the Newton’s house looking for Claud and Jamie.

Not to bash your ribbon strategy, ladies….but maybe you should add lock the front door to your list of burglar management strategies?

Another night Claud is babysitting at the Marshall’s.  She creeps herself out and calls Stacey.  They’re talking about the Halloween Hop and boys when…

I definitely heard footsteps in the garage.  “Stacey, Stacey,” I said urgently.  “Have you found my b-I mean, did you see my–Have you found my…my…”

“Your red ribbon?” whispered Stacey.

“Yes!” I gasped.

“Yes, I did.  I mean, no, I found–I…”

“Did you find my blue—Oh, no, Stacey, someone’s at the garage door.  I can hear the knob rattling!”

“I’m going to call the police.”

“Claudia?” called a deep voice.

It was all I could do not to shriek.  “He called my name!” I yelped to Stacey

“Claudia,” said the voice again, “we’ve misplaced the house keys.  Can you let us in, please?”

That red ribbon plan doesn’t seem to work well under pressure.  Also, between two adults who presumably used a car to go somewhere (since Stoneybrook is surrounded by 20 miles of forest), why don’t they have a house key?

GASP!  Just as Claudia is about to leave, the phone rings, but when Mrs. Marshall answers, there’s no one there!  Does Claudia mention The Phantom Phone Caller?  Of course not.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 11.30.30 PMAt least this guy had the courtesy to talk to you before he committed a crime….

Kristy babysits Karen and Andrew.  Karen has new theories about Morbidda Destiny and her spooky spells.  At bedtime she insists Kristy read her new book “The Witch Next Door.”

Watson, I’m going to judge you for this.  If you’re trying to convince Karen that Mrs. Porter isn’t a witch, buying her a book called “The Witch Next Door,” isn’t going to help matters.

Watson’s house is huge (still waiting for the first time they call it a mansion), and Kristy is jumpy.  She gets a hang up call and then calls Claudia…but doesn’t even think about using the ribbon code.  She doesn’t remember it.  Ladies and gentlemen, your Founder and President.

Then there’s a tapping at the door!  IT’S MORBIDDA DESTINY!!!!!  Or, you know, Mrs. Porter, who is returning Boo Boo after the cat was eating a mouse on her porch.  Although Boo Boo’s so vicious that Mary Anne was explicitly warned not to touch him, he’s obediently sitting in Mrs. Porters arms.  Guys, Karen is on to something.  Mrs. Porter is a witch.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 11.44.16 PM

“He bothers me just by living!  Alan Gray is so horrible whenever he’s around me, that he’s all I can think about.” —- Kristy

Stacey suggests that Kristy ask her hot older brother Sam for help with this whole Phantom Phone Caller thing.  Kristy retorts that she’d never ask him for help.  He’s girl-crazy!  I mean, my god, last week he took some green-tipped hair, lace gloves with the tips cut off Freshman to the movies!  It’s just not a BSC book without Kristy being thoughtless.

Stacey starts to cry because didn’t Sam like her? (Remember how he called Stacey a “foxy chick” and she called him a gorgeous hunk?)  Stacey, this is only the first of a zillion older men you’ll have your heart broken by.  Get used it to it.

Claudia moans that the dance is only four days away and Trevor hasn’t asked her to go.

“I think you should talk to him,” said Kristy.

“I think you should ask him to the dance,” said Stacey.

I gasped.  “No way!  This isn’t the Sadie Hawkins dance.  I can’t ask a boy to go with me.”

“In New York we did it all the time.”

“Well, this isn’t New York, this is little Stoneybrook.  And I am not asking Trevor Sandbourne to the Halloween Hop.

Stacey should take her own advice and ask Sam out.

Claudia should remember that second wave feminism brought about women CEO’s, astronauts, and the ability to ask a boy to a non-Sadie Hawkins dance.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 12.04.46 AMMary Anne pouts as she’s reminded, yet again, that she doesn’t live in NEW YORK CITY.

Shit just got real, people.  The Kishi’s neighbors the Goldmans were just robbed!  Goldman because Martin was being ironic years before hipsters discovered irony.

Shocker, Mary Anne is suspended from baby-sitting.  Given that the robbery was right across the street, I’m surprised Mary Anne is allowed to go to school without her dad.

That night–in yet another babysitting job without an entry at the start of the chapter–Kristy and Claudia babysit for Jamie and his hellion cousins.  Same M.O. as book 1–the parents leave, and the cousins go nuts.  Kristy, being Kristy, puts two fingers in her mouth and gives an ear piercing whistle, which puts an end to the shenanigans.

Suddenly things get scary…not one, not two, but three phone calls without someone on the other end of the line.  Several bangs as trashcans are knocked over.  A shadow runs away from the house!

The girls thankfully skip the ribbon nonsense and call the police.  The cops show up and go looking for the intruder, and show up minutes later with Alan Gray.  Kristy has a lot to say about this.

“Alan Gray, you darn, sneaking rotten–“

….

“Alan, you are a rat!” she exploded.

They find out that every call without a person on the other end of the line at one of Kristy’s sitting jobs was Alan.  He knew where she was because he kept peeking at the BSC notebook.

“Son,” said Officer Stanton in a more kindly voice, “what did you want to ask her?”

….(he mumbles, baby sitting charges tell him to speak up…

“I wanted to know if you’d go to the Halloween Hop with me.”

If I were Kristy, my eyeballs would have fallen out of my head about then.  But Kristy just said, “Oh gosh is that all?  Of course I’ll go with you….Thanks.”

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 12.20.44 AMAlan Gray knows how to woo a woman

After the sitting job, Claudia is in her room eating junk food (because of course) when Janine knocks on her door.  She saw the police cruiser on her way home.  Claudia is touched by her concern, and they talk.  Janine hides candy, too!  Bonding moment!  I’m sure that this will make it all worthwhile when the Kishis have to have their home fogged to kill the ant infestation.

The next day at school, Claudia is approached by Trevor, who has gathered up his courage and asks her to the Halloween Hop.  He was behind all of the calls when Claudia was sitting because Alan told him where Claudia would be.  Martin wasn’t getting paid enough to give him a different plot.

Claudia, much like Kristy, is completely unfazed by the whole stalking thing.  She happily agrees to go to the dance with him.  I feel the urge to stage an intervention and explain healthy and unhealthy relationships to all four of them.

The Halloween Hop was terrific.  Now I know we’re in a fictional universe–no middle school dance is ever terrific.  Ever.

