This is clearly a sign of how badly the BSC portrayed issues, because when I first read this, I thought it would be “cool” to be autistic. Mainly, because I remember how Kristy sits for a girl who is autistic, but who could still somehow know what days of the week any day fell on. It seemed like a really cool talent.
Kristy gets a job sitting for a little girl, Susan, who is autistic. Susan’s family has always lived in Stoneybrook, but she normally lives at a special school (which is why we never heard of her before). But now Susan is home for a month, and her mother wants to have some time free to do errands, so Kristy gets a regular job there.
Kristy decides it is just awful that Susan lives at a special school instead of home with her family. She decides she is going to show Susan’s parents that she is better off at home. Because obviously, she knows better than two adults who have been dealing Susan for eight years. So, Kristy tries to help Susan “make friends.” The Hobart’s have just moved into town from Australia, and have been picked on, so they at least act civil towards her. But everyone else reacts in some mixture of fear and ridicule.
Kristy tells the kids that Susan is a “savant,” which means she is able to memorize things, including a perpetual calendar, and can say what day of the week any date within a hundred year period. She can also play any song by ear after hearing it once. So, a few days later a bunch of kids start showing up at Susan’s house to quiz her, and Kristy thinks it means she is making friends – until she finds out one kid was basically selling tickets to see the “freak.” James Hobart still treats Susan like a human being, but he has made real friends by now, so can’t really do too much for her. And really, he couldn’t have anyway. Of course, Kristy is not able to cure Susan of her autism, so at the end she does leave for school. Oh, and Susan’s mom is pregnant.
Subplot: Mallory thinks that the oldest Hobart, Ben, is hot. He must feel the same way, because by the end, he asks her to the movies.
- Kristy is sitting for Emily Michelle, and the book makes this big deal out of explaining how to tell Emily she did something wrong. It was kinda odd.
- Apparently, Charlie made a sign for his car, saying “Baby-sitter on Board.” Um, cute?
- Dawn can’t figure out how a moving truck delivering the Hobart’s stuff got there from Australia. She wastes several whole sentences wondering if they did it with a boat before getting a van.
- Awe, Kristy tells us she thinks she isn’t as pretty as Mary Anne.
- So, Kristy gets this job sitting for Susan (by Claud’s house), on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons. So, she asks Charlie to pick her up after school and drive her over there (instead of driving her there at 5:30. Now, doesn’t Claudia walk home? Didn’t Kristy do this before she moved? Why can’t she just walk to Susan’s?
- I can’t believe Kristy doesn’t think constantly testing Susan to show her “talent” is mean.
- If the job is 3:30-5:30, how does Kristy get to meetings on time? Did I forget the book where she learned to teleport?
- All the kids of Stoneybrook make fun of the Hobarts for being from Australia, with Crocodile Dundee references. I would think that is actually a compliment…wasn’t he supposed to be cool? My brother thought so any way, at least as a kid.
- How do all these kids know what day of the week dates fell on? When people find out about Susan, they instantly ask her a date. Some of them come back after looking it up, but not all. I don’t even know what day of the week I was born on, let alone when my grandmother was born.
- Karen makes Andrew play her pet monkey in a game of “Let’s All Come In.” How does she get away with this stuff? Couldn’t Andrew say no?
- At SMS, the kids don’t have to sit with their classes at assemblies. Really? Teachers just let kids sit with their friends? There is no real supervision? Isn’t that asking for trouble?
- Apparently, Stoneybrook has a huge program for handicapped kids. This one class has multiple kids with Down’s syndrome, a deaf and blind kid, a deaf kid, an autistic kid, and a kid with cerebral palsy. She can’t see why Susan can’t be in a class like that – never mind that Susan has a severe case and her parents have said they want her to go to a special music school.
- At an assembly, a bunch of kids make fun of a girl in a wheelchair. Maybe if the teachers made kids sit with their class, things like that wouldn’t happen.
- Is the word “retarded” politically correct? Cause they use it all the time, and it seems kind of wrong. I have family with Down’s syndrome and no one ever calls them “retarded.”
- How does anyone get “apertinment” when trying to spell appointment?