Sunday, August 05, 2007

I adore being in charge; or, BSC #24: Kristy and the Mother's Day Surprise

This book really should've been called "Kristy and the Mom Jeans." Cause check these babies out:

Plus, she looks like she's wearing tons of blush. All the little kiddies look a little crazy.

The gist: The BSC, in their complete lack of wisdom, decide to take a small army of children for a day as a special Mother's Day gift for a bunch of Stoneybrook moms, including a few of their own. See, it all starts cause they're all (except poor, poor Mary Anne) stumped for Mom's Day presents. So, they coordinate with Stoneybrook's perfect fathers to arrange a shindig for the day before Mother's Day...Dad's drop off kids & lunches at Claud's. BSC-ers (+Stacey, who comes to visit JUST TO HELP WITH THIS THING!!!!) and kids then head off to Sudsy's Carnival (which is in a local parking lot) until lunch. Then Mr. Kishi & the Mimi bring all the lunches to the playground where all the kiddies and sitters eat and play for a little while. Then they all go to Claudia's backyard for stories and crafty goodness.

Oh, and Watson and Elizabeth keep talking about another brother or sister. All the Watson-Brewer clan think that Lizzie's knocked up. But, in the real Mother's Day surprise [gag me gently with a chainsaw], they adopted a Vietnamese baby! A two-year-old! And they'll name her Emily Michelle! And they don't even have to go to Vietnam to pick her up! Ah, happy ending.

[I don't get why they adopted a Vietnamese baby, specifically. It seems a little overly complicated. Like, why not just any baby? Why not a Chinese girl? This book was written 14 years after the end of the Vietnam War, so it's not even like she could've been a war baby. And I know there were refugees from Vietnam into the mid-80s, but...I don't know. Again, it just seems so needlessly specific. It is a book for pre-teens anyway, they wouldn't know how hard it would be to adopt any baby, why not just have a orphan from Stamford? Anyway...enough of me trying to fathom out ANM's lack of logic...]

Insanity checklist:

  • Worst opening line ever? "I've been thinking about families lately, wondering what makes one." Way to smack us in the face with the moral of the story before it's even been told.

  • Also, "Nannie, Mom's mother, lives all by herself. But I still think of her as a family--a one-person family...I guess." Um, she's a part of your family, dumbass. Families don't have to live in the same house. In fact, they often don't. When Charlie goes away to college, is he out of the fam? Cause that's weak.

  • Dawn's tan in the summer, freckly the rest of the year. Also known as skin cancer in the making.

  • "And her clothes are casual and as individualistic as she is. She likes to wear layers of things--a short tank top over a long tank top, or socks over tights. Dawn is pretty cool." Damn, I'm going to have to stop layering now. Except mine's mainly functional. Plus, that doesn't seem particularly different from how any of the other BSCers dress. So, perhaps not terribly individualistic after all?

  • "And then there's my real father...But no, he doesn't count. Somebody who never writes, never calls, never remembers your birthday, never says he loves you, doesn't count at all." Gotta love when Kristy gets heavy like this. And why is she this bitter only when it serves to further the plot? Huh?

  • No, Kristy, a visor doesn't make you look like you're in charge. It makes you look like you have a summer job at an off-track betting establishment.

  • I love how they always have to add how nice Stacey is, like it's crazy rare to be both sophisticated and nice. Especially when it seems like the only sophisticated person they've ever met is Stacey.

  • Blah, comparing the BSC to family. Blah, they're really different but they do nice things for each other. Blah. Thank you, Captain Obvious, for telling me what to think.

  • Mother's Day is very awkward for Mary Anne. Did you know she doesn't have a mom? Also, her "best friend" Kristy forgets about that until somebody starts saying something about Mom's Day and Mary Anne gets all weird. I guess she's just not a sensitive as M.A. [Also, this whole thing seems really forced. While I see the point of including this, it's just awkward.]

  • Apparently, Charlie has quite the way with the ladies.

  • Oh, I hated that whole "Your epidermis is showing" joke.

  • ANM always included these songs that I had never heard of.  Anyone else?

  • Elizabeth had Charlie right after she graduated from college. That took some planning, I'm sure.

  • I seriously, seriously doubt that a 17-year-old, a 15-year-old and a 13-year-old would be soooo fucking cool with the idea of their mom getting preggers. Not least of all because that would be physical evidence of their mother having sex. And the little kids are all anti-baby. I think maybe she got it backwards. Cause I really doubt the teenagers would be so chillaxed about the whole deal.

  • Also, I don't care if you love babies, Kristy. You don't want one "in [your] house, twenty-four hours a day."

  • Part of Kristy's logic for the big Mother's Day gift? "And I thought, what would a mom like more than anything else? Then the answer came to me--not to be a mom for a while." She gets that, but she doesn't get why she might not want a fucking baby around the house?

  • Oooh, outfits! "Mallory, with her new short haircut, was sitting on the floor, leaning against Claud's bed. She was wearing jeans with zippers up the bottoms of the legs, and a sweat shirt that said STONEYBROOK MIDDLE SCHOOL across the front. In her new pierced ears were tiny gold hoops." Nice...I'm totally picturing acid-washed jeans. And that's a really grown-up sweatshirt, Mal. Just sayin'.

