Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Baby-Sitter’s Club #103: Happy Holidays, Jessi!

Ann M. Martin apparently decided that no one realizes Jessi is black, so she had this book done just to remind us. I think the whole book is about how she’s black and no one understands what that means for her.

When the book starts, she’s all excited about Kwanzaa and gives us a long (I mean pages and pages long) description of the holidays. Apparently she’s the only one in the family who cares because Becca is making a list for Santa and talking about everything she wants for Christmas.

At a BSC meeting, Kristy points out that Kwanzaa is only for African-American people and Jessi gets kind of pissed off. She thinks that other people might feel this way, when it’s actually about bringing people together. Yet five pages before, she actually said it’s only for black people. Make up your mind Jessi! So she comes up with this “brilliant” idea to host a festival and invite people of all colors.

Aunt Cecilia is living with the family and acting as bitchy as ever. She keeps lecturing the kids and treating them like crap. Like she takes them Christmas shopping, but won’t let them go into any store where they need gifts and tells them what to buy people. They want to get their dad a new shirt and she says it’s too expensive and takes them to the accessories department.

Eventually their dad gets sick of her shit and tells her to lighten up. He reminds her that she’s living with them and she doesn’t have to, kind of insinuating that he might kick her out. She takes the kids to the mall again, but makes a big deal out of buying a new blender. She literally starts yelling at the store workers because the blender now has a plastic container and she wants a glass one.

Jessi and Becca dress up in funny costumes and try to scare her. She gets so pissed that she makes them leave the store right away. On the way home, she’s driving way too slow and Squirt is fussing, so she makes the “smart” decision to let them take him out of his seat. Their car gets hit from behind, Squirt topples over and has to be rushed to the hospital. Since he’s a kid and has a concussion, they make the family leave him there for a few days.

Jessi has to skip the first Kwanzaa celebration, leaving Mal in charge, which cracks me up. The first people who get there, think they’re at the wrong spot because they only see red-headed, super white Mal. We’re reminded again that Jessi is black because she tells us that she met one new black family in the grocery store and another family is one of the few African-American families in town that she doesn’t know. I thought there weren’t any other black families in Stoneybrook?

The rest of the book is equally lame. Squirt misses being home, but bonds with the people at the hospital and starts ignoring his family. Cecilia becomes even worse because she blames herself for what happened. Becca gets the flu and misses pretty much everything.

We’re treated to one chapter from Mary Ann’s perspective, where she baby-sits for the new family and they go all crazy making Kwanzaa crafts. Then Jessi hosts a cooking event, where the kids and sitters make a bunch of Kwanzaa dishes and freeze them for the festival. She also arranges for the kids to put on a play. Kristy goes all psycho, trying to get her to mention the club every few lines because it’s perfect PR for them.

Mallory is super great in this book though. She knows the family doesn’t have time to get a tree, so she buys one and her family helps her decorate it for them. Then she offers to bring them over Christmas dinner and I so want her to be my friend right now. Claudia gets to sit for Becca, who can’t go to the hospital. They decorate the house and get everything ready, but then everyone is pissed off when they come home and ignore her.

The whole family is pissed at each other, but then their other family arrives for Kwanzaa dinner. Uncle Charles picks up on the tension, makes a joke and suddenly everything is fine again. The big festival goes off without a hitch and Kristy gives out business cards/flyers, so the BSC is back on top again!

*There are “Notebook Pages” in the back that ask a bunch of questions about you, your life, your age, etc. I told the boyfriend that I wanted to fill them out with all my info now (I’m 30 and my favorite club member is Stacey because she’s just like me!) and then donate the book back to the thrift store. I so want someone to buy this book and read that lol.

*I find it hard to believe that Cecelia would let Squirt out of his car seat, especially when she’s so paranoid about the kids in general.

*Cecelia is the one person who expresses doubt that Jessi and the club can pull off the festival. She thinks the parents will get stuck with all the work, but then Jessi does it without any adult help.

*A bunch of sitters and a dozen kids somehow make several main dishes and a bunch of cookies in like two hours. I call bull shit on this one.

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