Claudia got an 86 on her math test!  Her parents are so proud that they skip explaining that a B is an Asian F.

The Phantom Phone Caller was found trying to rob a mansion in that town 20 miles away (10 books more and it would’ve been in Watson’s neighborhood).

Life is great.  Several babysitters have earned in the neighborhood of 15 dollars over two weeks worth of baby sitting, and they clink their diet sodas together.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 12.31.26 AMTo attend the Alan Gray/Trevor Sandbourne School of Seduction call 555-2934

Advanced courses taught by Edward Cullen

Next Week–Sweet Valley High #4-Power Play (aka that one where the fat girl becomes thin and popular–I have a lot of FEELINGS about that book).

Snarking Nostalgic: The Baby-sitters Club #1 Kristy’s Great Idea Chapters 13-15 (book complete)

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

Part 3-Chapters 9-12 can be found here

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 5.54.50 PMKristy’s Great Idea

by Ann M Martin (confirmed)

Chapter 13

Kristy has been condemned to a fate worse than death.  She is going to have to baby-sit Watson’s demon spawn kids because his ex-wife broke her ankle.  Her future husband is out of town, so Watson is going to go help her at the hospital and ensure she gets home safely.


Waston put his foot on the accelerator and vroomed us down the driveway.  I’ve never seen anyone in such a big hurry–and all over a broken ankle.  If Watson could have flown the car back to his house I think he would have.

Watson practically throws Kristy and the kids out of the car, shouting the bare bones rundown—feed them pbj, and if there’s an emergency to call Kristy’s mom.  I wonder if Mrs. Thomas has been getting to know Karen and Andrew at all, given that Watson is putting in major effort to get to know the Thomas kids?  No mention of Boo-Boo the hellcat.  I guess that means there won’t be a third runaway pet subplot?

I stood in Watson’s front yard and looked at Andrew and Karen.  Baby-sitting for them was the absolutely last thing I wanted to do.

I sighed heavily

Ugh, babysitting.  Amirite President of The Baby-sitters Club?

Karen tells Kristy that she wanted pop tarts for breakfast but her mom said no, even though her dad lets them have them and who knows what because Karen never shuts up or gets to the point.  I may have to put up with that from my own daughter, but I can skim over Karen’s babbling.

Karen ate a few bites of her sandwich, then suddenly looked at me very seriously, her brown eyes glistening.  “Is our Mommy all right?” she asked me.

Kristy is capable of being an asshat to Karen’s dad, but she can’t bring herself to be one to Karen.  So she reassures Karen, sharing the story of how she broke her ankle last summer.  Against her best efforts, and despite Karen’s nonstop babble, Kristy starts to warm to Karen.  Oh yeah, Andrew is in the room, too.

Then this happens…

“My daddy says he loves your mommy.”

“I guess,” I said uncomfortably.  I realized that Karen looked uncomfortable too.

“If they get married, your mommy will be my mommy.”

“Stepmommy, I mean stepmother.”  I corrected her.  “And guess what.  I’d be stepsister.  And yours, Andrew.”

“Yup,” said Andrew.

Karen thought for a while again. “I guess that would be okay,” she said at last.  And then, “Do you like being divorced, Kristy?”

“No particularly,” I said.

Karen confesses that she doesn’t want her mom to get remarried or her dad–that she just wants them to get together again.  Andrew starts crying (which I don’t entirely buy–three year old’s don’t really get stuff like that, and their memories are quite short–he likely doesn’t remember his parents ever being married, although I totally buy that Karen does).  Kristy distracts them with ice cream as a special “divorced kids’ treat.”

Karen and Kristy in particular bond (Andrew is wallpaper…he might as well not even be a character).  When Watson gets home, Karen says she’s okay if Kristy gets to be her stepsister.  Kristy feels shy (which is a nice moment for Kristy, and a bit of personal growth).  Andrew is napping so Kristy hangs out with Watson and Karen for an hour until he wakes up.  She finally ditches the angry tweenager vibe (at least for the moment).

That night Mrs. Thomas comes in and manages not to scream I TOLD YOU SO in Kristy’s face.  Kristy begins to ask the big questions–what will actually happen if her mom and Watson get married.

Apart from the small details, the second half of this chapter is a bit hard to snark because there’s genuine emotion and character development happening.  I’m sure that won’t last though…C’mon Martin, give us more secret diabetes and stereotypes.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 10.48.54 PMfrom the graphic novel

Chapter 14

Great news, guys!  Mary Anne has convinced her dad to let her half her baby-sitting money!  VICTORY!  (West Wing geeks–bring her the finest muffins and bagels in all the land for she drinks from the key of glory).  Claudia has explained to her parents that she isn’t an Asian stereotype, and is willing to give up some tv time to let her grandmother help her with Math homework.  Too bad she can’t get Martin to understand that stereotypes are useless.  Kristy asks Stacey how New York was, and Stacey says it was FINE, OKAY?

“You know, the strangest thing happened on Saturday morning,” I said.  As usual, I couldn’t help it.  I was dying to say what I knew.  There would be no stopping me, despite the fact that Claudia was sending me an urgent telegram with her eyes.  Shut up, they were saying.  Don’t do this.  But it was too late, even though I knew I was going to cause problems.  Even though I knew Claudia still considered Mary Anne and me babies, and Stacey sophisticated, and therefore was going to protect Stacey and whatever she was up to.

“Mary Anne saw you come home with your parents on Saturday,” I said.  “How come you made your mom say you stayed in New York?”

Stacey shoots a death glare at Mary Anne and flips out, calling Kristy a baby.  BURN.  You’re from NYC–even if you are a private school kid you know how to curse her out in multiple languages.  Baby is the best you’ve got? Martin noted that Claudia thinks MA and K are babies not two paragraphs ago.  Someone get Martin a thesaurus–even use juvenile/infantile instead of baby if you’re not going to use dipstick, jerkface, or some other 80’s insult.

Claudia jumps to Stacey’s defense noting (correctly) that Kristy has no tact.  Mary Anne says nothing.  Kristy tells Stacey not to treat her like a little kid by lying to them.

 Claudia’s lovingly described outfits allow her to point out “you are a little kid–look at the way you’re dressed.”  Kristy is wearing a sweater with snowmen and snowflakes on it.

“Well you’ve got sheep barrettes in your hair,” I yelled.  “You think they’re adult?”

Ok, now I’m ready to throw down–we do NOT mock Claudia’s fashion.

