Thursday, July 17, 2008

The trip was truly a dream come true…..BSC Super Special # 1: Baby-sitters on Board

Memory Reaction

Every time I read this book, I could not figure out when it was supposed to take place. It was summer vacation, but it couldn’t be that first summer when the girls had actually just finished seventh grade, because I think they actually say they are already in eighth grade in this book. But early into eighth grade (the first time) Stacey moved away and Mallory joined the club, and this takes place before then. So, in BSC land, there was either an extra summer between books ten and thirteen, OR they went on this great vacation the same summer that Stacey and Mary Anne went to Sea City the first time.

That is the only thing I can think of when I look at this book. I still have my original copy, which I read so many times that the cover fell off years ago. I probably could tell you anything about the plot, but the first thing I think of is that I don’t know when it takes place and it still bothers me.


Revisited Reaction

The set up is the original five girls, plus the Pikes and Kristy’s family are on a 4-day cruise to the Bahamas and a 3-day trip to Disney World. Mr. Pike won the trip through his company and invited Stacey and Mary Anne to come as mother’s helpers. You would think if someone won a vacation for their “entire family” there would be some kind of limit, to prevent the sponsors from having to pay for twelve tickets. But whatever. Watson hears about the trip, and his inferiority complex kicks in, and the next thing you know the entire Thomas/Brewer clan is tagging along. He invites Dawn and Claudia, just because. Anyway, as a “thank you” everyone is writing a trip diary, and that is what we are supposedly reading in the super special.

Of course, each girl has her own little adventure.

Kristy: Meets an old guy named Mr. Staples who is taking the trip because his wife recently died and his kids thought it would help him move on. It is kind of sad. Kristy bonds with him a little though and keeps telling him he should meet her grandmother. Also, she and Dawn fight a lot because Kristy is a slob and Dawn is neat. But they make up at the end. Obviously.

Claudia: Starts getting letters from a secret admirer and is all excited. Then she meets a guy in person, and starts hanging out with him. She likes him, but still wants to know who the secret admirer is. By the end she finds out he was the secret admirer but was too scared to tell her. The guy lives twenty minutes from Stoneybrook, so they actually could keep up a relationship, but he is never mentioned again. It still made me think life in 8th Grade would be super exciting.

Stacey: Does NOT fall in “luv” on this vacation. I am shocked. Actually, she does meet a boy, but he is a seven-year-old in a wheelchair. She, Claire, and Margo Pike hang out with him and his parents a lot. The kid is having risky heart surgery after the trip and (of course) is okay afterwards.

Dawn: Meets a boy she has nothing in common with. Finds him attractive anyway. Fights with Kristy. Blah, Blah, Blah.

Mary Anne: Meets a girl her age named Alex who is a pathological liar. Mary Anne thinks she has found a true friend because Alex tells her she is an orphan, only she (Alex) was lying. Mary Anne is pissed when she finds out, and Alex begs her for forgiveness. It turns out she lies a lot because her parents are famous singers and she likes attention. Mary Anne doesn’t really forgive her at the end. Good for her, why should she forgive a stranger for messing with her?

Mallory: Is not actually in the BSC at this point, but gets some chapters anyway. She does her lame Harriet the Spy thing. It is boring. She also is allowed to wander around by herself at Disney World. At age eleven. That is ridiculous.

Byron: Has a lot of chapters for someone not in the BSC or any sort of spin-off. They are all about how the triplets, Nicky, and David Michael are obsessed with treasure hunting. They think they find a treasure map in the Bahamas and it turns out to be machine diagram. They sort of do find “treasure” though, because Byron finds a bracelet that Dawn had lost. So, they are sort of satisfied.

Karen: She breaks a bunch of rules and is generally annoying and obnoxious. She gets lost at Disney World and is unfortunately found again.