  • "Jessi was wearing matching hoops (I think she and Mal had gone shopping together), a purple dance leotard, and jeans. Over the leotard she was wearing a purple-and-white striped shirt, unbuttoned." Ah, remember when you and your best friend had to have matching shit?

  • We're not done yet..."Mary Anne's hair was pulled back in a ponytail and held in place with a black-and-white checkered bow that matched the short skirt she was wearing. Around her neck was a chain and dangling from it were gold letters that spelled out Mary Anne."

  • "Dawn was wearing a necklace, too, only hers said I'M AWESOME. [If you have to tell people you're awesome, YOU'RE REALLY FUCKING LAME!!!! Also, I'm totally reminded of that fake commercial on SNL where Will Ferrell's selling a hat that says "I'm #1" or something to that extent. Anyone remember what it said exactly? And wasn't there a necklace at the end that said something for women???] ... Also she was wearing a fairly tame dress, but on her feet were plaid high-top sneakers." Ooh, crazy. She's so unique.

  • "Then there was Claudia. She was wearing a pretty tame dress, too--with a red necktie! Then, she had on these new, very cool roll socks. When she pushed them down just right, they fell into three rolls. The top roll was red, the middle one was peacock blue, and the bottom one was purple. She looked as if she were wearing ice-cream cones on her feet. In her hair was a braided band in red, blue and purple, like her socks. And dangling from her ears were--get this--spiders in webs." My 10th grade English teacher would've bitchslapped ANM for using so much fucking passive sentence structure. Why not "She wore spiders in webs dangling from her ears?" The way she says it is so fucking boring and awkward.

  • Claud "babbysat" again. And "printinding" for pretending doesn't even make sense...I can kinda get behind transposing letters or spelling things phonetically. But making words that don't even look close to how they sound is just retarded.

  • I also hate how ANM tries to be all clever by making little kids screw up the words to songs. Always annoyed the piss out of me.

  • When M.A. suggests inviting Jenny Prezzioso, Kristy keeps saying, "Ew." The fuck? The most prissy-ass kid on the planet is hardly skeeving her out. I can understand a less than joyful reaction, but seriously, couldn't she think of anything better than ew?

  • I also have a really hard time believing that Stacey's super-psyched about her first trip back to the 'Brook is an unpaid sitting extravaganza. Also, her parents are cool with her not being in New York for most of Mother's Day?

  • Claud illustrates the invites, and it shows a harried mom and a relaxed mom. How dreadfully clever.

  • I agree with you Kristy. "The members of the Baby-sitters Club would like to give our special moms a special gift" is dead corny.

  • I know I uttered the phrase "he's gorgeous" when I was 13, but I don't really think a 13-year-old boy can really be gorgeous. Plus, either go out with Bart or don't, Kristy. This whole "we sort of like each other" thing is boring.

  • "A math test with an E on the top?" What the hell kind of grade is E? Is it some fake-y grade between D and F to make kids feel better about themselves while still failing?

  • They're taking care of 21 fucking kids of different ages for an entire day. They really are fucking crazy.

  • Actually, Jessi, I think it would be weirder if you knew Stacey and slept in her old bedroom.

  • Foreshadowing of the McGill divorce!!!

  • Stacey got a haircut: "I went to this really punk place and told the guy not to make it too punk." Why go to a punk place, then? Why not go somewhere sophisticated? Huh?

  • Wow, Claud hasn't made a new best friend since Stacey left, what, a few months ago? Shocking!

  • "I try hard not to be bossy, but after all, I am the president." Wow. Someone's a little full of herself.

  • Mal: "Dad loves little kid. Why do you think there are eight of us?" Tiff: "Cause your mom lost her diaphragm? She's never heard of the pill?"

  • To rememberize: "to remember something really well." Why does that need a special word? That's not what Urban Dictionary says it means, anyway.

  • More outfits? Yes, please! "Stacey, however, put on a tight-fitting pink jumpsuit over a white T-shirt, lacy white socks, and those plastic shoes. What are they called--jellies? And Claudia wore a pale blue baggy shirt over black and blue leopard-spotted pants that tied in neat [as in cool? or as in tidy?] knots at her ankles. On her feet she wore purple high-tops. And they both wore all this jewelry and these accessories, like big, big earrings, and headbands with rosettes on them, and nail polish. Claudia even wore her snake bracelet." Wow. Practical outfits for chasing small children around.

  • I hate the whole "Stacey can't stand the sight of barf" thing. Like anyone particularly likes looking at puke? I understand some people are pussies and run away rather than helping their drunk, puking friends, but it's not really something that needs to be explicitly stated.

  • Blah, let's turn Jackie R. into a walking joke again.

  • And more stupid public domain songs.

  • Claud helps the BSCers who don't have younger sibs to make personalized brooches for Mom's Day. Yay.

  • And Mary Anne decides to give her dad a Mother's Day gift (a book, because it's hard to buy for a man). I can't believe she never thought of that before.

  • Conveniently, Watson explains to Andrew what adoption is off-screen.