Mary Anne tries to make peace and is yelled out, making her burst into tears.  She’s called a cry baby for it.  Oh my god, Anne–according to your author’s note, you used to be  teacher.  In what universe did you teach?  Baby, crybaby and mean is the worst you can conjure up?  My third graders had fouler mouths than these seventh graders.

In the midst of the BSC cage match, the phone rings.  They all try to answer it.  Somehow the mom on the other end still offers them a job….which GASP they’re all available for.  (WOW-Who saw that coming?)  The club looks like it’s about to fall apart when Kristy calls dibs since the club was her idea in the first place.  The meeting breaks up with enough of a chill in the room to inspire what future museum curator’s will refer to as Claudia Kishi’s “ice carving period.”  (I wonder if you can carve other barnyard barrettes out of ice?)

Kristy gets home, sure it will all just blow over.  After all, everyone knows she’s a loudmouth with no tact.

GASP!  In a totally unforeseen plot twist Mrs. Thomas and Watson are ENGAGED!  Mrs. Thomas is sporting serious bling–Kristy describes it as “the size of a boulder.”  Nice to know that Watson made up for being such a pussy in chapter 11.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 11.09.16 PMFor the record, most of the graphic novel is free on amazon in the preview feature.  It’s hilariously bad.

Chapter 15

On Tuesday, Mary Anne and I avoided Claudia and Stacey in school until the very end of the day.  Then I screwed up the nerve to ask Claudia if she wanted to hold a Baby-sitters Club meeting the next day as usual.  She said it was all right with her.

Scene change to Kristy’s family going over to Watson’s for dinner that night.  There is no further explanation, or even dialogue to show us how icy Claud’s demeanor might still be.  Claudia is fine with a BSC meeting because…..Ann is contractually obligated to write three more books in the series at this point.

All six kids and Mrs. Thomas and Watson are having dinner to celebrate the engagement.  Karen is Karen–her mom Lisa and Mrs. Thomas are saints.  SAINTS.

Dinner was fun.  Watson made fondue. He set a pot full of hot, melty cheese in the middle of the table.  Then he gave everyone a long fork and a plate of pieces of French bread.  You were supposed to spear a piece of bread with your fork, dip it in the cheese, and eat it.  Watson made this rule that if your bread fell off your fork and landed in the cheese, you had to kiss the person on your right.

Guess who is sitting to Watson’s left?  New rule–No weird stepdaughter/stepfather moments like this–I’m going to call it the “Petals on the Wind” law.

Everyone starts making up silly rules.  But then Kristy drops some bread in the cheese.  Ruh-roh.  Kristy gives Watson a super fast kiss on the cheek (thus honoring the “Petals on the Wind law”), but feels guilty about it being so fast later (treading the line) and leaves him a note on his bathroom mirror apologizing for it being super weird and fast (and thus breaking the law–she was so close).  It’s just uncomfortable and bizarre and unnecessary.  I’m betting Ann M Martin was almost a big a fan of VC Andrews as I would be once I moved on from the BSC (when *I* was the same age as the BSC girls, for the record).

The next day, Mary Anne and I walked to Claudia’s house for the club meeting.  We went together, sort of as protection.  When we reached Claudia’s room, we found her talking to Stacey.  When we entered, the talking stopped.  Silence.

Mary Anne and I sat down.  I was determined not to be the first one to speak, since I felt I had already made an effort by asking whether we were going to hold a meeting that day.

At long last, Claudia said, “I’m sorry I was so mean yesterday.  I’m sorry I yelled.”  She was looking at Mary Anne but not at me.

This is one of the least believable makeups in literary history.  They make up for the same reason that Claudia agreed to have the meeting in the first place–because Martin has a four book contract.

They offer to get Stacey a salad from the pizza parlor so she won’t be left out during the pizza party.  THANK YOU.  Was that so fucking hard?

Stacey steels herself and confesses that she has a secret.  THANK GOD.

Kristy asks her if she’s anorexic (nope- that will be Jessi’s ballet classmate in book 61).  Shut up, Kristy–let’s get the big reveal over with.

Brace yourselves, y’all…

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 10.23.07 PM

Given the buildup, I thought we needed a big reveal here, too

Diabetes has been so traumatic that Stacey thinks it’s why they moved to Stoneybrook–instead of the Hail Mary Pass on her parent’s marriage that it actually was.  Stacey recounts being bullied because of her diabetes.  Her new BFF’s tell her that they love and accept her, but maybe she shouldn’t tell anyone at school, to which I can only….

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 2.20.28 AMCaptain Picard feels my pain

Sam knocks on the door to leave a snack outside.  Mrs. Thomas isn’t an asshole, and has left an apple for Stacey along with cookies for the other girls.  This is an example of what we call common courtesy, girls.

“Your brother’s so cute, Kristy,” said Stacey.

“I guess. For a boy.”

“No, really….Do you like any boys, Kristy?”

I made a face.

“What do–” Stacey started to say, but I held my finger to my lips.

“Shh!” I hissed.  “Do you hear that?”

“Something at the window.”

We made ourselves quiet.  We couldn’t hear a sound.

“I guess it’s nothing,” I said.

Let’s not wonder what it was—let’s tell scary stories that happened while babysitting instead of checking the yard for a zombie or a serial killer.

I know what that sound was–it was the sound of foreshadowing for book 2.

Kristy feels all warm and fuzzy and hopes the BSC will be around for a long time.  Don’t worry, Kristin Amanda Thomas—Ann M. Martin is going to ride that cash cow and all associated cash cows into the ground.

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 12.00.04 AMThere were apparently not one, but TWO BSC board games.  I have SO MUCH ebay shopping to do….

So fellow BSC fans, that’s book one.  Shall I do the next book?  Or an episode of the TV show.  Or how about the movie?  Any other non BSC snarking nostalgic requests?

 

Snarking Nostalgic: The Baby-sitters Club #1-Kristy’s Great Idea Chapters 4-8

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.

Snarking Nostaligic: The Baby-sitters Club #1-Kristy’s Great Idea Chapters 1-3 can be read here.

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 5.54.50 PMKristy’s Great Idea

Original Publication Date-August 1986

Written by Ann M. Martin (we know she wrote the first 36)

Chapter 4 (aka the longest chapter EVER)

The next day at 5:30 Claudia (baggy yellow and checked mark shirt, black pants, red jazz shoes, bracelet that looked like it was made of telephone cord, dangling skeleton earrings) answers the door.  Kristy seems relieved notices Claud isn’t wearing makeup.  Claudia blamed her strict ASIAN STEREOTYPE parents.  Claudia then teaches us all the secret to getting away with daring fashion choices like skeleton earrings…

I didn’t put those on until I got to school.

