Monday, October 17, 2005

Mary Anne’s Surefire Alarm Systems; or, BSC #2: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls

First, let me say that it freaks me out that they redid the cover art for the first couple books when they released the newer editions (the ones with the pictures of the members down the left side of the cover—they started these after I had stopped reading). I rely really heavily on book covers to spark my memory: plots tend to run together, but covers stand out in my mind. And the new art work is just wrong…

Now, to the book:

“Today, for instance, I’m wearing purple pants that stop just below my knees and are held up with suspenders, white tights with clocks on them, a purple-plaid shirt with a matching hat, my high-top sneakers, and lobster earrings. Clothes like these are my trademark.”

When I was younger, I totally thought this was the best outfit ever. I loved suspenders like you wouldn’t believe, even before I started the BSC. And tights with clocks? So artsy, at least to a ten-year-old.

Anyway, the book starts out with Claudia talking about what a pain school is (as usual) and how she’s totally in luv with Trevor Sandbourne (and how she thinks it’s such a romantic name)…she’s smart, she just doesn’t care...same description in every book. Well, all four girls hang out the next weekend, and they find out about the Phantom Caller, a thief who repeatedly calls the house that he’s going to rob, but he never says anything when the victims answer the phone…So, the girls start FREAKING OUT to the point that they call an emergency club meeting to make plans in case something happens while they’re sitting. They come up with the lamest code ever: instead of calling the cops themselves, they call one of the other club members and say “Have you found my red ribbon?” so the other person will know to call the cops…Whatevs. And they decide to bring the club record book to school so they can memorize where everyone will be.

So, of course, Claudia and Kristy start getting weird calls, and they think the Phantom Caller is after them. And Stacey and Mary Anne just spaz out about everything, to the point where Mary Anne sets up “burglar alarms” around Kristy’s house. Well, it turns out they’re just stupid, while boys are calling C and K to ask them to the Halloween Hop. (Ah, middle school dances at 4 in the afternoon…)

This book also introduces the conflict between Claudia and Janine and neatly wraps it up…

I’m not sure how I felt reading these the first time around, but the early books are the biggest stretches…they’re not the realistic-ish conflict that happen in some of the books (friends ditching friends, stupid fights, etc) nor the really outlandish stuff (getting lost on an island in Long Island Sound, winning the lottery, best friends’ parents getting remarried)…


Anonymous said...

You know Claudia's meant to be Stacey's best friend? Well, in The Phantom Phone Caller,Kristy accidently told everyone that Sam (Stacey's crush and Kristy's 15 year old brother)took a weird girl to the movies. Of course, when Stacey was all upset, they all rallied round her except for Claudia.
(Kristy- 'My broher? He's girl crazy. You should have seen who he took to the movies. She's new at school...'
'Sam took a high school girl to the pictures? I thought he liked me' asked Stacey softly.
I (Claudia) glanced at Stacey. She looked like a lost little girl. Two tears rolled slowly down her face.
-'Oh, no! Please don't cry!' exclaimed Kristy.
Mary Anne jumped up from her spot on the floor and sat down next to Stacey.
And what did the best friend do in all of this?

The phone rang and I (Claudia) answered it.) Really shows a caring nature.
Claudia is okay, but she's a bit too self centered. In the midst of her BF crying her eyes out, she still pays attention to herself only:
('Her clothes were just... just weird' said Krsity
'Like mine?' I (Claudia) asked suspiciously.)
My point exactly

Kristin said...

I totally remember the tights with clocks on them. I just discovered this blog and my memories are flooding back. I love it!

Kylie said...

I fully agree about the new covers being wrong. On the old cover here's Claudia holding Nina in both arms with the phone wedged between her ear and shoulder. New cover has Claudia holding the phone in one hand, Nina in the other. How can a 12 year old hold a 3 year old with one arm??

Anonymous said...

ok. this isnt exactly about the book, but question: why are stacey and claudia (13 yr olds!!!) allowed to have multiple boyfriends and have, oh, say, 8? first kisses? are their parents idiots? um.... YES!!!

Anonymous said...

ok. this is exactly about the book, but question: why are stacey and claudia (who are, i remind you, 13 yrs old!!!) allowed to have several boyfriends and say, like 8 'first kisses'? are theyir parents idiots? um.... YES!!!!!

Anonymous said...

anonymous, u left your mesasge twice, but who cares! i totally agree with u!

Anonymous said...

They probably don't tell their parents that they have boyfriends/ are kissing people.

Lucy the Valiant one said...

I used to read these books when I was between 11 and 12 and eleven years later,I grabbed a few from the free box at the library,don't know why,they were free and I did free books.I used to love these books,but I was just a little kid then .I reread them and I must say,the BSC are the most annoying twats ever ,they never had real issues and everyone thought they were all perfect and when someone didn't like them,they were all"Wah wah,some one hates us." On the clothes note,I never really like Claudia's clothes I was more of the preppy Mary Anne and Janine type dresser still am.Also in the movies Claudia doesn't look Asian,actually,the actress that plays her might have also played another girl in these videos called "Secret Adventures" about a babysitter who goes on these "Secret Adventures" with her two charges (I don't know why they always reminded me of Karen and Andrew) . I love your blogs by the way

rona said...

I totally agree about the book covers! Especially back in the day ... we weren't bombarded with a million images, web extras, etc., so that one sketch was all we had to go on, so I SWEAR they are etched in stone in my brain!!

I also agree that I got irked a little with the totally new description of each girl in each book. (Obviously if we're reading, we'd up with what's going down, and all the fluff filler/background info got annoying.)

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE realizing that BSC is so the SATC of our youth! Like with SATC, we all thought we were the "Carrie," in other words, the best qualities of all the characters combined, but with none of the flaws.

I remember going back and forth about which BSC character I wanted to be like. I emulated their handwriting, moods, dress styles etc.

Julie Fedele said...

Wow that is such an interesting observation re: BSC bring the SATC series of our youth :-)

Tiff, I have just discovered this blog tonight and I am seriously giddy with excitement :) Starting way back here in 2005 and will prob read for several hours till I'm up to date :)

I was OBSESSED with the series as a kid. Had my own BSC club from age 9 to 15! Couldn't work out why no one hired us till we were about 13ish ;-)

Julie Fedele said...