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
by Ann M Martin (confirmed)
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.
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.
For the record, most of the graphic novel is free on amazon in the preview feature. It’s hilariously bad.
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…
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….
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.
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?