A generation of girls learns to smuggle contraband fashion to school.  THANKS CLAUDIA!

Claudia tells Kristy that Stacey is upstairs, but first they’ll have to go by Janine’s room.  NERD is home and has her door open.  There’s no escape!  Janine lectures K about misusing the word “hopefully.”  See–NERD.

“I really cannot take much of Janine.”–Kristy (of course)

This is why NERDS have no friends, Janine.  No one will love you if you’re too smart.  Maybe all those gender gap studies should’ve considered the BSC as a reason why so few of us grew up to take AP Calc in high school?

Kristy and Claudia escape the Vocabulary Police’s clutches and are about to open the door and unveil Stacey (from NEW YORK CITY) when the door bell rings.  Kristy runs down to get Mary Anne (warning her about Janine).  K and MA are “careful not to look at Janine as we ran by her open door” because if Janine makes eye contact your IQ will go up 10 points.  Seriously–as an adult I feel for Janine who only exists to embody all the ASIAN STEREOTYPES that Claudia falls short of.

Finally we meet Stacey and her outfit (pink sweatshirt with a picture of a parrot and sequins on the front, skinny jeans with zippers on the sides of the legs, pink jelly shoes and she’s blonde).  Kristy notes that she’s wearing jeans, sneakers and a blue hairband, but doesn’t mention a top.  Mary Anne is wearing a skirt, saddle shoes and is sporting (natch) braids, but is also apparently topless.

Uncomfortable silence until Kristy starts ask Stacey about her baby-sitting history.

Stacey told us she baby-sat in her building in NEW YORK CITY which has over 200 apartments.  Mary Anne gapes at the idea of such size and grandeur while Singaporean children reading the book are less than whelmed.  Stacey can stay out until 10 O’clock.  She’s just so damn sophisticated.

Mary Anne begins her interrogation, asking why Stacey left NEW YORK CITY.  Because 12 year olds clearly get to dictate where they live.  Stacey says her dad recently changed jobs and then changes the subject to Claudia’s bitchin’ wall posters.  Claudia tells us she painted them herself because of course she did.

Little miss braids can’t take a hint and tells us that if she lived in NEW YORK CITY she’d never leave it for anything.  She seems to believe that if your parents leave, all you have to do in NYC to survive is go down to the playground where Mr. Drummond will show up and adopt you.  Everybody sing–Now, the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum…

Mary Anne pleads with Stacey to tell her more so she can live vicariously through her.   Stacey proceeds to tell us that she went to a private school without uniforms (At which point every New Yorker laughs.  The uniform is how we know if you’re at some pretender private school that only feeds to non-Ivies or if you’re at a REAL private school that requires you to commit hara kiri if you don’t get into Harvard.)  Stace has taken the subway and taxis by herself!!  Mary Anne’s mouth is hanging open and Stacey is starting to wonder exactly how she ended up here.  To be fair, if you’ve seen pictures of Times Square pre-Disneyfication, this is perhaps a bit more impressive.

Kristy hasn’t heard the sound of her own voice in at least 5 minutes so she cuts Stacey off.  Stacey interrupts right back to ask if she’s in or if she should go back to bedazzling her sweatshirts.  Claudia wants Stacey in the club because someone else in this club needs to be wearing a bra.  Mary Anne wants her in because NEW YORK CITY.

Kristy shrugs and says sure, whatever.  Who cares who joins this totally professional baby-sitting club?

Claudia pulls out celebratory junk food, which everyone but Stacey partakes of.  The other girls apply peer pressure because what freak of nature doesn’t like junk food?  Stacey claims she’s dieting.  The girls all channel their inner grandma and tell S she’s too thin and should eat, eat.  It’s almost like she has a SECRET  (This will make you want to scream by the end of the book)

Mary Anne’s Dad calls the house and demands she return home from across the street because it’s six ten.  Now we all get why Mary Anne has vapors at the idea of a 10pm curfew.

We get a paragraph about lunch the next day and how Stacey and Claudia sit at the cool table at lunch.  Well, of course they do.  Have you looked at yourselves, Kristy and Mary Anne?  Where are your bras?  Your earrings?  Between the two of you, do own anything with fringe or sequins?  If this were set in the 90’s instead of the 80’s, this is the moment Cher Horowitz would’ve swooped in and given them a makeover montage.

Dudes–There are even boys at the table!  Stacey and Claudia, don’t you know that’s how you’ll get an STD cooties?

The four girls meet up outside and go someplace quiet, where the popular kids won’t see Stacey and Claudia hanging out with their social inferiors.  Kristy says they need to advertise.  Claudia’s truly truly truly outrageous red felt hat agrees with Kristy.  Kristy opens a major plot hole by asking Mary Anne if her dad will let her ride her bike around help hang up the flyers, and Mary Anne looks uncomfortable.  Because a dad who will let you baby-sit in a stranger’s house is totally not going to let you ride your bike around the same neighborhood because….?  Kristy says the club needs a symbol and asks Claudia to create one.  Claudia widens the plot hole by acting unsure about her ability to do so because she sucks so hard at art.

“I know I can draw, but I’m not good at…symbols and stuff.  Janine’s better at those things” (Claudia)

I’m sorry, but WHUT?  Janine?  NERD?  The one you all hate and try to avoid at all costs?  That’s who you think we should be asking for help?

Then Claudia and her hat come up with a logo and they all gasp in awe at the complexity of her design.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 5.03.35 PMTo be fair, those 3-d boxes are a bitch to draw.  I know, I tried.  You know you did too.

Chapter 5

On Saturday, the girls call all the families they baby-sit for and place an ad in a newspaper.  If Elanor or Rhi ever read this book, there is so much I’m going to have to explain like physical newspapers, why they didn’t do an email blast, and just what a stationary telephone is. Apparently in the 90’s there was a reboot of the books, trying to update the books to hip things those newfangled children can understand–cassettes become headphones and such.  Which was the worst idea ever, and thankfully it died a quick death.  In the 2000’s they did graphic novels of books 1, 3, 4 and 7  that also died a quick death, but have at least made for some great illustrations for my snark.

Stacey suggests they should have officers.  Kristy is elected President because it was her idea (and they all know that the hell she’d put them through if she isn’t President just isn’t worth it).  Claudia gets VP because it’s her room and her phone.  Mary Anne gets Secretary because she has neat handwriting.  Stacey gets Treasurer because she’s good with Math and money, teaching us all that you can be good at Math as long as you’re pretty.