High/Lowlights

  • I never realized until this reading….Sam and Charlie are barely in this book. They are mentioned as going, and then hardly ever again. It is weird.
  • The contest Mr. Pike wins is for naming a product through the company he works for….isn’t he a lawyer in later books? That doesn’t seem like the type of contest a law firm would be having.
  • Kristy lets Karen wander around the cruise ship by herself. They are at the pool, and Kristy lets her go back to the cabin by herself to get her earplugs. I can’t imagine letting a six-year-old wander around a cruise ship by herself. Especially one like Karen who might decide to hang off the edge or something. When Karen gets herself a manicure and soda, she doesn’t even get in trouble.
  • When Karen gets her manicure (which had to have taken awhile), Kristy just sits by the pool worried about her. Shouldn’t she have called Watson or someone or started looking for her?
  • I totally remember this Claudia outfit: “I put on my new blue-and-white bikini and over that, a pink sundress with spaghetti straps at the shoulders and big blue buttons down the front. Then I accessorized. I tied a pink-and-blues scarf around my waist, knotting it in the middle, added my snake bracelet and feather earrings, wound my hair up on top of my head, and finally put on these white sandals with long laces that you crisscross up your legs and tie in a bow.”
  • The Pikes sleeping arrangements are like this: Mr. and Mrs. Pike in one room, Stacey, Claire, and Margo in another, Mary Anne, Vanessa, and Mallory, in a third, and all the boys in the last one. Does something seem wrong with that picture to anyone else?
  • It kind of sucks for Mary Anne and Stacey that they have to baby-sit on this trip while Dawn, Kristy, and Claud get to hang out and do whatever. At least in the later books they are either all baby-sitting or all on vacation.
  • Dawn borrows an outfit from Claudia to hang out with her date in Disney World: “a white tank top under lavender overalls, lavender push-down socks, lavender high-top sneakers, and a beaded Indian belt, which we looped droopily around my middle. In my hair we put lavender-and-white clips that looked like birds. I thought they were just any kind of bird, but Claudia swore up and down that they were birds of paradise.” Birds of paradise? Really?
  • Seriously, letting an eleven-year-old run around Disney World alone? No fucking way. I can see letting her hang out on a ship alone, but Disney World? No way. I don’t care how responsible you are.
  • Wow, Karen is a brat. She is at this breakfast where all the Disney characters show up and she tells them it is her birthday so the whole room sings happy birthday to her. Watson actually yells at her, but then doesn’t follow through with any punishment. Wimp.
  • You know the book is from a long time ago when Michael Jackson is referenced as something cool.
  • The end of the book there is this scene where Alex tells Mary Anne why she lies all the time and Claudia finds out that her “boyfriend” is also her secret admirer and they both find out the two are siblings. It is probably supposed to be this big climactic moment, but it is actually just really boring.

21 comments:

colleenn said...

I just went on a Disney cruise this past May (no trip to WDW itself though), and I so wanted to have this book to read on the plane to Orlando. :) But I sadly never owned this one and still haven't been able to track it down as an adult. It's funny because Disney cruises didn't exist back when this was written, but now there's totally a "land and sea vacation package" where you can pretty much take this exact same vacation.

So, that summer, they supposedly had time to attend Elizabeth and Watson's wedding, run a playgroup, send two of them off to Sea City, AND go on a cruise? (And magically start 8th grade before that?) And did Dawn go to California at one point too? The most exciting thing I did over the summer when I was 12/13 was maybe get to go to the beach down Cape Cod because my grandparents lived there (note that the Cape is only about an hour from my house :P).

And Karen wandering around unsupervised is just wrong.

MaybeSomeday said...

Out of all the YA series (BSC, SVH, SVT, Sunset Island, Sleepover Friends -- you name it) super special/special editions/whatever they were called, this one is the absolute best!

You know why the Pikes had so many kids? Because Mr. and Mrs. Pike always had their own room/cabin on vacations!

Kait said...

It's interesting how all the BSC girls are apparently the same size. They have no problem whatsoever borrowing clothes and shoes from each other. Even Mary Anne, who is apparently a lot smaller than many girls in her grade (or so they say in the earlier books) is able to borrow an outfit from Stacey when they go to Sea City.

Also, doesn't Claudia wear the kind of outfits that everyone describes as, "On anyone else it would look ridiculous, but on Claudia, it looked awesome"? Wouldn't a girl who is "California Casual" look a bit strange if she started dressing Claudia-style?

Anonymous said...

HAhahaha total word on when this book took place, I never could figure it out, either. ;P

Hmm. Lots of fans seem to have this one as a favorite, but strangely it's one of the Super Specials I read the least . . .

Kate said...

I never read this one. Though, it would have been awesome. I've never been on a cruise OR to Disney World so this book would have been a dream vacation.

Why were none of my friends parents like any of the BSC parents? The closest to a vacation with a friends family I got was a weekend at their cabin.

Afraid of the Dark said...

I just read this one recently! I wanted to punch Mallory, as usual. Though, I fear I was Mallory when I was in 5th-6th grade. I even went on a cruise at age 11.
It always bothered me that the parents in these books couldn't even handle their own children on vacation. I think the BSC influenced my decision to never, ever have children.

annakelly said...

"The Pikes sleeping arrangements are like this: Mr. and Mrs. Pike in one room, Stacey, Claire, and Margo in another, Mary Anne, Vanessa, and Mallory, in a third, and all the boys in the last one. Does something seem wrong with that picture to anyone else?"

I think I see what you mean. Whenever my family went on vacay, when we stayed in hotels my brother and father would have one bed and my mom and I would share the other. Why wouldn't Mrs. Pike want to watch over Claire and Margo? Sticking them with the babysitters is kind of weird to my mind. And no one's watching the boys?