  • I have always remembered Dawn's weird made up lyrics to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

  • For some reason, the book changes to present tense when describing Emily. [Why is she Emily sometimes and Emily Michelle sometimes?] It's really fucking weird.

And that's that! Hoorah! It's done!

[Before the hate mail starts, I'm not making fun of Mary Anne's lack of a mother or the fact that some girls may have identified with her Mother's Day awkwardness. I'm just making fun of the way that ANM just kind of throws it in there but never really deals with it...See?]

Don't know what I'm doing for next week. We'll all have to be surprised, I guess...


Anonymous said...

*~The girl with colitis goes by...~*

Also, I don't think I've ever heard the song "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" in my life. And yet all these kids do, in every single book and in Little Sister. What gives?

Ali said...

I'm surprised a book from Kristy's POV would have so many outfits in it! I wouldn't think she'd notice them.

And wow, I can't believe there is actual foreshadowing in this book. Maybe AMM is improving somewhat.

I also remember wondering why MaryAnne hadn't thought to get her dad something for mother's day, and if this was the first year she'd ever done so.

Bre said...

I don't know why, but for some reason Emily Michelle stands out very strongly in my my memory of the BSC.... I was wondering when she'd make her appearance here! :)

Anonymous said...

I had to sing Big Rock Candy Mountain in my elementary school music class. Don't remember any of the words though.

In one of those portrait books, MA talks about doing something with her Dad on mother's day....or for a mother's breakfast at school. So, yeah, weird that they would act like this is the first time.

Anonymous said...

An E is a grade some elementary schools give. It's equivalent to an A. My school's grading system was like:
E = Excellent (A)
VS = Very Satisfactory (B)
S = Satisfactory (C)
N = Needs Improvement (D)

I forgot what letter they used for a failing grade.. I know once you got to 4th grade, you switched to the A, B, C, D, F system of grades.

Anonymous said...

We had E's for failing grades in high school, not F's. I thought it was weird when I went to college and there actually were F's. I thought that F's were only in books and movies.

Anonymous said...

"She wore spiders in webs dangling from her ears"

I think that's a lot more awkward than the original sentence.
Just sayin'.

Also the tense change was probably a mistake that the copyeditor didn't catch. Arggg I work all day changing everything to past tense at my job.

I was really confused by the E thing, too. I remember that I asked my mom about it.
But it was in a different BSC book... Since Kristy was my least favorite character (too boring) and I always skipped her books.

djaye612 said...

I love how I can't remember what I learned three days ago in class, but I completely remember trying to imagine Claudia's ice cream cone socks (I still can't picture them) and the stupid Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds lyrics. Also, when spelling the word 'separate', a little Karen Brewer appears on my shoulder and tells me that 'there's a rat in separate'. I guess thanks to years of having books for friends..

PS - Does it bother anyone else that the BSC members never seem to speak in contractions? That used to drive me insane.

Caitlin said...

I don't remember this book, but I'm surprised ANM picked "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" as the lyrics to sing in one of the stories. Does this mean she accepts the use of acid? Because, really, just using that song in any context pretty much promotes it. Don't get me wrong, it's one of my favorite songs, but (a) what 12-year-old in 1994 is going to know what that song is and (b) IT'S OBVIOUSLY A DRUGGIE TUNE. Not that there's Beatles songs that don't involve drugs. Maybe ANM was making a tribute to her college days, because she obviously had to abuse some kind of substance to write all this bullshit for years.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, in Mary Anne's Portrait book, a whole freaking section is devoted to making a big deal out of Mary Anne freaking out because there's a Mother's Day brunch at her school and she doesn't know whether to invite Mimi or her own father, and she ends up inviting them both. Way to be consistant ghostwriters!

boo! said...

Mal's comment about her dad is kinda creepy if you take it the wrong way... (and I creeped myself out just thinking about that)

Celia said...

i live with my adopted father, and i always get him a mother's day present. but never something lame. like a book. he has enough of those. i got him a nerf gun this year :D

Kimberly said...

I always hated Emily Michelle because she made the "here's my CRAZY family" part of Kristy's intro so much longer (since we had to hear about both her and Nannie).

Shouldn't it have taken longer for them to adopt, anyway? I guess Watson used his many millions to speed up the process.

megan said...

How come when Mal gets a haircut, they don't all get mad at her, like they did with Mary Anne?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they didn't care as much since she's Mallory. Nobody cares about Mallory :P

Anonymous said...

I STILL don't get what the deal is with those ice cream socks? how does that work??? Even when I was seven years old, I understood that ANM had to be the biggest loser on earth to come up with Claudia's outfits.

Phyllis said...

"A math test with an E on the top?" What the hell kind of grade is E? Is it some fake-y grade between D and F to make kids feel better about themselves while still failing?

I don't know, the school system I came up in had E for failing. Maybe they just didn't want to skip letters.

Mal: "Dad loves little kid. Why do you think there are eight of us?" Tiff: "Cause your mom lost her diaphragm? She's never heard of the pill?"

'Cause the Pikes are friends with the Duggars?

Anonymous said...

Actually, my school just introduced the whole "E for failing" this year.

And yeah, it's supposed to make the kids feel better about failing, even though it still means that you failed.

