Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I think he'd have trouble choosing between them; or BSC #52: Mary Anne + 2 Many Babies

[Sorry this entry's late.  When I have a busy weekend, I don't have time to
read one of the books...Booze, sure I've got time for that, but not so much for
the BSC.  I'm a horrible person.  But I had fun!]

The tag line for this winner is "How much trouble can a bunch of babies
be?"  But, just maybe, it should be "How retarded can a group of
13-year-olds be?"  It's a good question.  Seriously.

The plot: Um, Dawn and Mary Anne want their parents to have a baby.  Mary
Anne babysits for the Salem twins; they're babies.  And all the 8th graders
have to take "Modern Living."  That's a course that teaches them about
adulthood, using the narrowest possible definition (marriage and babies). 
So, they "marry" a classmate and have an egg baby.  And it's hard! And most of the BSC and their "spouses" take it all entirely too seriously.  They, like, name the "babies" and have arguments about how much the baby should eat and if it's cold and shit.  And, yes, I'm talking about the boys, too (especially Logan and Alan Gray).  LAME!!!  Um, in the end, Dawn and MA decide that maybe their parents' decision not to further populate Stoneybrook might actually be the right one.  Oh, and they learn that being a grownup and a married and a parent is hard! (But don't worry, I'm sure they forget that last lesson by the next book.) BABIES!  Woot. (Sorry, don't care much for babies myself, and my uterus threatens to perform a self-hysterectomy at the thought of birthin' one.  Remember that as you read through this.)

Okay, first things first.  The cover.  Mary Anne already looks like a
suburban housewife, pushing the stroller, wearing stretch pants and a baggy
sweatshirt.  She's given up at 13, folks.  Pour a Zima for the girl.

Also, the + 2 thing is far too cutesy. 

Roll call!

  • Worst first line of any of the books: "I was thirteen years old before I became a sister, and guess what."  I challenge you to bring me a worse, less interesting opener.

  • I get wicked sick of all the "Oh, we all eat normal, and Dawn eats like a fucking freak!" I don't need ANM to catalog the dietary differences between the two sisters.  She doesn't even describe the food so that it sounds good.  For either girl!  What's the point of that?  If you're going to describe food, make me drool.  All I'm asking.

  • MA wonders what the opposite of outgoing is; she considers "ingoing" and "ingrown." Heh.  Once, PoBal and I had a months long discussion about whether or not "integreous" was the adjective form of "integrity."  Did I spell that right?

  • Ooh! Claud clothes: "A typical Claudia outfit might include a sequined shirt, stirrup pants (maybe black), low black boots, [Wait!  How can anyone tell they're stirrups if she's wearing boots?] dangly turquoise earrings, and ribbons woven through tiny braids in her hair. And she wouldn't forget sparkly nail polish." [Bitch!  That's totally Stacey's thing!] I love that the pants just may be black, but no one's quite sure.

  • Does anyone remember the book in which the BSC took an infant care class?  MA mentions it, but I don't remember anything about that.

  • Teacher:"Despite how old or young you may feel, the truth is that you are now biologically capable of becoming parents, or you will be soon. How many think you are capable of parenting, of being part of a couple, or of living on your own?" And, of course, MA thinks cause she babysits a few times a week for a few hours a shot, she could be a fucking parent. 

  • ANM really hates the character Shawna Riverson.  Seriously, the dumbass things she pushes out through Shawna's mouth make me think that ANM's romantic rival in high school was named Shawna. 

  • Heh, ANM makes an inadvertent stand for gay marriage when there are four boys who can't pair up with girls, so they have to pair up with each other.  Of course, there's no mention of "gay," and, surprisingly (well, actually, not very much so), they never get mentioned again.

  • Y'all know how much I hate whenever ANM mentions prices that just don't make any sense.  Well, she's at it again.  Just don't even attempt it!  1993 prices that are pretty spot on for these days?  I think she overshot the prices, but I honestly can't be sure.  But it seems a little suspect. 

