Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Baby-Sitters Club #60: Mary Anne’s Makeover

This is the book that taught me the word “pariah” and I was mentioning it to a friend a few weeks ago. Low and behold, we came across a copy at the thrift store and now it’s mine, all mine!

So, Mary Anne is flipping through a fashion magazine at a BSC meeting when she sees a model with extremely short hair. She wonders aloud if it would fit her and Claudia flips out. The other girls giggle, telling her that it just wouldn’t look good on her. Originally she agrees, but the more she thinks about it, the more she really likes it.

She takes a picture to her dad and he agrees that it would look nice on her. They make a plan to hit the mall on Saturday and she asks him to keep it a secret from Sharon and Dawn. She gets her haircut and naturally loves it. They find a makeup store doing free makeovers and he not only lets her have one, but buys her some makeup. Then they hit a clothing store and she gets a few new clothes.

When they get home, she springs her makeover on Sharon and Dawn. No one says anything at first, but then Sharon decides that she loves it. Dawn doesn’t say a word, until Richard reveals the makeup and clothes. She gets kind of pissed off about Mary Anne getting so much new stuff right after Christmas. Which Christmas is this?

Mary Anne calls Logan and asks him to come over in the morning. She wants to keep her hair a secret, but Dawn picks up the phone and tells him all about it. Luckily he loves her hair and thinks it looks great. The next day at school, most people think her hair looks awesome and can’t get over her big change…except the members of the BSC.

This just shows how bitchy these girls truly are! Kristy points out that they already told her the cut wasn’t for her, Stacey says it will grow out and Claudia says that it’s just “okay.” Suddenly a rumor pops up that one of Sam’s friends thinks she’s cute and everyone starts talking about it. Logan is fine with that.

Then another rumor pops up that some hot sophomore named Carlos invited her to the high school Winter Dance. Logan hears it, believes it and starts avoiding her because he thinks it’s true. They finally make up when she tells him she doesn’t even know Carlos.

Things with the BSC start getting worse. Mary Anne makes Logan go with her to meetings because they keep making snide comments. She cancels a shopping date with Kristy and goes to Logan’s house. Kristy sees her leaving and makes a rude comment about girls that dump their friends for a guy. Mary Anne stops going to meetings until one of them apologizes or says something nice.

Dawn makes things even worse at home. She’s constantly making rude comments and not saying anything nice or even talking to her. In the span of three minutes, she makes a snide comment about Mary Anne’s clothes, Logan and her skipping minutes. Despite all this, Mary Anne tries to make up to her, but it leads to a fight. Dawn says she has a boy haircut and clown makeup.

Mary Anne cries for awhile and then goes downstairs and apologizes. So much for the new attitude! Dawn confesses that she was jealous seeing her with her dad and that she does like her haircut. She goes to another meeting and has a similar conversation. Personally I would only go back if every single member got down on their knees and begged for another chance.

Mary Anne, Logan, Dawn and Pete Black go to the big dance together. They see Sabrina Bouvier dancing with a good looking older guy and wonder who he is. Suddenly they all remember Carlos, say his name at once and the guy turns around. They all have a big laugh over it.

*According to Mary Anne, Claudia can put together an outfit like a slouchy hat (?), stirrup pants, sequined vest and lace up boots and look great. I beg to differ.

*Kristy wears a long dress and heels to the dance, Claudia wears a gold lame outfit, Stacey wears a silk dress that belongs to her mom and Dawn wears a black dress with a sheer top that has beads and decorations on it. Seriously, these kids are 13?

*Um, isn’t Richard supposedly super strict, or was at one point? Here he says that he “always” thought short hair would suit her, but never said anything because he thought she liked long hair. Uh, then why not let her cut off her pigtails years ago?

*I think it’s kind of crappy that Sharon and Richard never say a word about their fight. Mary Anne even says that they realize what’s going on, but don’t want to take sides. I’m sorry, but some of the crap Dawn says is ridiculous. By not taking sides, they are both kind of siding with Dawn.

*Mary Anne hangs out with other girls, including Susan Taylor and Sabrina. She points out that the BSC is kind of snobby, ignoring those girls and acting like they don’t matter. She wonders if the BSC is snobby because they think others are without knowing them. Uh, yes Mary Anne, you and your friends are very snobby.