I don't see how it's any better, it's just stupid.

When I was in primary school, E was for Excellent.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I totally remember this book.

Did these girls really enjoy hanging around little kids all the time?

Anonymous said...

I think Claud's mom must have been really patient to be doing all of that damn laundry from her layers and button-up shirts and whatnot. My mom would have complained to high heaven about that fussy stuff. And who was buying it all? Surely the $3 left after BSC dues was not enough.

Jessica Wakefield said...

Claud and Stacey dress like baby prostitutes or mental patients. I can't decide.

Anonymous said...

I hated this book so much. I really think I read it once. I read almost every book at least 10 times, even the ones I didn't like that much (Mallory and the Trouble With Twins, anyone?), but I always skipped this one. Why did ANM think we wanted to babysit vicariously through reading? I certainly didn't, and the all baby-sitting books (Dawn and the Big Stupid Sleepover or Whatever) were super-boring.

Anonymous said...

I had E's instead of F's at my middle and high school. I'm not sure *why* they did that...kind of weird now that I think about it.

Anonymous said...

I totally watched The Babysitters Club movie this weekend for old times sake. I had forgotten that Alex Mac played Dawn...what's her name, Larissa Olienik or something? Or that Sissy Spasek's daugther played Kristy. It's amazing how much can change in 12 years. God, I remember wearing those dress jumpers with those thigh high lace-top stockings...such a slutty look for teenagers. I'm surprised my mother let me out of the house in that stuff. <3 Jennifer

colleenn said...

I think my high school may have done both E's and F's.... If I remember correctly, an E was sort of like a "better" failure than an F. Like an E was a numerical grade of maybe 50-59 but an F was 49 or below.

Was "Big Rock Candy Mountain" the song in that 70s Easter special from I think Rankin Bass where an orphan bunny shows up in this town populated solely by children and ends up becoming the Easter Bunny? And this random homeless guy shows up and the kids make jellybeans with him and he sings about the big rock candy mountain (something about "buzzing of the bees in the peppermint trees and something-something soda fountain"?). I used to always wonder what would happen when the kids in that village grew up... would they be kicked out of town and shunned forever when they turned a certain age? hehe.. it made me sad. Anyway, anyone know what I'm talking about? That was always the song I pictured here, but I don't know if it's the one ANM was referring to.

Anonymous said...

An I'M AWESOME necklace? My my my, is Dawn full of herself.

I've never heard of "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" before.

I was always annoyed when ANM would mention Emily Michelle. Why is it always Vietnamese children? In her other book, Yours Turly, Shirley, there was a Vietnamese kid too.

I never got E's in school...but I've read a book before in which a character received an E for Excellent. From grades one to three, O was for Outstanding, V was for Very Good, S was for Satisfactory and N was for Needs to Improve.
All that stopped when I entered fourth grade.

Alexis said...

Those of you who have never heard "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" - have you never seen "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Anonymous said...

I went to ohio state for undergrad, and we most definitely had E's as a failing grade, instead of F's (never understood why, though)

Anonymous said...

Nobody got mad at Mal for a haircut because they made a club event out of her getting it. She and Jessi both asked permission for makeovers on the same day, and then everyone went together. And everyone got their ears pierced too....Dawn got two holes (because she is an individual) and Claud got a second hole in one ear. It was in that book that introduced the Arnold Twins. Don't ask how I remember all this.

In my HS, E meant excused. Like, if you broke your leg you got an E in gym because you were excused from taking it.

Melanie said...

Was "Big Rock Candy Mountain" the song in that 70s Easter special from I think Rankin Bass where an orphan bunny shows up in this town populated solely by children and ends up becoming the Easter Bunny?

YES! It totally was. In my house, we STILL watch that special every Easter...and I kind of don't mind :)

Annie said...

The whole Emily Michelle thing always intrigued me since I was obsessed with adoption (and still am, actually -- my partner and I hope to adopt our children eventually from the US foster care system). Even at 10 years old, I knew there was NO WAY their parents could just spring this on their children this late in the adoption process. Countries don't just hand over babies willy nilly -- there would have to be a homestudy, during which the social worker would be required to interview each of the children currently in the home. I know ANM isn't all about being realistic, but ... seriously?

Anonymous said...

oh wow, "the girl with colitis goes by" ... those are still the lyrics that I think in my head whenever I hear that song ... which isn't very often.

~Ashley Joy~ said...

The equivalent to an F was the U, which stood for unsatisfactory. I bet Claudia received tons of those!

Anonymous said...

Hey Tiff-

It's me, Emily, your #1 fan and an avid reader of your blog, Claudia's Room. Because of you, reading BSC will never be the same for me. I will always think about how stupid it is that the books open the same way, mock their clothing choices, and shake my head at ANM's complete inability to structure sentences in a way that a 7th grade English teacher would even remotely pass. You often make me laugh at work, staring at the computer, which is awkward because I know not all people share the same love of the BSC, but your dead on observations about the intricacies of the book are just too hilarious to pass up. I DO agree that it is crazytown how much these girls like kids, and how they never call their parents into help with, oh, I don't know, potential criminal activity. I love outfit time, and when you call Mallory's SMS sweatshirt "grown up" in a sarcastic manner, I am thinking the SAME THING!!! Long story short, let's have a slumber party in a library, where all the BSC books are located, and we can work our way through them (and the super specials, including my favorite one, Camp Mohawk...or Shadow Lake, kind of a toss up! <3 when Sam & Stace get it together!) Maybe when we're done, we can do Sweet Valley, because there is a ton of crazy shit in those books.