  • Oh, and apparently, MA and Logan never looked at the prices in the grocery store.  And they decide to be vegetarians to save money.

  • And their whole "playing married" thing gets really old, like, instantly.

  • Given that they're all such experienced sitters, you'd think they'd know that sitting for twin infants is hard work.  And they're all huffy about the Salems waiting until the babies were 6 mos. before hiring the BSC. 

  • Shut up about the babies, girls!!!!!!!! It's boring.

  • Oh, the egg thing.  Thank gawd I never had to do that shit. 

  • Okay, the BSCers bring their stupid egg babies to jobs.  How unprofessional is that?  And the parents are all "ha, ha," and the kids are all "the fuck?"

  • Logan and MA name their "kid" Samantha, Sammie for short.

  • Kristy and Alan name theirs Izzy.

  • Damn, these girls and boys took this waaaaaay too seriously.

  • And the older girls get all pissy with Jessi and Mal, cause they just don't get being an egg parent. Shut up!

  • Feel like getting smacked with a lesson as blunt as a sledgehammer?
    Stacey sat in a patch of dry grass and thought. What if Bobby [her "kid"] had been her real child and she had had no husband to call on for help? she wondered. What did you do if you were a single parent and you were at work and your child got sick and the nurse called and said he should go home from school? What if you couldn't leave your job? Or what if you were at home and something happened to you and you simply needed help?

    "I bet my mom is scared sometimes..."

  • Ah, Logan and MA fight a lot about money and the kid. Imagine that.

  • The Pike kids decide to pair up in incestuous marriages and raise egg-children.  And the triplets go along with it?  Perhaps that is the single least believable aspect of this book.

  • Um, since when is there a kid at SMS named Tarik?

  • Blah, now they understand how hard their parents have it.

  • Heh.  The single most realistic event in this entire book? "Miles tried to look on the bright side. 'Isn't sex education part of Health?" I heard him say. Logan laughed. I blushed."  Wow. ANM actually admitted that 13-year-old boys think about sex!  Crazy! 

  • MA and Logan turn in a 32 page single-spaced typed report, causing their teacher to swear. A lot. In my mind.

  • [Overall, I preferred the Buffy treatment of the egg project!]

  • Oh, sweetie, 25 isn't that old.  Just you wait.

  • Fucking fuck fuck!!!!!!! Worst ending ever! "'Yeah. Dad,' I said, 'you have no idea how hard it is to be a parent.'" Richard, I'll fucking smack her for you! ANM, for that, you (or your ghostwriter) need to be dragged out behind the Burger King and beaten with a cricket bat.  There was no reason for that.  Even people with no sense of humor know that's just not funny.

Whew. Sorry for the violence at the end there.  Nothing pisses me off more
than a cheap joke, told non-self-mockingly. And what a shitty way to start and
end the book!  Not that the middle was any less shitty!

Until next time.


Lisa said...

Oh yay, you updated! :D

I always hated this book. It annoyed me even as a kid.
I was obviously too young to understand how hard it is to be an egg parent.

Anna said...

I think the infant care course was in Kristy and the Baby Parade, it makes the most sense in terms of theme mallets. PS. there's a good one for recapping, Kristy actually realizes that her ideas tend to suck sometimes!

K said...

As if anyone would actually allow a 13 year old to 'sit' for their baby? And carrying around a crappy rotting egg teaches you what exactly? That is is best to refridgerate the goddamn thing?

katie said...

Wasn't Izzy the name of one of Kristy's co-CITs at Camp Mohawk?

I just asked my roommate and she gave me a look that leads me to believe that I shouldn't know that. I know you guys understand!

Anonymous said...

The BSC takes child-and-infant first aid courses in one of the higher numbered books... Mary Anne To The Rescue or something? But obviously waaay after this one.

And yes, that last line was TOOOOTALLY uncalled for.