Claudia gets out Gummi Bears because it’s been at least five minutes and she’s jonesing for her next sugar high (Claudia is going to smoke hella weed at art school) and Stacey runs out of the room because even looking at candy is bad (bad enough that she needs to inject some insulin, apparently).

They create the flyer.  Kristy says her mom will copy it for them on Monday.  Her mom will absolutely want to help her out after Kristy refused to do her a solid by babysitting Watson’s kids back in Chapter 2.

Speaking of Watson, Kristy has to go home so her mom can go out on her hot date.  Stacey asks who Watson is.  Kristy explains, noting that her parents are divorced.  Stacey looks uncomfortable, but shares that her parents have been married for 15 years (raise your hand if you can smell the foreshadowing).  Claudia outdoes her because her parents have been married twenty years–Asian’s don’t get divorced because divorce is a Western problem.  Mary Anne reminds us that her Mom is Dead Dead Dead.

Watson arrives.  David Michael is super excited to see him.  Mrs. Thomas yells at Kristy to come down and act like a human being who can be polite for five seconds. Mrs. Thomas clearly cherishes some illusions about Kristy.

Kristy trudges downstairs as if she’s about to face the firing squad.

SURPRISE!  Watson has brought over Chinese Takeout!  They’re all going to eat together!  Isn’t that exciting?!

Kristy is annoyed that Watson is always bringing food over, as if he wants to develop a relationship with Mrs. Thomas’ kids instead of just taking their mom to a cheap hotel for a quick bang like a normal man.  Kristy pointedly asks who’s watching his kids, and Watson says he found a nice baby-sitter (could this be where the mysterious Kathy has disappeared to?)  We find out that Sam and Charlie also like Watson, who seems like a decent guy.  Charlie eats, but notes that he’s taking his girlfriend Carole (who I’m pretty sure we never hear from again because the BSC needs a hot older brother or two to crush on from time to time) later.  But he’s a boy, which means he can eat second dinner and seventh dinner on any given night.

Kristy decides to be a bitch and asks her mom if they have leftover chili.  She’s not going to eat Watson’s charity Chinese food!  What if he put drugs into it that would turn her into a nice person?  (Seriously, why is she who I wanted to be when I was a kid?  I have to imagine it’s because she gets a fairly big attitude adjustment in the near future).  Watson looks hurt because DUH.  What does he have to do to get her to give him a chance–tell her he’s a MILLIONAIRE (something we’ll be told multiple times a book in every single book from the reveal until the end of time)?  Kristy confesses to us that she’s starving for Chinese food, but makes a pbj because eating the Chinese food would be equivalent to surrendering Europe to the Nazi’s.

Watson, who is clearly a masochist, tries to ask Kristy about school and her life and gets monosyllabic replies.  Sam gives her a death glare and jumps in to tell Watson about his Math Team meet (another exception to the Math makes you a NERD rule–you can also like Math if you’re a boy).  David Michael shares that he’s getting a new GI Joe.  Watson confesses he doesn’t know much about that cartoon and Kristy implies he’s a deadbeat dad because ALL boys like GI Joe.  Anyone else up for tying Kristy to a chair and playing “Free to Be You and Me?”  She then asks if Karen has a My Little Pony because ALL girls like those, or is he ignorant of those too? Mrs. Thomas demands an apology.  Kristy says her mouth is much to full of delicious PBJ to do that, and is summarily kicked out of the room.

“I’m sorry Watson,” I mumbled.  I walked out the kitchen and started up the stairs.  When I was halfway up, I yelled over my shoulder, “I’m sorry you’re such a terrible father!”

OOH, BURN!

The thing is that Kristy knows she’s being a complete asshole.  She admits that Watson’s actually a good dad.  Especially compared to her absent deadbeat jackass of a dad.  But she’s not going to admit it.  All joking aside, I think that Martin’s portrayal here is actually pretty honest.  My mom was a single mom and I made a point of being as awful as I could to any date I ever met, hoping that the prospect of dealing with me would make them dump my mom.  My mom never did marry, which was actually her choice, but as an adult I feel pretty terrible about being such a brat.  Kristy feels bad for being a brat too, and puts an apology note on her mom’s door.

Dear Mom, I’m sorry I was so rude.  I guess I haven’t learned much about decorum yet.  I hope you had fun on your date.  I love you.  Kristy

DECORUM!  The last gasp of that subplot.

In the morning there’s a note saying “I love you too” from her mom because Mrs. Thomas is the best mom ever.

BSC Kristy WTF face“You expect me to act like a civilized human being, mom? WTF?” (screenshot from the BSC movie)

Chapter 6

Kristy runs home and gapes at their beautiful three line ad in the newspaper.  They’re sure to be drowning in sitting jobs!  Claudia, Kristy and Mary Anne are going to go hang flyers.  Stacey is mysteriously busy. (Note from the future-she’s probably at an endocrinologist appointment because her life is all about baby-sitting, clothes, and diabetes).

Kristy has to check to see if Kathy is there before she can leave.  Kathy is alive!  She’s still baby-sitting David Michael!  For now.

You won’t have a job for much longer if Kristy and the BSC have anything to say about it.  You did cancel that one time, so clearly a group of 12 year olds are a better choice for baby-sitting than a 15 year old.  Cheaper?  LOL—Kristy isn’t the type to give a family discount to her mom.

On Friday the baby-sitters gather early, eagerly waiting for the phone to ring.  Janine is a killjoy as she waxes poetic about whether there should be an apostrophe in babysitters or not.  Why does she have to be so fucking SMART and BORING?  Smart people suck.  Stacey, having learned the fine art of being rude and not giving any fucks about it from her upbringing in NYC, comes through the door and shuts it in Janine’s face.  Score one for that NYC upbringing, amirite BSC?

They watch the clock tick toward 5:30, and Claudia hands around the candy.  NEW GAME-every time Claud hands around the candy, take a shot.  It would explain a lot if that was how Martin and Lerangis got through writing the books.  Also how they came up with some of Claudia/Stacey’s outfits.

5:30.  THE PHONE RINGS!  OMFG!  THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE SO MUCH BANK!

