Sunday, October 30, 2005

Scrapings from the underside of a sea snake; or, BSC #17: Mary Anne’s Bad-Luck Mystery

Okay, so I have always pronounced Mary Anne’s last name as “SPY-er,” I’m not entirely sure why, especially because I read this book early on. So, imagine my shock at the earth-rattling revelation that Logan pronounces her last name “Spee-yuh.” Does that mean her name is pronounced by normal, non-southerners as “Spear?” How did I miss that?

Anyhoo, this book is another example of the fact that Ann M. Martin thought all the BSC members were monumental suckers. Not only do they believe that the chain letter is bad luck, they believe that the necklace that Mary Anne gets in the mail is bad, back luck (sing it with me, Social D fans: “You got bad, bad luck / Bad, bad luck / You got bad, bad luck / Bad, bad luck”). They freak out completely after they all have some bad things happen, and they blame it on the charm, instead of blaming it on Hale-Bopp or El Nino, or something reasonable. Finally, they decide to go to the library to look up books on witchcraft, cause they’re sure that someone has put a spell on them.

The library incident cracked me up, for a couple of reasons. First, Claudia hates the library. Now, I know her mom is the librarian (although nobody mentions this), and her parents try to make her read “good” books. But, seriously, let’s assume her mother dragged her to the library as a kid, even then she could have found the cool kid’s books or the cool art books. What art student doesn’t have to use the library?

Mary Anne has this fantasy where she’s picturing old musty library with “stereotypical librarian” and a dark corner with the witchcraft books. I just think she’s seen the beginning of Ghostbusters too many times. Anyway, they find a bunch of fantasy novels disguised as books on witchcraft (I don’t think ANM has ever looked at a modern wicca book, cause they don’t require horror movie ingredients for spells, just candles and herbs and stuff. Hey, I was infatuated for a while when I was younger, give me break).

Then, after the Halloween Hop, during which Cokie lets it slip that she’s in on the prank, Mary Anne gets a letter telling all the BSC to go to Old Hickory’s headstone at midnight, blah blah…Well, after finding out from Daddy that the necklace is actually a mustard-seed symbol of faith, she figures out the whole thing, and the girls decide to play a prank on Cokie and Grace…scare the shit out of them, embarrass Grace-crushing-on-Logan-which-is-the-whole-reason-behind-this in front of Logan.

ANM really likes the mysteries, but really not so good at writing them. Her mysteries remind me of the witch and ghost stories I used to write when I was young. Nothing was connected other than superficially, there’s no depth. Now, I’m sure part of that was me being influenced by her. But, a crazy rich published writer should have worked a little harder. (Ouch, I know.)

22 comments:

PoBaL said...

After a certain point, I remember 9yrold Jessy being like, Um? Cokie's involved, Mary Anne. Don't you think she might be messing with you? AGAIN!?

Mols said...

I remember in one of the later books, during the infamous chapter 2 I believe, they actually mentioned the pronounciation of Mary Anne's name, and yes it is "speer". I was shocked, and angered... I still pronounce it spyer because you know what? It's what I believe that counts, dammit!:)

Anonymous said...

that's SUPER weird how we all thought it was SPY-ER...I wonder why...

Cat said...

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who pronouned Mary-Anne's name SPY-ER instead of Spear now I don't feel nearly as silly.

Fensys said...

Phew. I thought I was the only one pronouncing it Spy-er as well.

- Luke

Anonymous said...

It's definatley 'spear'. and I think 'Kishi' is 'Quichey' (you know, like the pie)

Pamela said...

Another Spy-er here. It's Spyer-I'm from the South, and I read it Spy-er. :)

valorie said...

I just happened onto your blog while I was searching. I'm 26 years old and am re-reading (and catching up on) old BSC books. I started laughing out loud at your blogs. I have only read Mary Anne's so far. I just finished a re-read of "Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger" I see you haven't reviewed this one yet, I look forward to it. Shockingly enough Claudia always thought it was "Elbow Priestly" not "Elvis Priestly"

Miyana said...

I was raised Pagan (indeed a rarity in the 90s, where I spent my teen years) and I fully did a book report on this book in which I wrote about how the spell stuff in this book was all crap and how Mary Anne broke the rule of 3, so that's why she was so unlucky...