*This book really pisses me off because the BSC is completely rude, bitchy and snobby. They ignore her/hate on her throughout the whole book. Then they barely apologize and everything is fine. When I was this age, it would have taken quite a bit more for me to forgive and move on.

*This is the book where Carolyn Arnold builds a time machine. She takes money to send kids back in time, but eventually realizes she can’t do it and gives everyone back their money.

*Ann’s notes are pretty random in this one. She talks about wanting to give Mary Anne a makeover so she could assert her independence, but she pretty much remains the same. Then she rambles about how she dresses just like Kristy in real life and wanted a character with short hair because she has short hair. Oh and she ends by apologizing because the girl that modeled for MA had to wear a wig for every cover after that. Of course had they moved past 8th grade, this would not have been a problem…

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Point Horror: The Babysitter II (R.L. Stine)

Jenny survived her bout with Mr. Hagen and now sees a psychiatrist multiple times. She explains that a neighbor wants her to babysit and she isn’t sure she wants to, but her mom is kind of pushing her because they need the money. On her way out, his creepy nurse Miss Gurney compliments her on her shirt. Then she runs into Chuck, her former boyfriend. Chuck can’t seem to get it through his head that she doesn’t want to see him anymore.

Jenny starts her new job and the boy is an insane little monster. Eli has pet tarantulas, loves gruesome horror movies, builds computers for fun and is way too smart for his age. He tricks Jenny into sticking her hand in the tarantula and then laughs like crazy.

After hanging out with her friends Rick and Claire at the mall, she meets a cute guy named Cal. They do some flirting and he asks her out. Their date is almost a disaster, as he takes her to a lame party where all people do is drink beer and make out. They go ice skating, kiss some more and she really likes him. When he drops her off, she hears something rustling in the bushes and then sees a figure run off across the yard.

Then Jenny starts getting calls while sitting. The voice repeats the same phrases that Hagen used, including “company’s coming.” At first she thinks it’s Cal because he starts stalking her and acting weird, but she decides he wouldn’t do that. Then she suspects Eli because he has a phone that his parents don’t know about and he keeps calling her at random times.

It doesn’t help that she starts having nightmares about Hagen climbing out of the quarry. Of course because it’s a Stine book we have multiple suspects. Rick starts acting weird. When she, Claire, Cal and Rick play tennis, he flips out and tries hitting him with balls and acting like an ass.

One night they show up at the house while she’s sitting. Rick tries kissing her and then plays it off like he doesn’t like her when she pushes him off. Claire goes upstairs to talk to Eli and suddenly Jenny hears a cry as Claire falls down the stairs. When she looks up, she sees Eli staring down at her with a smile on his face.

Eli starts acting weird after that, but more like a normal kid. He wants her to play with him all the time and every time she tries to leave, he grabs her, hugs her or begs her to stay. She doesn’t trust him at all, especially after she finds a dead tarantula in her bag.

Jenny sees Dr. Shindler again, but he seems like he’s taking Eli’s side, claiming the boy is probably just scared or nervous. After every appointment, she sees his nurse, who makes some odd comment about her pretty hair or clothes. While waiting for Cal one night, she sees the good doctor pop out of the shadows and decides that he must be the one calling her. They make plans to trap him and make him confess.

At her next appointment, she tells him that she wants to revisit the quarry. He doesn’t think it’s a great idea, but she persists, claiming that it will help her get over everything that happened. While waiting at the quarry, Miss Gurney pops up. She starts ranting and raving about Jenny stealing the doctor from her. Apparently she was his patient at one point, but now he ignores her for Jenny.

Cal pops out of the shadows and attacks, but she trips him and he falls in the quarry. Jenny sees hands coming over the top and thinks it’s Hagen, but of course it’s actually Cal. He attacks again, but Gurney grabs Jenny and they fall in the water. Gurney nearly drowns her before she escapes.

Schindler shows up with the cops and explains that he figured out the plan earlier that night when his session tapes went missing. Gurney kept stealing his tapes of Jenny and using that information to threaten her. The cops let them leave and Cal makes a joke about taking her to a horror movie.

*I completely do not get the whole change in Eli thing. All of the sudden he just starts acting like a normal kid and wants to be her best friend.

*Who else feels really bad for Chuck? He tries telling her how much he cares about her and she completely snaps. She basically tells him that she’s glad he helped her recover, but now he reminds her of what happened, so she doesn’t want him around. And then she proceeds to make out with a new guy.