It’s Kristy’s mom.  Kathy can’t come next Wednesday (see, I told you Kathy wouldn’t be around much longer).  As a mom, I’m betting Mrs. T asked Kathy not to come so she could give the BSC a pity job to make them feel like special snowflakes.  I know she’s knows that the phone wasn’t going to ring much that afternoon.  Mary Anne checks the schedule and Stacey and Kristy are available.  Kristy is underwhelmed at the idea of her first BSC job being for her own brother.

Kristy mentions her two older brothers.  Stacey’s eyes bug out of her head–who knew she’d get to meet older brothers on the job?!  She accepts the job and immediately begins shopping for a new older-brother-impressing outfit in her head–maybe something she could pair with neon plastic geometric earrings?

THE PHONE RINGS AGAIN!  Wrong number for a Jim Bartolini.  Oh.

5:42  Some strange lady none of them know called Mrs. McKeever calls for a sitter for Buffy and Pinky.  Look, ladies, I know this is Connecticut in the 80’s, and it’s so preppy that you all shit pink cashmere sweater sets and argyle socks, but maybe something is up with that?  They’re three.  Oh, so they’re twins?  Maybe while Mrs. McKeever is asking you a zillion questions, you could ask one or two more?  Nope?  Yay for Kristy’s first sitting job?  Wow, I hope that hijinks don’t ensue.

TWO MORE CALLS for Jim Bartolini.  Sad face.

5:55.  Mary-Anne is totally ready to leave because this was a total waste of time.  If you don’t have a rip-roaring success in the first meeting ever, then you’ll never have one.  She might as well go back to knitting and dreaming about NEW YORK CITY.

BUT WAIT!   THE PHONE RINGS.

It’s Kristy’s mom again.

I rolled my eyes.  “Mom?” I said.  “Did Kathy back out of her other afternoon, too?  …Oh….Oh…Oh, no.  Not me.  I am not baby-sitting for them.  You know how I feel.  Okay, but hold on…  Watson needs a baby-sitter for his kids again on Saturday morning.  Not tomorrow, but next Saturday,” I told the others.  “I’m not doing it.”

MO-OM, haven’t we covered that I totally hate baby-sitting, which is why I started a baby-sitting club?  Mary-Anne takes the job and asks Kristy if she isn’t the least be curious what Karen and Andrew are like?  Kristy is, but will never ever ever meet them, which will totally derail everything between her mom and Watson.

5:30 THE PHONE RINGS.

“It’s some boy on the phone,” she told us.  “He says his name is Jim Bartolini.  He wants to know if there have been any calls for him.”

Kristy is totally justified in threatening her brother Sam’s life for doing this to them. Kristy goes home and tattles on Sam.  He starts repeating everything she says.  Mrs. T tells him he can’t use the phone for an hour, which seems like a totally legit thing to threaten a teenage boy with since they’re known for being on the phone all the time and we’ve seen Sam on the phone exactly zero times in this book.  Then she sends Kristy to her room.

Mrs. T has had a long day because those are the kind of consequences moms come up with when our head hurts too much and we’re too tired to enforce anything else.

Kristy is thrilled to be sent to her room because Watson is coming over again.

Watson takes Mrs. Thomas out, hopefully for a dinner that includes a big tall glass of wine.

Claudia calls to let Kristy know that Mrs. Newton called for a sitter for Jamie and that she took it since she was free.  Kristy gets emo that Claudia took it, even though it’s her room and her phone and she was free.  Ms. Poutypants goes to bed with Louie the dog at her feet wondering what Buffy and Pinky would be like (FORESHADOWING).

BSC Kristy DollThere were BSC dolls.  I need one RIGHT NOW.  Although-why does Kristy have serious blush and lipstick on?

Chapter 7

Baby-sitting Day!  So exciting!  Kristy arrives at the house, and notices a distinct lack of kid stuff outside for a family with twin three year olds.  Hmmmm….  Mrs. McKeever answers the door and lets Kristy in.  The house is really clean, and full of really nice stuff like glass vases and oriental rugs.  The only sign of kids are baby gates at the kitchen door.  It’s also pretty quiet.  RUN AWAY, KRISTY!  Kristy asks where the twins are.

“Oh, they’re in the laundry room.”

RUN AWAY NOW BEFORE SHE GOES ALL HANNIBAL LECTER ON YOUR ASS!  Then the woman says her name is Mrs. Hargreaves, and she’s Mrs. McKeever’s niece–dude, this is sketchier by the minute, get out NOW.

The job is only going to last a few hours, and Kristy is feeling pretty bad for these poor little kids, so she offers to take them for a walk.  Mrs. Hargreaves is doubtful.

“Are Pinky and Buffy boys or girls?” I asked.

“Well, it doesn’t much matter–”

It doesn’t?

“–but Buffy’s a boy and Pinky’s a girl.”

Kristy is rightfully finally getting the creeps when they reach the Laundry Room door.  Mrs. H warns Kristy that the monsters will knock her over.

The door opens…..Two massive St. Bernards knock Kristy to the ground.  LOL.

Kristy, not being the brightest crayon in the box asks if she has to baby-sit them too.Mrs. H looks at her doubtfully.  Did the dogs of doom concuss her or something?  Or is she just stupid?  Whatevs.  She needs to go.  She zooms through some instructions and leaves Kristy alone with two massive drooling hairballs.

You’ve got to give Kristy credit.  She gamely takes them into the backyard and tries to play fetch with them.  Which works for about five seconds before one of them runs her down and they escape.  She finds them next door where they’ve knocked down some laundry.  Poor Kristy tries to hang the laundry back up while keeping the dogs interested in their footballs and not other people’s yards.  She realizes that no good deed goes unpunished and takes them back inside.At the end of the babysitting job, Kristy decides they should keep a journal of all their sitting jobs so that they could learn from each other’s mistakes.  Like hers.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 7.00.48 PMIt’s all fun and games until there are two of them and they knock you on your ass

Chapter 8

We get our first BSC notebook entry.  This is a bizarre plot device in that it tells you what’s going to happen before it tells you what happened.  These are done in a different handwriting style and voice for each character, and is a nice way to allow someone besides the narrator to speak, if only for a page.  Claudia, whose personality is art, clothes, and sucks at school, will eventually come to write journal entries that border on illegible due to spelling mistakes.  This one isn’t too bad compared to the others that will come in the future (see below).