This is Mary Anne:

"My widowed, not-terribly-good-at-showing-his-emotions dad makes me wear skirts and pigtails when I'm 12, he is such a bastard - I'm going to start wearing jeans and loose hair and have a Kentuckian boyfriend with the world's most allergic little brother, and my boyfriend and I will raise an egg of our own together so that I can tell my stupid bastard of a father how little he knows about raising a child."

Suddenly Mary Anne isn't my favorite sitter anymore...

Oh, a little fact for y'all - according to ANM's biography, Mary Anne's character is based on the author herself. Kristy is apparently based on her best friend Beth, who she always wanted to be like or something.

The More You Know.

Amanda said...

I remember when this book came out, or shortly after. A group of girls in my class and I decided we needed to do this project. We asked our teacher and even the principal. The boys even got in on it. We were lame, lame little kids.

Juliet said...

yeah seriously, wouldn't the eggs start to smell after a few days of being toted around by sweaty barely teenagers

LaLa said...

According to Wiki:

"The Baby-sitters Club is a series of children's books, written by Ann M. Martin and published by Scholastic between 1986-2000. Many of the books were ghostwritten, including 43 by Peter Lerangis. However, Ann Martin wrote the first 35 books."

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but she would occasionally write a book past that if it dealt with a special issue or something.

I think they take the infant care class in Kristy and the Baby Parade. What a piece of crap THAT book is.

I always liked 2 Many Babies, it's great for laughs. I especially like the part where MA and Logan take their "baby" to the movies. Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I thought that everyone was just kidding when they were talking about the ghostwriter...

My world is totally crashing around me right now.

well, not really.

midwesterner in dc said...

so this is maybe not what i should choose to focus on out of your ALWAYS enjoyable reviews - but its so easy to tell when people are wearing stirrup stretch pants as opposed to footless! even if they have boots. stirruped leggings, especially the kind that were so very very prevalent during this time period (and yes, i know because i was guilty of sporting them), pull funny at the bottom. if that makes any sense at all. the way the line would go from your hip to your ankle area looks different in stirrups.

unless claud had on the more modern, ballerina like ones that are totally form fitting. but that was not how things were done in the early 90s! unless maybe you were jessi (or quint?) coming from dance class.

love love love this blog. rock on.

veronica said...

I remember when I first read this book years and years ago, and when Miles McRandom-kid (Who? Was he ever mentioned again?!) made that comment about sex, I was so surprised. Still am, now that I think about it. Although back then was a more embarassed surprise; now, it's like you said, Tiff...the only realistic part of the book!

I remember vividly the description of Kristy and Alan's egg's box. Didn't they make a juxebox for it? And I remember Stacey's egg was carried around in a mixing bowl..heheh.

Why do I still know all of this?!

lilysela said...

aaah ANM mentioned SEX! I didnt even think she knew what sex was, or if she did, she never acknowledged that yes people do have sex, yes even people in Stoneybrook!

And as if no one would make a remark that thoe 4 boys were gay (oh but then again, this IS stoneybrook we're talking about, no gays there, *cough*Kristy*cough*) I'm surprised Logan didnt offer to swap with one of those guys heh heh.

PoBaL said...

Isn't it more realistic that Logan and MA would be fighting because he likes dick and she doesn't have one?
For awhile, everyone did the egg and/or flour baby plotline. There's a few other crap teen novels, a Saved by the Bell...
And I always spelled it "integrious".

Anonymous said...

Katie - you're right, Kristy did have a co-CIT named Izzy!

I did the egg baby a senior in high school, though. And we HAD to put our eggs in the fridge at night, and keep them in something during the day that would keep them safe. It was silly, but not so dumb that we took them to movies or to baby-sit or anything.

Sarah said...

Ooh, the eggs from Buffy would have really spiced up this plot.

Annie said...

LOL! I just loved how NOBODY would even THINK of just leaving their egg at, who would know? Even the most oblivious adolescent knows the sorts of things the teacher wants to hear; it wouldn't be all that hard to write the paper even without the stupid egg-lugging all over creation...