BSC 4Eva-

Anonymous said...

About the Mother's Day inconsistences in this book and Mary Anne's portrait book - the portrait was obviously written years after Mother's Day Surprise so of course those darned ghostwriters weren't going to get it right. Heck, in all the portraits, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Kristy supposedly hung out together ALL the time when they were little kids, when it's stated in Kristy's Great Idea that Kristy and Mary Anne were best friends but didn't really hang out with Claudia much at all. Thus the awkwardness in that book when they first ask her to form a club with them...

Anonymous said...

Emily was probably bought off the black market.

Stephanie said...

i don't think ANM knew anything about adoption. in this book, and in Yours Turly, Shirley, which also addresses adoption, both times the parents just spring the announcement on the kid(s), and don't understand why they have such a difficult time adjusting. the adoption process is also portrayed as being extremely fast and easy to get through.

although i do think Watson probably used his money to get on the fast-track, a la Angelina Jolie.

but yeah. in later books, Karen is portrayed as a brat for having a difficult time adjusting to Emily Michelle. while i'm totally not a Karen fan, i could sympathize with her there - seriously, with a biological child, you usually get about 7-8 months notice. here, though, it was, "Surprise! We're adopting a two year old! Let's all live happily ever after!"

yeahhh. no.

andrea said...

Dude, my Catholic grade school gave E's. I don't know why they couldn't go that one letter further, but that's how it was.

I never got the whole call-people-by-their-first-and-middle-name thing. I've never met anyone who did that unless their name was Mary Jo or something else short and simple. David Micheal and Emily Michelle don't just roll off the tongue.

Nicole said...

Big Rock Candy Mountain is an old hobo song. The cleaned up version is on one of my daughter's CDs of little kid songs. I just found out it actually has a Wikipedia entry and it was indeed used in that Easter special a few people mentioned. who knew.

Jess Wakefield said...

On the covers, the BSC always looked so...unwashed.

kiwimusume said...

I never read this book, but I saw it in shops and I always thought that they adopted Emily as a Mother's Day surprise for Kristy's mum.

And I totally agree with what you said about having a baby in the house 24/7. The years my siblings were born meant that I had siblings under 5 from when I was 4 right up until I was 17, and one thing I learnt very quickly is that it's not all cute moments. You've also got to deal with the baby waking up at night, your mum being cranky because the baby kept her up all night, having to be quiet for several hours because the baby has to nap, tantrums, more crankiness from your mum because she's stressed out with the tantrums, having to try and get your tantruming sibling to shut the fuck up, getting yelled at when you don't succeed, having to listen to stupid fucking baby songs over and over again (I can now fully understand why stupid songs are rumoured to be used to get criminals to come out of a building), having to help your mum assemble enough crap for a week's holiday every time the family leaves the house, having to help your mum change poopy nappies...feel free to stop me any time now. I never really connected that with the bitches in the book, though. I just figured that since they were insane enough to want to spend all their time babysitting and bring half the neighbourhood's kids to all their parties, a baby sibling of their own would be right up their alley, and all the accompanying crap would just be one big bundle o' fun for them.

And since we're comparing grade systems here, E featured in both the old NZ system and the new one, but in different ways. The old system was A to E, with D and E both being failing grades. The new (apparently crock of shit) system goes A (Achieved), M (Achieved with Merit) and E (Achieved with Excellence.) I don't remember what they did for primary school report cards.

And oh God, Dawn's necklace suits her personality so perfectly!! "Look at me, I'm so cool and individ-u-ell!"

@boo! - Oh God. DO. NOT. WANT.

Miriam (a.k.a Poppy Feilds) said...

Even though Kristy is my favourite, this book plus the one about the baby parade are probably the worst books in the series. Oh, and “Dawn saves the planet” *gags*.

I’m from NZ too. I don’t remember having E’s though. A D was a fail at school and it is at Uni too. A = Excellent, B = Good, C = Satisfactory and D = Needs attention. So yeah technically you didn’t fail, you just “needed attention". Now they have NCEA which I am so thankful I was the last year to do Bursary (even though Sixth Form Certificate SUCKED!) because NCEA makes no sense to me, and I don’t think the students sitting it understand it that well either. But from what I can gather from my brother and sister who are both sitting it, it is really easy to pass….I’m confused. Oh, and you forgot ‘N’ for ‘Not Achieved’.

lisa said...

Alexis, you mentioned "O Brother Where Art Thou" - I love that movie. Ha. And yes, now I have The Big Rock Candy Mountain stuck in my head.

Michelle said...

In my elementary school we had E for excellent, G for good, S for satisfactory, N for needs improvement, and U for unsatisfactory. Love the review--This blog always cracks me up!

kiwimusume said...

@Miriam: E was the grade on School C & Bursary for people who got less than like 25% or 30%, remember?

