Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Boy, are they different from anyone else in the club. They are so sophisticated; or, BSC #48: Jessi’s Wish

Yes, I am fully aware that I am going to hell. I am about to make fun of a book that features children with many serious diseases, medical conditions and major problems. And I’m totally not going to make fun of the characters in these situations, because I’m not totally heartless…But I just have to make fun of Ann M. Martin’s exploitive use of these children…You forgive me, right? It’s not like I’m going to rip on the little girl with cancer! (Ahem…*cough* cancerboy *cough*)

So, Becca and Charlotte (and some Pikes and a bunch of other kids) are part of the Kids-Can-Do-Anything-Club (aka the Kids Club) at Stoneybrook Elementary. And one of the former members is Danielle, who’s in the hospital with leukemia. And one of the teachers who runs the club is taking a sabbatical (I’m sorry, but even a middle school kid can use both a dictionary and a thesaurus!), so the club might shut down. But Jessi volunteers to help run it while the teacher’s away. [Oh, and this another Jessi book that literally mentions dancing twice, and that’s it…] So, then the BSC pretty much takes a month off of baby-sitting so they can volunteer (which is a nice thing to do, but the actual logistics are kind of glossed over…).

So, Kristy volunteers taking care of the babies at a daycare center (and her description of the center is kind of “oh, these poor kids in daycare,” though I can’t quite put my finger on why). And Mary Anne is helping a family with a kid with brain damage. Stacey will be counseling kids with diabetes. Mal’s helping out at a rec program in the park. Claud’s helping at an art class at the community center. And Dawn’s volunteering at a place for kids with physical disabilities…yes, this book one giant Very Special Episode. You get cancer, cystic fibrosis, brain damage, muscular dystrophy, (implied) poverty and mean little bastards…all in one pretty short book. Which seems a little…cheap…definitely forced…mighty schlocky…take your pick. [I REALLY hate ANM’s serious books…they’re sooooo manipulative!]

And Jessi learns that it’s a cold, hard world out there, and that life isn’t fair. Phew…enough about that…I’m sure I can find something I don’t feel crazy guilty for mocking now!



  1. ”Both of my parents work. They like their jobs a lot. IN fact, Dad likes his so much that when his company told him he was being transferred to the branch office in Stamford, Connecticut, he picked up and moved us Ramseys to Stoneybrook…” But her mom’s job’s not important enough to mention.


  2. Oh, and seriously, Jessi acts like she’s way older than me even when she’s comforting Becca…like she’s seen everything and she’s so mature…my ass. [I keep accidentally typing “Jessy” instead of “Jessi” and PoBal knows why…]


  3. Does ANM get a cut of the royalties from Marguerite Henry’s books? Cause she name drops Misty of [fucking] Chincoteague every other book! And in that one super special they actually go looking for the horses or some shit like that…If she’s not getting a cut, she should hire a good lawyer!


  4. Now Jessi thinks that it’s unfair that the Pikes won’t let Mal get a nose job! How do I not remember this whole obsession with nose jobs? I remember that episode of Head of the Class about nose jobs…


  5. I’d like to formally apologize for my inability to write with a single entry (or email for that matter) that doesn’t use ellipses.


  6. Stacey “dresses in really chilly [Apparently, any synonym for cold can be new slang for cool, with apologies to the Shins. I want “super-crazy-sub-arctic-snowbound” to mean cool…Who’s with me?] clothes – leggings, cowboy boots, hats, short skirts, a lot of black, etc.” I’m beginning to suspect that Sienna Miller is mining the BSC books for outfits…



  7. “…if Claudia were to offer a fashion tip, it would be, ‘Accessorize to the max.’ She certainly follows her own advice, wearing tons of hats, belts, boots, jewelry (she makes a lot of the jewelry), and hair ornaments.” I know I’ve said this before, but hello, Urban Outfitters!


  8. Teenage mutant ninja turtles. ‘nuff said.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else get annoyed by these do-gooders? Teenagers are not like this! They want to have fun, not donate their time constantly. These girls will give up a month of babysitting money to help others for free? These are the same girls who groan every week when they have to hand over their dues! I know of very few if any teens and preteens who would constantly give up their lives to take care of kids! Did Miss Martin actually KNOW any teenagers?

Clare said...

Very Special BSC books are a lot like Very Special Saved by the Bell episodes: They suck. But at least SBTB sticks to stuff like homelessness and fat people, which you can mock without feeling TOO bad about yourself. (They could both use a cue from Blossom, though. Their Very Special episodes were always about, like, sex and drugs and shoplifting. They rocked.)