I can't remember my teacher's reation to the essay... shame, I bet it was good.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious what is the rule of 3?

Anonymous said...

Wow. My sister sent me this link yesterday and told me I needed to check it out, and I've pissed the last 48hrs away catching up on all your posts. Obviously from 2+yrs ago now, this comment is a little outdated, but I just had to share: I too always prounounced Mary Anne's last name as "spy-er" and as I'd noticed in a more recent blog about Stacey's uber bitch NYC ex-bff, I pronounced Laine's name as "Lane". It wasn't until the movie She's All That came ot thatt I was like "Well, maybe it's pronouced "Lane-ey" even though the spellings were totally not the same. I decided I liked "Lane-ey" better, and have since then read her as such.

I dont ever recall having conversations with my girlfriends when I was younger about the pronunciations of both names. Nor do I recall having hear anyone say the name either way. So I think to me, they were always right. And until just now reading your post, I'd ALWAYS thought it was Mary Anne Spy-er. Too funny that someone else always pronounced them possibly differently as well. Did you ever think Shannon's last name was "Kill-born-ee" as opposed to "Kill-born" :P

In closing, this is possibly the best project I've ever come across on the net. Thanks for the fun!

-Jamie Anne

Anonymous said...

damn! am i the only one who pronounced her name right...? anyway love the blog. found ur site complety accindently an i don't seem to be a ble to leave.

Anonymous said...

My mom's Wiccan (I myself am an odd Wiccan-Jewish hybird) and she read this book and got really really pissed at the way AMN was portraying witchcraft... she was all scared I was gonna get teased on the playground.

Which vaugely makes me wonder why she didn't just have us raised just Jewish... but got to love ANM for messing with her mind.

Looking back it was actually really funny. The playground kids were more concerned with the fact that I could "play" with matches.

Anonymous said...

I know this post is really, really, old, but I still feel compelled to answer...

The rule of 3 is a pagan (I don't think its Wiccan excusive) doctrine that says whatever you put out into the world comes back to you three-fold.

Zesty Cactus said...

YUSSSS SOCIAL D.

P.S. I totally thought it was Spy-er right up til I read this post.

Mixymo said...

I alwats pronounced MA's last name as 'Spear', but I remember in one book people called her 'Mary-Anne Crier' because she cries over everything. And I assumed that was also because 'crier' rhymes with 'Spy-er'

???? Continuity, ANM!

Anonymous said...

kind of random, and i know this is an old post, but i wanted to comment. i remember like, 15 years ago when i was 9 i used to love to read my BSC books aloud to my mom. i remember calling Janine Kishi "Ja-9" instead of "Ja-neen" and my mom laughing her ass off. she was like "what? let me see! oh it's Ja-neen!" and i felt totally dumb that for 2 years i swore it was Ja-9 and that's the way it sounded in my head! LOL!

Anonymous said...

ok, so i just started reading all of your entries, and this has really brought me on a trip down memory lane! I LOVED THE BSC!!! And this book was one of my favorites...

So I just had to mention, I always pronounced it Spy-er as well, and it really pissed me off when I watched one of those ridiculous BSC movies, and they pronounced it Spee-er.

Just thought I would add that.

Wanderlusting said...

Loved this book SO much and am so glad I found your blog - I have to mention it to my own blog peeps now, you've got me reminiscing!

Suzie said...

I have no idea how old this entry is but I thought I'd leave a comment. I think it is like Spear, coz I've got a pal whose name is Spiers and that's like Spears.

Just my two pence worth hehe :) great blog tho!

Irishlaura said...

I know this is a really old blog entry but just to answer the question... In one of the books (can't remember which one, sorry) they say that spier "rhymes with cheer, not crier, although both words can be used to describe Mary Anne... That sounds like a contradiction but blah blah blah she's sensitive cries easily etc"

Great blog :-)

metamorphstorm said...

Spier = Spy-er. I don't care how many books tell me it's pronounced the same as "spear" (several books do, the one I remember most the one where Claudia tries spelling it out loud and comes up with "S-P-E-E-R"), Mary Anne's dull and I refuse to associate her with any cool weapon. Besides, two-part first name should have a two-syllable last name, otherwise it just sounds weird. :)