And NCEA...oh, God. Where do I start? The school(s?) that figured out a massive loophole and proceeded to cheat the shit out of the system? The people whose uni admissions were put in danger because NZQA cocked up their results? Or that chick on the news who said "I got an Achieved in Computing. I have never taken a computing class in my life."? God DAMN am I glad I missed that!!

And huh, you were in the last year to do School C? So was my friend!!

Ellen K. said...

One of the many perfections of Stoneybrook is that all generations have the same taste in music. Or, rather, ANM's taste. At least the musical references in this book weren't Andrews Sisters songs, for a change.

Anonymous said...

Ditto the not getting the two names trend that seemed to prevail in the Thomas-Brewer household. Emily Michelle sounds like somethign I'd rename my Cabbage Patch doll.

And as a mother to a toddler, I would be all over my husband if he wussed out on my Mother's Day present by pawning our child off on a bunch of tween babysitters for the day. Lame, lame, lame.

Annabelle said...

We had E as the failing grade in middle/high school. F never made sense to me because E comes after D.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of babies, there is one book where Mary Anne or Dawn start talking about how if there parents had a baby , Sharon would only have to do 1/3 the work of most mothers....because MA and Dawn could help. As if 13-year-olds were going to get up in the middle of the night to breast feed.

The two names thing.....I know people who did that when they were younger, when they had the same names as a parent. So, instead of John Jr, it would be John Michael or something. But I don't know why the Thomas kids had to do it, cause Emily and David Michael weren't named after anyone.

Anonymous said...

i live in south carolina and always thought the two names was a predominantly southern thing. either that or a nun thing. for instance, i know a nancy jill and a sarah anne. definetly cabbage patch doll names.

Cathryn said...

I got an E once in fifth grade, for a book report presentation that I totally screwed up. (We were supposed to do it in character as one of the characters in the book, which freaked my shy self right the hell out. And yes, my favorite BSCer was Mary Anne. No coincidence, that.) I never thought about it much, but yeah, I think it was a sympathy grade in place of an F. My teacher knew I was a big reader and could no doubt tell how nervous I was, so she probably gave me the E because an F would have been, I don't know, mean, or an inaccurate representation of how much reading I really did, or something. Which sounds lame, but I find it acceptable enough for fifth grade; any older and I'd be sitting here going, "WTF?"

Anonymous said...

please please please find "graduation day" and review that. i've been looking online forever for a copy of that book. the cheapest i can find it for is 53 bucks.

lilysela said...

like kiwimusume said, I always thought they adopted Emily Michelle as a mothers day present for Elizabeth as well!

maybe David Michael and Emily Michelle could be their first names and they have middle names as well? Occasionally they'll call Emily Michelle Emily but they've never called David Michael David, like if they called him David you wouldnt even have any idea who they were talking about!

oh and to anon. @ 2.44pm. I got that book for 20c at a thrift shop the other day! But trust me you wouldnt want to read it, it's horrible horrible horrible brain numbingly out-of-character contradictory to everything we ever read in the 131+ babysitters club books! IT WAS AWFUL! More awful than all the other friends forever books smushed into one!

Jess said...

Speaking of improbable adoption scenarios, if you've never done the one where Claudia comes up with the cracked-out theory that she was adopted and her parents never told her...well, it would be apropos, is all I'm saying. It brings Claudia to new levels of idiocy.

Rebecita said...

Heh, clearly all those of you ignorant of Big Rock Candy Mountain didn't grow up with Riders in the Sky. But AMM was always super obnoxious about only including classic songs and movies and whatnot (at least the ones that weren't made up). I mean, sure, I used to break out my parent's woodstock record, but I also watched Disney movies, damnit!
(Also, my university had both E and F, which were respectively described as "failure" and "bad failure." I shit you not.)

Anonymous said...

Ditto on ANM's weird ass songs. Even was I was little, I knew she must have been more than a little bit lame.

Anonymous said...

In elementary school, our grades were E (Excellent) S (Satisfactory, and one could receive S+, S, or S-), or N (Not satisfactory). I remember being so excited to be in sixth grade, because then we got "real" grades (A-F).

Jen said...

By far one of the most annoying things about the way AMM writes is: "On her feet, she wore..." Like we wouldn't know that socks/sneakers/boots go on your feet. Or that earrings go, amazingly, in your ears. Belated suggestion: less prepositional phrases, more plot. Thanks!

Katharine said...

I loved this one, probably because it had a lot of outfits in it.

Main memories: the girl with colitis makes no sense, "colitis: 3 syllables. Kaleidoscope eyes: 5 syllables. Dawn: moron"

I also remember that for mothers day, Becca Ramsey gave the mom a bag of Hershey Kisses then ate them herself. For some reason, I remember that that little detail really offended my eight-year-old sense of morality.

bellatrix lestrange said...

My school district does both E's and F's, which never made sense to me . . . I always thought:

A: Awesome
B: Could Be Better
C: . . . Average. The alliteration doesn't work here.
D: Dunce
F: Failure

I was 8, forgive my idiotcy...

Anonymous said...

