the best friends you’ll never have
While cleaning my room, I found a pretend magazine I started writing and never completed sometime around January 2000, when I was thirteen. Why was I creating fake magazines at 13? Because I had no friends. I was a Mallory without the Club. The cover claims that there will be an article inside on “Through the Eyes of a Misfit Queen: Life on the Other Side of the Fence” (obviously autobiographical) and “21st Century Girl: Living in the Now!” and “Quiz: Your Social Stereotype.” I wish I had written these, because they would have been funny to read now, but I only wrote three things: a Letter to the Editors Page, an FAQ (where I explain that the magazine was handwritten because no one has time for Microsoft Publishing), and…
“BSC: An (Almost) Shocking Exposé.”
Here is the text in full.
Ahh. The Baby-Sitters Club. In their passage to adulthood, most, if not all girls, read at least one. Currently, there’s almost 200 altogether.
So there’s got to be a subversive message in there somewhere.
In Logan Likes Mary Anne! (#10), Logan says that no girl every fooled around with him the way Mary Anne did, they usually try to prove how well they can “dance.” I guess Mary Anne really came out of her shell, hmm?
For a book aimed at elementary school kids, it sure doesn’t promote abstinence. They might as well have titled it Mary Anne Gets Laid.
In the movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Austin Powers refers to Alotta Vagina as “the village bike: everyone’s had a ride.”
The village bikes of the BSC are Stacey and Claudia, hands down. A tag team of skankiness, they just can’t seem to settle down. At least Mary Anne is monogamous.
Dawn, poor, poor Dawn. Although we don’t know what happened in California (you need the California Diaries for that), apart from a pen pal (tee-hee), she never had a good relationship. The only real relationship I can remember is that older man, Travis, who just USED her. Maybe Mary Anne can give her a few pointers on boy pulling. Sisters should stick together in times of crisis, Mean Mary Anne!
Even Mallory and Jessi, the sixth graders, get more action than Dawn. I can’t remember many long-term relationships in sixth grade, but apparently these two are experts. Quint, Curtis, Ben–who can keep track? They’re a tag team of skankiness-in-training.
This is in NO WAY to be taken seriously! Also, we have no right to use Ann M. Martin’s characters and stuff.
Next Month: Analyzation [sic] of The Giver. Stirrings, anyone?
KRISTY: INNOCENT TOMBOY?
For someone who didn’t care about makeup or clothes, Kristy sure had a full dance card.
First there’s that old standby, Alan Gray. She poured Yoo-hoo down his shirt once. A bizarre mating ritual, sure, but erotic nonetheless.
Let’s not forget her cruise ship affair, a 70-something named Rudy. THERE ARE GRANDKIDS INVOLVED YOU WHORE!
Her third main lover is Bart. She got grounded for monkeying around with him on a couch with no parental units around, then claimed he was moving too fast for her. Tsk. She called Mary Anne for advice, hah.
Lastly, there was Steve, Kelsey’s BMOC. Kristy was smart enough to turn him down. That boy was STD city.
So ends my “articles” for my “magazine.” I don’t know why I was so mean and focused on slut-shaming. That’s the magic of middle school, I suppose.
I would actually start the first incarnation of this site a year or two later. I used to have a version archived here, but the link no longer works for complicated technical reasons that has to do with the fact that I made it so that if you go to stoneybrookite.org/.com/.net, it all goes to this blog. In the coming weeks, I will post my old writings on the BSC on this blog.
Did you ever write stupid things like this as a child/adolescent? Were you as mean as I was?
Stacey’s style, like Stacey herself, is always referred to in the books as being “sophisticated.” We know she likes to wear black, and buys clothes at Bloomingdales and other expensive places. She likes Betsey Johnson, which, while I wouldn’t exactly call it “sophisticated,” is pretty logical for what a stylish thirteen-year-old-girl would like.
The covers, however, tell a different story. On many covers, she looks so mature that she ends up looking more like someone who would call the Baby-Sitters Club for a sitter, rather than its treasurer.
Take the cover of Stacey’s Broken Heart, for example.
Stacey, you are no Kathy Santoni.
Only one image can come to mind for fans of both Full House and the BSC, and that is from the episode “Back to School Blues,” where DJ shows up for the first day of Junior High wearing the same outfit as the lunch monitor.
I think we all can imagine Stacey showing up to school in the outfit depicted on the cover of Broken Heart and realizing she was dressed just like Mrs. Ensign.
Now, later on, Stacey’s outfits are pretty much in line with how I remember the mid-90s. Lots of sweaters with stripes around the middle, for instance. Her hair is bobbed instead of permed. But really, is it sophisticated? To me, it looks just like what you could buy in any juniors’ department in the country at the time. So I’m not sure how they could have communicated that Stacey was a sophisticated dresser without it looking like she was middle aged mother or your typical teen. Maybe more black?
Stacey’s fashion, like so many other things in the series, was told to us, rather than shown. How would you have dressed a sophisticated thirteen-year-old girl from 1986-2000?
If you really think about it, the Baby-Sitters Club was a genius idea. Obviously, those at Scholastic and Ann know this already, since I am sure that it paid for many houses and several college educations. But they hit upon a formula that works very, very well when you consider the target audience.
When writing for the middle grade reader, you’re generally advised to write about characters a few years older than the reader. That’s why so many successful books for this age group are about kids aged 13-14–old enough to be seem very glamorous to someone in fourth or fifth grade, but not old enough that they have to deal with issues that you’d find in YA. The BSC, written about seventh and then eighth graders (except for Mal and Jessi), fits this mold exactly.
The Baby-Sitters Club added a little something extra, though, that you don’t see in Girl Talk, et al. And that “something” is… baby-sitting. Why was the inclusion of baby-sitting genius? Yes, baby-sitting is one of those things, like thirteen-year-old boys, that seems much more awesome than it is in reality. You’re a kid, you get baby-sat, it seems like the coolest thing in the world. But naturally, plotlines involving baby-sitting will also involve children. These children are, in many cases, the age of the intended reading audience.
So what the Baby-Sitters Club was able to do was bring the glamour of middle school (everyone who has been through middle school is laughing at the idea of it seeming cool, but you know you thought it was!), but have characters who are the same age as the reader that they can relate to. This way, you get a series that covers all the basis: cool older kids, relatable younger kids.
And that is why Scholastic editors from the late 80s-early/mid-90s were all able to buy yachts!*
I had surgery last month, which explains my lapse in posts. But I will now return to a more regular posting schedule.
I completely missed that this book was coming out. I guess there has been so much focus on Rain Reign that this book kind of slipped through the cracks. It is the last book in the Family Tree series, and since it also serves as a wrap-up of the entire series, its format is a bit different. Instead of just talking about Georgia, the main character in the book, it also focuses on the other three protagonists from the series, kind of like a Super Special.
Out of all the books, this was probably my second favorite. I think Abby’s book was the most interesting. Also, one of the major issues with these books, especially since a fair amount of time passed from the time I’d read one to the time I’d read the next, is that I kept on forgetting things. Like I don’t really remember what the relationship was between Francie and George in the book before this one. I think these books could have benefited from a Chapter Two, or a literal family tree at the beginning that briefly explained things.
Actually, I think the best way to read these books might be as one long novel. That way, you could remember the progression of the characters’ lives better. It really is one long story anyway.
Overall, I thought this book was a satisfying end to the series, even if the kids in this book, whose childhood was the 2000s, got very, very excited at the prospect of watching an I Love Lucy marathon.