Apparently Mrs. Newton pulled a dirty trick on the BSC, too.  Instead of it just being Jamie, there were three other kids, which is seriously bullshit.  Kristy is nice about it because it’s not Watson who screwed up, and says that it’s probably because Mrs. Newton has serious pregnancy brain.  To make things more fun, Jamie and Rosie have a private war going, Brenda was just getting over chicken pox (here’s where you know I’ve had two kids-I actually got shocked because pregnant women are supposed to stay the hell away from chicken pox at that stage of pregnancy-it’s a bfd—and then I had to remind myself FICTION), and Rob hated girls including girl baby-sitters.

Claudia is in for a super fun time.The kids proceed to freak the hell out and cry and fight until the adults just throw their hands up and abandon the kids with Claudia.  Because if four adults can’t deal with them, the twelve year old will be TOTALLY FINE.

Rosie began running around and around the room, yelling at the top of her lungs.  She wasn’t yelling words; she was just making noise.  Brenda leaped onto the Newton’s couch and jumped up and down on it as if it were a trampoline.  And Rob turned his fingers into a gun and aimed them at Claudia.  “Pow!  Pow!  Pow-Pow-Pow!  You’re a dead man!…I mean a dead lady!”  Jamie looked on dazedly.

Claudia proves she’s smarter than Kristy who would’ve been screaming louder than the kids.  Claud sits down with Jamie and starts quietly reading to him, ignoring the other kids.  As any parent knows, this will work some large percentage of the time, and one by one the kids came over and quieted down.

Claudia wins at baby-sitting.

bsc claudia entry

 

Part 3 (chapter 9-12) can be found here

Snarking Nostalgic–The Baby-sitters Club #1 Kristy’s Great Idea Chapters 1-3

My name is Crystal.  You would think that I went by Kristy in middle and high school because it’s a natural nickname, yes?  You would be WRONG.

I loved The Baby-sitters Club.  I wanted to be a member of The Baby-sitters Club.  I tried to start a Baby-sitters Club in Lisbon Falls Maine when I was in the 7th grade.  I read them from when they first came out (I was 7, a few months away from turning 8) and bought each new one (roughly every other month) as soon as I got my allowance until middle school (and even occasionally in high school I’d pick one up at the library and skim it).  I watched the tv show.  Even though I’d long since stopped reading the books, and even though I was in high school, I will totally admit to seeing the movie.  When I became an elementary/middle school teacher, I started rebuying the books FOR MY CLASSROOM.

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.

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 5.54.50 PMKristy’s Great Idea

Original Publication Date-August 1986

One of the books we know for sure was written by Martin (after book 36, many were ghostwritten)

Chapter 1

The Baby-sitter Club.  I’m proud to say it was totally my idea, even though the four of us worked it out together

Kristy tells us that she got the idea the first Tuesday afternoon of seventh grade. The BSC girls spend books 1-10 (roughly two years) in 7th grade.  They will then spend the rest of the series (aka the next the TWELVE YEARS) in 8th grade.

But before we can learn about how she got the idea for the BSC, we get to hear about her getting into trouble in class, establishing that she’s impulsive and a bit thoughtless.  She gets a hundred word essay on “decorum” because she punched out Alan Gray cheered the end of the school day.  I can totally picture that middle school teacher cracking open a beer and tossing the essay off to the side, smug that a point had been made–let’s see if I let you brats make fans during class time again (except I totally will because it’s too damn hot to teach right now).  Kristy is a REBEL, yo.

“-I can’t keep my mouth shut, and Mary Anne is very quiet and very shy”

We next meet Mary Anne, whose personality (until she manages to land the new resident hunk Logan Bruno in book 10) is that she has braids and is quiet.  She is the anti-Kristy–aka the nice one.  Although, seriously, from a 2014 perspective, only in the late 80’s would a father who let his 12 year old daughter go babysit at stranger’s houses be described as “overprotective.”  Today he’d be wildly permissive, no matter her hairstyle.  Oh, and her mom is dead.  Dead. Dead. Dead.

I pulled her hand out of her mouth and looked at her nails. “Mary Anne!  How do you ever expect to be able to wear nail polish if you keep doing that?”

I’m sorry, Kristy Thomas, but have you met Kristy Thomas–aka the LAST human being on the planet who would give a shit about wearing polish? By the end of the series, this is a woman who would need a significant bribe–like World Series tickets to give a rat’s ass about nail polish.

OH NOES! It’s Tuesday, and Kristy tells us that it’s her day to watch David Michael.  Apparently in Stoneybrook, the elementary school gets out way earlier than the middle or high schools and thus DM’s beating everyone home is a thing that happens.  So K and MA rush to Kristy’s house and there is DM on the stoop having a meltdown.  As they run we get exposition that Charlie (16) and Sam (14) and Kristy (12) each take a day with DM and that Kathy–a 15 year old girl from down the block watches DM the other two days a week.  (We’ll get to you in a moment, Kathy.)

We now get to some exposition about Claudi from across the street.  She’s really into art and junk food.  She’s also way too cool for Kristy and Mary Anne, as evidenced by the fact that they haven’t been hanging out enough and that she’s started to get into boys, the harlot.  Throwaway line about Mr. Kishi being serious about homework because Asian Stereotypes for the win!

In the five minutes it takes for David Michael to have peed and them to have given him some lemonade, Charlie and Sam show up.  They are obviously trustworthy, as they invite Kristy to come along with them to play ball in the Hanson’s yard–forgetting that she’s in charge of David Michael.  I don’t know why DM is getting so upset about the stoop–clearly given the boys level of commitment to their little brother, being forgotten is probably pretty common.

Their mom gets home with a pizza bribe because Kathy has canceled and she needs a sitter.  Charlie, Sam, Kristy, Mary Anne and Claudia are all busy.  Two other high school girls have cheerleading practice (because of course they do) and then she’s out.  She has run through every last teenager in Stoneybrook.  There are no stay at home moms she knows. David Michael has no friends whose moms she can call to set up a playdate with in exchange for a playdate down the road?

Kristy gets the idea of The Baby-sitters club.  The rest (and apparently Kathy) are history.  Which begs the question–what happened to Kathy?  We all know Kristy is way strict–did she take out a hit on Kathy?

Miss one day of your sitting job once and you lose it forever?  Way harsh, Mrs. Thomas.

Also–I can barely remember the time when this is a plausible story line, given technology.

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 7.44.46 PM

Chapter 2

We all get to learn what decorum is.  Thanks for that, Kristy.

Exposition about how the club will work.  I kind of get the feeling that Martin decided phone in this part of the chapter with her own notes about plot points.  According to Wikipedia, the BSC was originally going to be a 4 book quartet, and was inspired because a scholastic editor noticed that girls liked this one book about baby-sitting so we should publish some more books about baby-sitting.