Anonymous said...

miss martin's "inadvertent" support of gay marriage may not have been so inadvertent. many don't realize it, but ann m martin is in fact a lesbian.

Anonymous said...

I think they took the baby class in the one where that family with the bratty kid (something with a P) had another baby. I think Mrs. P would not let them babysit the new baby until they took the class.

Stephanie said...

um, yeah, being a vegetarian ain't cheap. i've got friends who are (not me, i like my dead animals), and it costs them a ton of money. yeah. i don't get it.

Amanda said...

Kristy and the Baby Parade, I think, might be it...I agree! :)
PLEASE do that one. I have to hear about "on the good ship lollipop" and jenny prezzioso (?) again.
On second thought, I may remember altogether too much from that one already...


Anonymous said...

I echo that as well that being a vegetarian is hella expensive. If I weren't a vegetarian I could have had the $2.99 subway special for lunch but instead I had to get the $5 tofu burrito.
Also, I always though ANM was a lesbian. Always just sort of assumed in my head anyway. No idea why.

Anonymous said...

I bet Dawn hates people who say "hella". This just occured to me. She's probably too stuck in her soCal-ness and laughs every time someone from norCal says "hella" (like me, or the person above me). /random.

Anonymous said...

Anyone here do a class in school where you get a doll that cries and you stick a key in the back? They have newer ones where you can feed, burp, rock the baby to sleep, but I had the key version (because I am lazy).

Most of the girls in my class took the little computer box (yeah, very technical) out of the back of the baby so it would be easier to put the key in. Plus, you wouldn't have to lug around a doll.

When I read that book, I wondered why they never took the easy way out. I mean, it's not a real baby, just leave it in a fridge.

Also, loving the angry re-caps.


Anonymous said...

maybe this is why we hate Karen so much....

check out #24

Anonymous said...

Re: the lesbian issue, she probably is...didn't ANM go to Smith? :D

bel said...

Ooh, I reread Kristy and the Baby Parade recently and I decided I really want you to blog it! It has a claudia-outfit that prompts Jamie Newton to ask for help with his halloween costume.

bibberly said...

Oh man, we did the egg project in eighth grade, and some of my friends actually reported me to the teacher because I didn't feed my "baby" with a spoon at lunch like they did. That wasn't required (although naming it and keeping an hourly log was) - they just did it because we were a bunch of nerds.
Oh, and our eggs didn't smell because our teacher drilled a small hole and took all of the insides out. That makes the eggs easier to break, yet cuts down on the mess that the class a year ahead of us had made in the hallways.
This book's final line sounds like something from Full House. I can see a young Stephanie or D.J. saying that to Danny, who would then probably hug her while the audience went, "Awwww."

Anonymous said...

Didn't "Girl Talk" do a book about eggs as babies? And "hip" Randy Zak from NYC got stuck with the rich-mamas-boy-having-trouble-at-home kid? I remember Alison kept her egg baby in a papoose thing (cause she's Chippewa, remember - all Chippewans use papooses all the time).

We did this project in sixth grade, but for us they were little sacks of flour. We got to give them faces and hair and decorations with markers and stuff. I don't remember whether we partnered up or not, but I remembered we had great fun doing it. Maybe that was because my friends and I were geeks.

amanda said...

Didn't they take an infant care class when those high school kids started up their own version of the BSC? The book where Kristy came up with the "kid kits" (which, incidentally, I always thought it would be cool to make one for myself for when I babysat, but then I realized that I didn't want to lug around a giant box full of board games and crap). Is that Kristy and the Baby Parade? I don't remember that one.

Anonymous said...

amanda, that's The Truth About Stacey. They don't take a class in that one.

In the graphic novel version of it the Kid-Kits are really cute!

Anonymous said...

I always imagined a Kid Kid to be a pink shoebox, with some books and pencils in them.

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, I always imagined Kid Kits to be a little like Mary Poppins bag....little things that anything could come out of. In reality, they must have been huge to have everything the BSC lugged around. And they rode their bikes or walked to jobs? Yeah, right.

espiel1 said...

omg to whoever mentioned girl talk books. all these pre-teen memories just came flooding back to me. I loved those books.. as well as the ones called sleepover friends i think? i swear i think i have more memories from ridiculous book series than i do my own childhood.