*Jenny is kind of stupid because she doesn’t get that Rick has a crush on her. He acts like an asshat from the moment he meets Cal and she still doesn’t see it.

*I sincerely hope that most psychiatrists have better security measures in place…

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Baby-Sitters Club #5: Dawn and the Impossible Three

Dawn is still new to the world of the BSC and she’s having some hard times with Kristy who obviously doesn’t like her very much. One day while sitting for the Pike family, she meets Buddy and Suzi Barrett, two new divorced kids living in the area. Suzi trips and skins her knee, but she gives her a bandaid and it’s all good.

A few days later Mrs. Barrett calls during a club meeting and requests a sitter. Dawn takes the job and she’s actually kind of excited. On her first job, Mrs. Barrett runs off in a hurry without giving her any information. Buddy keeps pointing his finger at her like a gun and being a beast. She finally manages to get them under control and even creates races to clean the house.

Before long Dawn becomes the primary sitter for the family. Every time she goes, the kids are wild and crazy, the house looks like a mess and Mrs. Barrett is running off somewhere in a hurry. Dawn keeps the kids under control, but whenever another sitter is there, the kids barely listen. One day they have a picnic at the Pike house and Dawn tries to give baby Marnie a brownie when Mallory attacks. It turns out that Marnie is severely allergic to chocolate.

The next day Dawn sits Mrs. Barrett down and tells her that she can’t sit anymore. She begs her to stay, telling her that things will change and that she won’t be so flightly anymore. Dawn agrees to work three more days on a trial basis. Then when sitting for the kids, Buddy goes outside to play while she gets the girls ready. When she goes outside, Buddy has disappeared!

Dawn calls Mrs. Pike and she rallies the neighbors. The cops come and everyone looks for Buddy. Byron reveals that he saw Buddy getting in a car with some guy. Just as everyone freaks out, Buddy calls and he’s with his dad. Mrs. Barrett shows up and realizes that she forgot it was his weekend with the kids. They have another long talk and she agrees to keep sitting for them, as long as Mrs. Barrett makes some changes.

The other storyline is the Dawn and Kristy rivalry. Mary Anne asks Dawn to help her redecorate her room. Kristy sees them, comes over to help and kind of takes over. She starts acting rude to Dawn all the time and Dawn can’t do anything right. Like she brings up Kristy’s mom getting married and she snaps because she doesn’t want to move.

Dawn finally asks her to come over and hang out one day. She shows her the old barn, they jump off the hayloft and she points out that Mary Anne never does stuff like that. They have a long talk about divorces and moving. Kristy decides that she should become the alternate officer for the BSC and they make up.

Kristy also worries that she will have to quit the BSC once they move across town. She finally decides to raise the club dues and pay someone to drive her to and from meetings. Luckily Charlie will have his license by then and he’s totally willing to help.

*It cracks me up whenever the sitters make brownies or something with their charges. That seems far too messy and time consuming!

*I love how in the older books Dawn is obsessed with health food, but still indulges. In this one, she eats saltwater taffy, but still brings tofu salad, dried apple rings and granola for her school lunch.

*Mrs. Schafer and Mr. Spier go out at least three times in this book, which is kind of heavy. Yet in later books, her mom still dates Trip, so I guess she’s kind of a slut.

*Dawn’s family throws a barbeque and her grandparents come. They pepper Richard with 900 questions about his life and seem kind of impressed, especially since they didn’t think he was good enough for their daughter.

*At one point Dawn mentions that she’s 12 and that seems so young for talking/flirting with guys. I always thought it was weird that Jessi and Mallory had boyfriends when they were 11.

*Mary Anne takes the Barrett kids on a puddle walk, which sounds like fun! Yet the idea of taking three young kids around town in their bathing suits is kind of creepy. I picture some pedophile sitting on his stoop saying, “mmmhmmm.”

*Mary Anne wears contacts? Dawn explains that she uses them in place of her reading glasses. That kind of seems like a pain in the ass to take them out and put them in just for reading. Plus is it mentioned a lot in the other books?

*Claudia sits for Jeff and thinks he wants to go back to California.

*Kristy is super shocked that Mary Anne’s dad is going to let her use thumbtacks. Thumbtacks, gasp, the horror!