Kristy’s mom knocks at the door.  Blah blah blah working mom guilt, blah blah blah her parents are divorced and her dad didn’t even acknowledge her last birthday.  Kristy has to fess up about getting in trouble and her assignment and her mom finds it all pretty funny.

I asked her if she thought The End could count as the ninety-ninth and one-hundreth words, and she smiled and said she hoped so

Mrs. Thomas totally knows that the teacher isn’t going to read that essay.

9PM–flashlight time.  Kristy and Mary Anne have this whole Flashlight morse code thing they do since their bedroom windows face each other.  I’m dying to know what it was like since it was so advanced Kristy could signal her whole idea in under four hours.  I like that MA responds back “WHAT?” instead of another two paragraphs.  The idea is cool, but let’s try to keep it to the realistic fiction genre.

Mrs. Thomas is back–maybe she saw all the flashing and thought that a UFO was landing in the backyard?  Nope, turns out she’d just chickened out last time and needs to tell Kristy that she’s going out with Watson again on Saturday night.  Kristy cops major attitude (UGH he’s BALDING).  Mrs. Thomas eyerolls before getting to the point–could Kristy please baby-sit Watson’s kids on Saturday morning because it’s his weekend to have the kids?  Because that will TOTALLY endear him to Kristy.

Kristy says no, because UGH, Baby-sitting.

Great plan, Mrs. Thomas.  Maybe you should call Kathy, unless she’s already been executed for missing that ONE DAY of baby-sitting?

The chapter ends with Kristy pouting over being asked to baby-sit Karen and Andrew and then getting excited about her Baby-sitters Club idea.  BECAUSE OF COURSE she’s thrilled to start a baby-sitting club after turning down a baby-sitting job out of spite.

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 7.45.15 PM

Chapter 3

Kristy hands in her decorum essay.  Can this please be the end of this stupid subplot?

I handed it to him before school, so he wouldn’t have to read it while the entire class was hanging around.  He didn’t count the words, just skimmed it, looked up at me, and said ‘This is fine, Kristy.  Fine work.  You express yourself very nicely on paper.”

Allow me to decode that for you, Kristy.  “I’m never reading this.  You did it. Yay for you.”

After school MA and K are talking.  Kristy wants to know how many of the 8 Pike kids MA is going to baby-sit for and they both seem relieved there will only be two.  I really hope you guys charged the Pikes per kid. Kristy is baby-sitting Jamie Newton and her brother.  They immediately plan to get the four kids together so they can talk.  You guys have the survival instincts of stay-at-home moms, ladies, and as a stay-at-home mom who has planned many a play date so I could hang out with a friend I salute you.

Kristy and David Michael are at the Newton’s door exactly at 3:30 and she tells us she’s NEVER BEEN LATE for a baby-sitting job.  You just know she’s dangling Kathy over a pit of vipers for daring to cancel on her mom.  It occurs to me that Kristy could grow up and become Sheryl Sandberg, lecturing all the other moms about how they’re not leaning in enough.

Jamie (3) and David Michael (6) bond over GI Joes and the moms of 25 years in the future have collective heart failure over the boys playing with branded violent action figures and start a collection to time travel backwards and hand out waldorf toys to the children of Stoneybrook.

Mrs. Newton shares that it’s 8 weeks until the new baby comes.  Kristy says she can’t wait and Mrs. Newton gives her the stink-eye.

Mrs. Newton leaves and Kristy calls MA to give her the all-clear and come over.  Because asking permission is lame.  Thank god she’s not planning on starting a professional baby-sitting service.  Oh, wait…..

Kristy and Mary Anne are sitting and talking about starting their TOTALLY PROFESSIONAL baby-sitting business when they hear a scream and look up and see that Jamie had fallen.  He’s totally being three about it, but MA grabs the girls and makes a hasty exit.  They plan to go over and see Claudia after the baby-sitting is over.

Kristy exposits about how Claudia is growing up faster.  DUDES, SHE’S WEARING A BRA!!!!  Slut  Kristy is disgusted because the boys in their grade are gross-what the fuck is WRONG with Claudia?

After that glowing recommendation, Kristy rings Claudia’s doorbell and we are treated to the first of a million descriptions of Claudia’s outfits

She was wearing short, very baggy lavender plaid overalls, a white lacy blouse, a black fedora, and red high-top sneakers without socks.  Her long black hair was carefully arranged in four braids.  I felt extremely blah compared to her

Don’t we all, Kristy.  Don’t we all.

But then—-

I was so used to seeing Claudia in outfits like that that I didn’t bat an eye.  What I did notice was that she was wearing makeup.  There was blue stuff on her eyelids, gold stuff about her eyes, and magenta stuff on her cheeks.

Weren’t you worried about Mary Anne’s access to nail polish in chapter 1, Kristy?

Kristy calls Claudia a tramp clown (no, really–a clown) and for reasons beyond understanding Claudia lets her in instead of slamming the door in Kristy’s face.

We get exposition about how Claudia is Japanese, her parents immigrated as kids (if not read carefully it sounds like they came over together), her parents are conservative and don’t understand her (and she babysits to get her crazy clothes because her parents won’t buy that stuff for her).  Claudia’s grandmother lives with them.  Janine is Claudia’s 15 year old genius older sister who takes college classes (HI ASIAN STEREOTYPES).  Martin then gives us Janine’s IQ–196, and indulges in some nerd bashing about how Janine’s a grammar nazi, her bff is a 14 year old math genius and her other bff is her computer–NERD.

Side note–if Claudia’s makeup, jewelery, art supplies and junk food are all paid for with baby-sitting money, she must baby-sit way more or charge way more than anyone else in Stoneybrook.

Mary Anne shows up and Kristy explains her whole “baby-sitters club” idea.

Claudia, seeing dollar signs, offers her room for meetings since she has her OWN PHONE LINE.  She is so much cooler than all of us.

Claudia also knows someone who could join the club–this new girl Stacey McGill.  She just moved here from NEW YORK CITY (new game–every time the BSC tells us Stacey is from NEW YORK CITY, we all put a piece of hay between our teeth, make our eyes really big and say in our most hickified voice NOO YAWK SEETEE?).

They agree to all meet the next day at 530 for the first meeting of the baby-sitters club.

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 7.50.43 PMSource-Halloween Costume Idea (GUYS WE NEED TO DO THIS)

And our lives would never be the same again….

Part 2  (chapters 4-8) is here.