Nostalgic Bookshelf

Snarky recaps of nostalgic media, including Making Out, Baywatch, Blyton and Baby-Sitter's Club
6
Aug 2018
The Baby-Sitters Club #8: Boy-Crazy Stacey by Ann M Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club #8: Boy-Crazy Stacey by Ann M Martin

Title: Boy-Crazy Stacey

Summary: Stacey and Mary Anne are mother’s helpers for the Pike family for two weeks at the New Jersey shore. Things are great in Sea City: There’s a gorgeous old house, a boardwalk, plenty of sun and sand… and the cutest boy Stacey has ever seen!

Mary Anne knows that Scott the lifeguard is way too old for Stacey, but Stacey’s in love. She fixes Scott’s lunch, fetches his sodas, and spends all her time with him… instead of with the Pike kids.

Suddenly, Mary Anne’s doing the work of two baby-sitters, and she doesn’t like it one bit. But how can she tell Stacey that Scott just isn’t interested—without breaking Stacey’s heart?

Tagline: Who needs baby-sitting when there are boys around!

Initial Thoughts:

I unabashedly love Sea City and wish it were real and I could vacation there, so this is going to be difficult to recap just because I love it all so much.

That said, I do have some issues with the title.

On the one hand, yes: I vividly remember that age when my friends’ group were getting interested in boys, only we were all doing that on wildly different schedules, so there were frequently times when one of us was visibly making a fool of herself and the others saw it and discussed it. I’m not sure “boy-crazy” was ever a term we used, but it fits the perspective and attitude I remember having.

But on the other hand: I kind of hate that we do this at all. It’s easy, looking back on this as an adult, to see that Stacey isn’t trying to be selfish (and definitely isn’t trying to look foolish!); she’s just grappling awkwardly with new feelings and experiences.

And I wish that, as a culture, we gave girls a little more guidance not just on the crushing/dating stuff, but on the “being an honest but also kind friend to the person currently wrestling with hormones and emotions.” Because really, I don’t remember anyone ever giving me clear instructions about not falling into the “not like the other girls” mindset, and I could have used them.

Besides, she’s not “boy crazy.” She’s making an ass of herself over one particular guy. It’s not, like, a generalized thing she does with every guy she meets.

My only memories of this book aside from Sea City itself were being mad at Stacey for not doing her share, but even more mad at Scott the lifeguard for taking advantage of her (and his other fans).

[Wing: So word to all of this and thank you for saying it so well. Unlearning the drive to reject “feminine” things so as to be “not like other girls” is a terribly hard thing to do, but important. It took me forever, and I rage at all the time I lost to it.]

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20
Jun 2018

The Baby-sitters Club #6: Kristy’s Big Day by Ann M. Martin

Title: Kristy’s Big Day

Summary: Kristy’s mom is getting married, and Kristy’s a bridesmaid. The only trouble is, fourteen little kids are coming to the wedding, and they all need baby-sitters. Here comes the Baby-sitters Club!

Stacey, Claudia, Mary Anne, Dawn, and Kristy think they can handle fourteen kids. But that’s before they spend five days changing diapers, stopping fights, solving mix-ups, righting wrongs…and getting sick and tired of baby-sitting!

One thing’s for sure. This is a crazy way to have a wedding. But it’s a great way to have a lot of fun!

Tagline: Kristy’s a baby-sitter—and a bridesmaid, too!

Initial Thoughts

Going in, all I could really remember about this one was that they ran a sort of summer camp for children, and were looking after so many of them at once that they had to divide them into groups.

I wasn’t a very wedding-enthusiastic child. I mean, it wouldn’t have thrilled me to be a bridesmaid, and I found it incredibly tedious to have to attend weddings. Even so, it’s weird how I apparently completely forgot every single thing about the wedding part of the plot.

Also, I’ve read this book probably a dozen times, and only just now noticed how odd that title is; it makes it sound like Kristy’s the one getting married.

[Wing: That’s a really good point about the title. I’m still not a big wedding person, though I’ve had fun at them over the years. I like planning things for them, though. Best wedding story: I set some church drapes on fire once when I was a kid. I’m guessing that’ll be a surprise to absolutely no one.]

[Dove: Well, I hadn’t noticed it before, but now the front cover does hint at child bride too.]

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2
May 2018
The Baby-Sitters Club 5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club 5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M Martin

Title: Baby-Sitters Club #5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M. Martin

Summary: Dawn Schafer is the newest member of The Baby-sitters Club. While she’s still adjusting to life in Stoneybrook after moving from sunny California, she’s eager to accept her first big job. But taking care of the three Barrett kids would be too much for any baby-sitter. The house is always a mess, the kids are out of control, and Mrs. Barrett never does any of the things she promises. On top of all that, Dawn wants to fit in with the other members of the BSC, but she can’t figure out how to get along with Kristy. Was joining The Baby-sitters Club a mistake? [Wing: That is not at all what the story is about.]

Tagline: Dawn thought she’d be baby-sitting — not monster-sitting!

Initial Thoughts

Dawn is one of my favourite baby-sitters, and I’m thrilled to get to recap her very first book. I love how she complicates things with the club, especially the friendship between Mary Anne and Kristy, I love a bunch of her personality traits (particularly the way she loves ghost stories), and I love her enthusiasm about life. This is going to be fun.