I actually went to a college where they did give out the grade "E" instead of an "F" if you failed...AND, it was because they didn't want to burden us students with the stigma attached to getting an "F"...So, your comment about the "E" made me laugh because I remember how ridiculous the E was....btw...LOVE your blog

kiwimusume said...


let's have a slumber party in a library, where all the BSC books are located, and we can work our way through them

I'd come! :D

Amanda said...

I'd totally come to your slumber party, too!

Miriam (a.k.a Poppy Feilds) said...

Hi Kiwimusume, I don’t remember E's in bursary...probably too concerned with not getting a D...yeah I was the last year to do School C, which was ok, but Sixth Form Certificate I got Claudia worthy grades, I must admit the NCEA kids are lucky they don’t have to sit it. Bursary was alright though, except I was seven points away from getting an A bursary :S, and the only reason I didn’t was because my art history mark got scaled down FOURTEEN PERCENT! Yes, four years later I am still bitter about it ok?

On a different note, I was just looking up baby names and I came across ‘Mallory’, and surprise surprise guess what it means? “Unfortunate, unhappy, unlucky.” I think ANM created this character simply just to abuse her….

Anonymous said...

Actually, Katharine: the girl with colitis goes by/the girl with the kaleidoscope eyes... so there you are. Dawn is still a moron, however.

boo! said...

Inspired by Miriam and the meaning of Mallory, I looked up what Claudia means.

It means disabled or lame.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Sexy Sadie Stacey's pink jumpsuit outfit sounds *so* unsophisticated, like something a first-grader would wear.Kinda outta character for Stacey,huh? Also, your comment about Mrs.Pike not hearing of the Pill reminds me of Molly Weasley in Harry Potter. I always thouht that if she's a witch, shouldn't she have some magical form of birth control?

Anonymous said...

The two names thing is a southern thing I think. It's pretty common 'down here'. Maybe AMM is a southerner at heart :)...which allows me to excuse her lameness a bit

This book made me hate the word "sophisticated"...

Anonymous said...

What bugs me about Emily Michelle and David Michael is that Michelle is the French feminization of Micheal so in essence they gave the same name.

I used to love this book as a kid but even as a kid Emily's adoption puzzled me. I figured they had just bought her illegally or something though.

Has the one where Claudia thinks she's adopted been done yet?

kiwimusume said...

Hi Miriam!! :D

Ack, I forgot about that scaling! That sucked ass.

And I did pretty shittily on SFC too, though in my case it was the fact that the internal assessments meant I was supposed to actually work all year, rather than slacking off for 90% of the year then cramming like crazy for the final exam like I got to do in SC and Bursary. ^_^;;

Where in NZ are you from, anyway?

So, Mallory means “Unfortunate, unhappy, unlucky” and Claudia means "disabled" or "lame". It'd be great if Stacey meant "Look at me, I'm soooo sophisticated!" and Dawn was actually some other language for "annoying, preachy bitch" but I guess I'm not that lucky...*sigh*

kiwimusume said...

Is it just me, or does Kristy look like she's using her left hand to hold her jeans up?

Miriam (a.k.a Poppy Feilds) said...

I am from Auckland, how about you?

Oh, and the scaling thing? I was mega pissed that my friends who didn’t study as hard as me (I finally decided I needed to work that year instead on slack off) got around the same grade because their marks were scaled up and mine were scaled down.

Hmmm, I am also the queen of procrastination…I have 4 assignments due next week and what am I doing? Sitting at my computer reading this.

I go to Auckland uni…did you hear about that lecturer?? I never had him because I don’t take politics, but I cannot believe he said those things. Even if he thought it were true, the way he went about it was all wrong. I think he deserved the sack.

Margie said...

Schools don't typically have both E and F grades, because E would be a less bad grade than F, and anyone with a pen can change an F to an E instantly. I've never heard of a school that had an E grade in the A B C D F form, but when I was in elementary school, we definitely had the E, S, NI, U system or whatever.

And I still to this day think of "the girl with colitis goes by" when I hear Lucy in the Sky.

kiwimusume said...

OMG, I'm from Auckland too!!! What part are you from? I'm from the North Shore. I went to AUT, because their Japanese course was the best out of all the universities I looked into. Graduated in '05 and I'm in Japan atm.

And, NO!! What lecturer?! *googles* The FUCK?! What an ASSHOLE! OK, maybe she was a slackass, but on the other hand maybe her dad was sick the whole term and that was why she was off her game. How the fuck is he to know? And even if she was genuinely slacking off, come the fuck on. The snideness of some of it was completely unnecessary. Let's professionalism, people! (Shit speller, too. "The worse performer in the class"? "Underquallified"? Claudia?)

Miriam (a.k.a Poppy Feilds) said...

ROFL, no kidding! I live on the north shore!!!

I used to go to AUT as well, I did my first year of a Bachelor in Art and Design for Fashion, but then I dropped it because I hated the environment-way too bitchy. I go to Auckland Uni now, and I’m doing a BA in Women’s Studies and English…haha, I know what you are thinking. Pretty weird huh? I don’t actually know what I want to do with it yet….anyways.

Yeah that dude is a jerk, and also he’s going on about her getting C plusses and its like, so what? That’s still a pass you moron….C’s get Degrees, DUH!