Oh, and I just happen to be reading Misty of [fucking] Chincoteague right now...my mom lent it to me (i.e., swiped it from her second-grade classroom) because I recently went camping on Assateague Island. Every time I pick it up, I think of Mal and Jessi. Yeah, I'm a dork.

Tiff said...

heh...Assateague...

Anonymous said...

Jessie from saved by the bell "I'M SO EXCITED! I'M SO EXCITED! I'M SO....scared."

Anna said...

Consider the alternative to Very Special BSC Books: Very Special Full House episodes. Lame to the bitter end.

Anonymous said...

I would have donated time as a teenager... I was very society minded... I hated things like shopping, that wasn't 'fun' for me at all. Not that I would have babysat *constantly*, and not that I would ahve been mature enough age 13 to be doing all this practically by myself!

Anonymous said...

While I think that the girls would have liked to volunteer time and stuff (that's just the type of goodie-goodies they are), I don't think it would be how Ms Martin is imagining.

Claudia Kishi said...

Dude....You should write way more than once a week. Your blog is seriously better than prime time TV (and than the books themselves, hee hee!)

Tenacious said...

Jessi was actually the most boring of the baby sitters I didnt read too many of her book

And I'm going to co-sign with Anon @ 7:25...who the hell does this? Or was I just one of those lazy teens?

And once again...an 11 year old in charge of what a class of 8 year olds? Glad to know a college education and a background check is so not needed in Stonybrook, why not let kids supervise kids?

Ashley said...

I'd say this entry was super-crazy-sub-arctic-snowbound.

Yup, that works. I think I'll use it now. ;)

liss said...

"And I'm going to co-sign with Anon @ 7:25...who the hell does this? Or was I just one of those lazy teens?"

About that, it might be due to the time difference in different countries.

Anonymous said...

It's a different thing to volunteer some time when you're a teenager than it is to voluntarily involve 20 kids in everything you do, or spend half your life organizing parties, bands, talent shows and pet shows for the kids in your town. THAT is what's not normal or believable. Almost as unbelievable as an 11 year old being allowed to babysit a 9 year old.

Abbey said...

I love to see someone else always use ellipses! I LOVE THEM...

If you read my site you'll be slapped in the face with them constantly!

Love the site...

Tenacious said...

@ Liss

Oh no I meant I was agreeing with everything Anon said....So many folks on here are anon. I didnt want to mix anyone up :-)

delightfully mediocre said...

So many things in the 80's gave we Jessies a bad name. Or at least a boring one. Le sigh.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember this book series from the 80s?? Sleepover Friends. It came out around the same time that BSC did. I read those for a time while also reading BSC. Its about a group of four 4th or 5th graders who have sleepovers on fridays, the adventures that they get into, blah blah blah. I found almost the entire series on ebay and bought it for $24 - so bad its good and so unrealistic like ANM. Anyone have thoughts on this?

Tiff said...

I also used to read the sleepover friends...and all I can remember (and I'm pretty sure I have the right books) is something about crystalized violets on a chocolate mousse...oh, and i remember the covers when i see them, but mainly, the edible flowers.

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm...Lauren's special bacon olives and onion soup dip! Those broads ate so much cool junk!

andrea* said...

YES! sleepover friends! I loved those!

I think its becasue I could actually have sleepovers with my friends -just like in the book! but for some reason my mom thought having me babysit someone just 2 years younger than me wasn't a good idea...

the "claudia" had a color scheme, she only wore red, black and white

Anonymous said...

I don't remember those books, but I *do* remember another series called Friends 4 Ever or something... they were these four girls (why is it always four?) who would hang out and send each other little notes in special hiding places, ending them with sappy endings like "Yours Til The Ocean Waves" and stuff... I remember one of them was called Stevie and she was nuts about soccer. And there was Molly, Meg and Laura too.

Anonymous said...

yep, Friends 4 Ever... I had a few of those books. Never really got into reading them, but the few I did read were cool.
Stevie was a total tomboy.

Anonymous said...

ooh yes, i remember the friends forever series. one of them, meg i think, made a big deal out of getting her ears pierced the way all the bsc girls did.

"yours til the kitchen sinks!"

Anonymous said...

Ooh, Sleepover friends, strangely enough I have a couple of those and I live in the Canary Islands, I really don't know how such literature got to my bookshelf. I just remember getting really hungry whenever I read them.

I am so loving this blog!!!