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4
Apr 2018
The Baby-Sitters Club #4: Mary Anne Saves the Day by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club #4: Mary Anne Saves the Day by Ann M. Martin

Title: Mary Anne Saves the Day

Summary: Mary Anne has never been a leader of the Baby-sitters Club. She’s left that up to Kristy… or Claudia… or Stacey. But now there’s a big fight among the four friends, and Mary Anne doesn’t have them to depend on anymore.

It’s bad enough when she’s left alone at the lunch table at school. But when she has to baby-sit a sick child without any help from the club members, Mary Anne knows it’s time to take charge.

The Baby-sitters Club is going to fall apart unless somebody does something – fast. Maybe it’s time for Mary Anne to step in and save the day!

Tagline: Mary Anne’s on her own. Can she take charge?

Initial Thoughts

I remember this book mainly as “the one where Mary Anne’s father finally agrees to let her do stuff,” and I used to find it HUGELY UNFAIR that his change of heart happens because she handles an emergency well. (And I mean, really well. Many parents, possibly including me, wouldn’t be as clear-headed in a crisis as Mary Anne is in this book.) What if an emergency had just never happened, huh? Would she have been in pigtails until she left for university?

On rereading, I may possibly have misjudged Mr. Spier. In fact, now I’m wondering if the emergency was even the whole reason he changed his mind.

I also remember that this is the book where all the BSC are in a fight with each other. That still bothers me enough that I felt anxious at the beginning, waiting for the fight to start.

[Wing: DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN.]

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7
Mar 2018

The Baby-Sitters Club 3: The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin

Title: The Truth About Stacey

Summary: The truth about Stacey is that she has diabetes. Nobody knows… except her friends in the Baby-sitters Club.

But even they don’t know the real truth about Stacey. Stacey’s problem is her parents. They won’t admit she has the disease, and they drag her to practically every doctor in America!

Seeing so many doctors made Stacey lose one friend, and she won’t let it happen again. Especially now – when the Baby-sitters Club needs her more than ever.

Tagline: Stacey’s different … and it’s harder on her than anyone knows.

Initial Thoughts

Growing up, I was always annoyed by this title, because we learn Stacey’s big secret, which is that she has diabetes, at the end of book one. I think, now, that the real secret is how much she’s struggling to deal with her parents and their frantic desire to find a new way to help her and their terror that their only child will die. That is a much sadder story.

[Dove: I have no initial thoughts on this book. I’m still just getting into this fandom, and haven’t really bonded with any of the characters, except for Janine, thanks to her queries over apostrophes.]

[Wing: Janine is great, and I love that you’ve bonded with her already.]

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7
Feb 2018

The Baby-Sitters Club 2: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls by Ann M. Martin

Title: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls

Summary: Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne and Stacey have had some strange adventures since they started the Baby-sitters Club. [Wing: Considering this is book #2, I think that’s a bit of a stretch, blurb writer.] But nothing’s been as spooky as what’s going on right now. The baby-sitters have been getting mysterious phone calls when they’re out on their jobs. When a phone rings and they pick up, there’s no one on the other end of the line.

Claudia’s sure it’s the Phantom Caller, a jewel thief who’s been operating in the area. Claudia has always liked reading mysteries, but she doesn’t like it when they happen to her. So she and the baby-sitters decide to take action – with some very mixed results!

Tagline: Claudia’s not sure she wants to find out who’s on the other end of the line.

Initial Thoughts

What the everloving hell is Claudia wearing on the cover of my copy of this? That’s the one pictured up top there. That vest looks like it was made by a commune of llama-breeding hippies in the 1970s.

Also, we might as well get this out of the way: Kirsten Dunst modelled for the cover of this. I don’t even know why I know that, but I do. [Wing: Wait, what? Did she really? I had no idea.] Not the cover I have; this one:

I love these books too much to be properly snarky about them, particularly the early ones. I thought maybe rereading them I’d be more cynical, but no; if anything they’re even more adorable. So apologies in advance for that. [Wing: It’s so difficult to be snarky over something you love! I still adore these books so, so much, and I feel your pain.]

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3
Jan 2018
The Baby-Sitters Club 1: Kristy's Great Idea by Ann M Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club 1: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M Martin

Title: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

Summary: When Kristy Thomas has the great idea to form a baby-sitters club–a chance to earn money and spend time with her friends, all while doing something they each love to do–she has no idea how much the club will change everything.

Crank calls, uncontrollable toddlers, wild pets, untruthful clients . . . running a business is hard work! Kristy and her co-founders, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey, are sure they can handle anything. But only if they stick together . . .

Tagline: Four friends and baby-sitting–what could be more fun?

Initial Thoughts

Well, here we are, kicking off 2018 and Nostalgic Bookshelf with my favorite cheesy contemporary preteen series, The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin. Unlike the Sweet Valley books, I read these obsessively, and still sometimes reread them as an adult. I was a baby-sitter from a young age, and I loved the focus on friends and having adventures together. I’m excited to revisit them now, with a recapper’s eye.

My favourite baby-sitters before recapping: Dawn, Stacey, Claudia, Abby, Jessi, and Shannon.

Least favourite: Kristy, Mary Anne, and Logan.

Say hello to your friends, everyone. We’re in this for the long haul.

[Dove: And I have never read any of these before, so this is Wing’s payback for Sweet Valley. And I’m cool with that.]

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