Ashe Romance said...

I was another who went to a college that had Es for failing grades. This was after living in a place that gave Fs, so I could not fathom why in the world they would use the E. Maybe it's a New England thing.

colleenn said...

"Schools don't typically have both E and F grades, because E would be a less bad grade than F, and anyone with a pen can change an F to an E instantly. I've never heard of a school that had an E grade in the A B C D F form, but when I was in elementary school, we definitely had the E, S, NI, U system or whatever."

I think our E's were only issued on report cards, which were printed pieces of paper, so you couldn't change the grade easily with a pen. For regular day-to-day assignments that the teachers would correct by hand, the standard A, B,C, D, F grades applied. Very weird now that I think back on it. I also had A-F in elementary school but then got like H (honors), S, or N in classes like gym, art, music, and religion (Catholic school). My brothers were 3 and 4 years younger than me though and I think they changed the grading by the time they were in elementary school so that the early grades couldn't get below a C, and A was like "excellent progress," B was "good progress," and C was like "needs improvement" or something.

kiwimusume said...

You know, I've never known what Womens Studies actually entails. What do you do?

he’s going on about her getting C plusses and its like, so what? That’s still a pass you moron…

Oh, but APPARENTLY she only got those out of the goodness of his heart. Yeah, right. If he fancies himself as Mr Candid now, he probably would have been straight up with her grades all along. I call bullshit.

Joey said...

I just discovered this blog. Thank you thank you thank you.

Oh, and "me too" on those "Lucy in the Sky" lyrics. Even now that my love of the Beatles has eclipsed my love of BSC, I still think of those Dawn lyrics...

Forest said...

ok, I had to leave a comment. A friend sent me the link to your site thinking I would appreciate your writing style. I do! I have ablsolutely NO interest in the Baby-Sitter's Club books, nor the very existance of the entity... but I read the entire thread of your blogs from August. You're pretty funny and its too bad you don't live in DC! :)

'Mione said...

"reminds me of Molly Weasley in Harry Potter. I always thouht that if she's a witch, shouldn't she have some magical form of birth control?"

I'm sure in HP there is some sort of magical birth control, but as the locket tells Ron in Hallows, she really wanted a daughter. I don't think there's a magical way to pick the sex of your baby, so she just kept trying until she got Ginny...

Trixie said...

Is it wrong that I had a massive crush on Sam growing up? A thinly drawn fictional character?

Ryan Michele said...

Re: "The girl with the colitis [going by]:"

Dawn, you are a hag. Colitis is no laughing matter.

Re: Stacey not being in New York (or, as ANM affectionately refers to it a LITTLE too often, 'The Big Apple,') Mother's Day:

Isn't it obvious that her folks need room to fight so that they can get a divorce in four books?

Does anyoje else picture a pre-divorce Mrs. McGill a little bit like Jackie Taylor pre second visit to Timber Hills Rehab? I would love it if Maureen had an issue with blow.

Anonymous said...

I always really identified with Stacey for the barfing thing. I had (and still do) a horrific fear of puking. So in my child mind, I thought it made like Stacey and sooo sophisticated.

Raine said...

No, Kristy, a visor doesn't make you look like you're in charge. It makes you look like you have a summer job at an off-track betting establishment.

Ha! I love it.

Don't these girls ever wear just jeans and t-shirts? No one I new had all that accessorizing crap in middle school.

Raine said...

Anyone else remember how in one book they said MA's mom's name was Alma, then in a later book it was something else? Like, ANM couldn't keep a fucking list of characters or something? Nice continuity.

Anonymous said...

the foreshadowing of mimi's death in this book is so overdone.

Kristy: "I'd been away for that house for less than a year, but it seemed like a decade. Time is funny".
seems that kristy is the smartest one of all of them, for figuring out how long years actually are in stoneybrook.

also, elizabeth is named edie in the first book.

Kylie said...

What I can't stand is how these girls are always together. Kristy has them all come over to welcome Emily home. Charlie and Sam don't have their friends there. Hello? Kristy claims to know so much about little kids, but here's a 2 year old joining a new family in a strange country. It's traumatising enough for her without having extra hangers on there. That should be a family time thing. I really hope Kristy's parents let her have it later. Also when Watson has his heart attack and goes to hospital. The whole crew shows up then too.

Anonymous said...

Those ice cream socks of Claud are quite possibly the most vivid thing I remember from the BSC books. I have no idea why though, I'm pretty sure I thought they were cool when I read it way back when (:

dark1 said...

yeah... we and my best friend decided to have matching outfits when we went to camp. we had matching skirts, tops, jeans, and similiar shoes. we were soooo excited. we never even wore them once though... so... useless

Anonymous said...

"Big Rock candy mountain" was in "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" I think....What's up with Kristy's parents and the double names? David Michael and Emily Michelle? Who ever uses middle names all the time?

Anonymous said...

@Katherine, actually Dawn sings, 'The girl with colitis goes by' instead of 'the girl with kaleidoscope eyes'.

So the syllables DO match and the mistake is understandable.

ravenalana2000 said...

W0w, watta bunch of haters. I mean seriously, itz just a book.

Get A Life People!