Anonymous said...

Sleepover Friends rocked!!! But I always found it so unbelieveable that they were allowed to sleepover EVERY friday when they were 4th grade little girls!!! And, they rode their bikes all over town at such a young age!!! I mean, when you are in the 4th grade, you are what - 8 or 9 years old? Weren't the parents afraid they'd be grabbed by creepy pedophiles? Or is this my own paranoid childhood manifesting itself in this rant?

amanda said...

Aaagggghhh!! I loved Sleepover Friends! And yes, I have more book memories than real ones.

That's the thing that always bothered me about the Kid Kits - they sounded cute and fun, and something portable like a shoe box. But there's no way in hell Monopoly is fitting in a shoe box! And who would lug that around? Well, I dont remember Kristy and the Baby Parade but I must have read it, I do remember them taking the infant care class - and the mother who's child is crying and no one knows why - wasn't it a dirty diaper? Like, the first thing you normally check for? I remember thinking they were morons - I may have only been 8 at the time, but I knew that!

Delupina said...

I wanted to do the egg project REALLY bad when I was a kid . . . yeah, I was a dork.

I also owned a lot of possibly black stretch pants, so at least I was a BSC dork

Anonymous said...

24. Ann loved writing about Karen, Kristy's little sister. She thinks that Karen is her alter ego, the kind of girl she wished she could have been at the same age.

(check Rebecca's comment)

Anonymous said...

why do you think AMM is gay? Isn't she married? Or at least got children or something???
Actually, in phot's, she's always portrayed with her dog. Never with family. So, maybe...

Jessica said...

As Xander said: "And teach it Christian values!"

So they smashed all the eggs. Good call.

glittergirley said...

Why didnt they hire each other as babysitters for their eggs? so that they wouldnt have to bring the eggs to the movies or the park etc? IDIOTS! you're a member of THE BABY SITTERS CLUB. get yourself some baby sitters.

Alice said...

Mary Anne's face on the cover is super wrong. Also, when I was reading I thought "Oh, we all eat normal, and Dawn eats like a fucking freak!" was a line from the book for a second. And I was like, "Wait a minute... I don't remember them dropping the f-bomb in these books!" Because I am tired.

Anonymous said...

The constant "Oooooooh babies!" thing was always kind of creepy to me. I mean, they're thirteen! I understand if someone thinks babies are cute, but seriously, their obsession is deinitely not normal.

I never really cared for Logan. He always bored me. Even when I was in fifth grade I thought he was not much like a 13 year old boy. I just thought I was delusional. Nope. I was right.

bazu said...

"my uterus threatens to perform a self-hysterectomy at the thought of birthin' one."

thank you. just, thank you.

I'm beginning to think, after reading your blog from beginning to now, that reading the BSC and the heavy-handed baby crapulence is part of why I refuse to have kids now.

Stacey said...

I remember reading this book and thinking about how COOL it would be to do the baby egg thing. And then I had to do it. (Sadly, in 5th grade they made us all be single mothers/fathers.)The only things I distinctly remember were dressing mine up in clothes from my Barbie dolls (I kid you not) and the awkward boy in our class tripping and dropping his down a flight of stairs. ANM should've written about that.

Anonymous said...

Mary Anne looks pug fugly in that cover and they use that picture in the second edition book covers which is worse.

orental said...

i always imagined the Kid-Kit as a white first-aid kit thing except minus the red cross and then they just decorated it.


if i had the egg project i would have ignored the egg and made up the report. its that easy.

Melissa said...

They are supposed to do this project in high school not jr high or whatever grade their in.

ANd they thought hovering the egg around was hardm my class had to use some special doll that my teacher order. it would start to cry at any random time.

I thankfully didnt need to do this becuase I have a heart condition I was exscused from the project.