Janet said...

When I was 13, I doubt I would have been allowed to go on a CRUISE, let alone plane trip without my parents.

I hated how Karen got away with so much.

On the whole clothes sharing thing -- clothes were seriously very baggy when this book came out. If Stacey loaned Mary Anne a top, it wouldn't matter if it was a little big.

If this had been a later SS, Kristy would have organized ALL of the kids on board into some sort of show or circus.

BadKat said...

I hated Karen in this one!! If I would have charged ANYTHING to any of his accounts without permission I probably would have been picking myself up from across the room. And the whole fake birthday deal, my parents probably would have stopped them mid-song and busted my lying ass out right there. Believe me, I tried some stuff in my day and I was always in trouble with my parents.

This book made me want to go to Disney World soooooo bad. I always got stuck going to the Badlands and other crap like that. I finally made it to Disney World a couple years ago and found that my favorite part was Pleasure Island where you can escape the children on BSC type vacations and drink bucket loads of alcohol. Now they are closing Pleasure Island to make it a more family friendly so people can have wonderful vacations with all of their children, their friends, and all of the neighborhood baby sitters.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

And the whole fake birthday deal, my parents probably would have stopped them mid-song and busted my lying ass out right there.

I didn't think of this while I was reading it, but when I was out to dinner with some friends, we lied to the waiter and told him it was my friends boyfriend's birthday. But that was more to humiliate him, then anything else. So it is a little different than what Karen did.

Kait said...

Another thing just hit me: I wonder why Stacey, Mary Anne, Mallory and Byron would write in a trip diary as a "thank you" to Watson, as their trip is funded by Mr. Pike's company?

colleenn said...

Badkat - are they really closing Pleasure Island to make it more family-friendly? Nooo! I've only been to Disney World once, almost ten years ago, when I was 17 with my aunt and her boyfriend who was on a business conference there. I loved Pleasure Island, even though at 17 I was old enough to enjoy the clubs/dancing but obviously not old enough for the alcohol. I always told myself that someday when I was over 21 I'd go back and get the full enjoyment out of that area of the park. Now it seems that I'll never get to. depressing.

BadKat said...

Colleenn -
Yes! It is so sad!! I spent the best (drunken) Christmas there. Go to the Disney Resorts site and look at it. It is the lamest excuse ever!!

BadKat said...

Or follow the Pleasure Island link at my blog if you don’t feel like looking it up! I think the link is in my Christmas in July post.

BTW, Kristen - You are right, that is completely different!! The innocent humiliation of a loved one is different than a bratty, spoiled and uncontrolled child.

rainylakechick said...

I just stumbled across your blog! VERY AWESOME! I started reading the BSC in 4th grade (circa 1986?) and this might have been when the BSC first were printed. I remember getting the first book, waiting a month for the second, another month for the third, and finally the fourth. There was a wait before the books came back -- and I think the SS#1 was written somewhere between books 4 and 10.

Yes, they were still in 7th grade for this book. It was a bfd to go to 8th grade I remember... I spent waaaay too much money on this series. And now all I have to show for it are 200 books hidden away in my closet. :)

Anonymous said...

"The contest Mr. Pike wins is for naming a product through the company he works for….isn’t he a lawyer in later books? That doesn’t seem like the type of contest a law firm would be having."

As I understood it, from Poor Mallory, Mr. Pike was a corporate lawyer - he didn't actually work at a firm, he was on retainer for some big company.

Btw, great job on these reviews...even though I still really enjoy these books as clear my mind of all else reading, having a bit of a snarky review to read is great. Kind of like Will Wheatons reviews of old Star Trek the Next Generation episodes.

Anonymous said...

"The contest Mr. Pike wins is for naming a product through the company he works for….isn’t he a lawyer in later books? That doesn’t seem like the type of contest a law firm would be having."


he got fired from his ad job and became a lawyer

Brista said...

I remember this book! That's so weird.

Picardigan said...

Ahem. Next year, in April, I get to go on a trip my mother won that involves a short cruise in the Bahamas and a visit to Disney World. As soon as I heard this I was like 'DUDE, like Super Special 1!'

I am thirty-two.

Anonymous said...

Late to the party but I am loving this blog and wanted to chime in. Isn't this is one where Mallory observes a bunch of Down's kids and calls them "retarded"? Ugh - shut up Mallory!

Haids said...

Anonymous said...
Late to the party but I am loving this blog and wanted to chime in. Isn't this is one where Mallory observes a bunch of Down's kids and calls them "retarded"? Ugh - shut up Mallory!

GAH! You're so right!! She says that they're all wearing matching t-shirts.Oh my gosh. PC at its finest.