Thursday, January 12, 2012

“A princess is a princess, after all”……..BSC # 102: Mary Anne and the Little Princess

Memory Reaction

This was after my time.

Revisited Reaction

When I first saw the title of this book, I thought it was going to be another one about Jenny Prezzioso being a brat. But I guess that was done to death after 100 books, and so the ghostwriter goes with an actual princess. It’s ridiculous. The setup’s that this couple from England’s moving to Stoneybrook for a few months because they work with the UN. They’re part of the Royal Family, so their daughter’s a princess, 20-something in line of secession. Anyway, the girl has an (adult) nanny, but her parents think it would be a good idea to hire someone in the BSC as a “companion” to help her get used to Stoneybrook. Mary Anne gets the job since she’s the narrator of this book.

At first Victoria’s a bit hard to deal with, but Mary Anne tries to help her make friends. However, while Victoria ends up liking the BSC members, she isn’t that nice to the younger kids in town (who of course were all excited about meeting a princess).

Victoria invites Mary Anne, Kristy, and Stacey to go to New York with her to see her parents at the UN and have dinner with them. They explore the city a little, then go off to meet her parents, who don’t actually bother eating with them. It’s kind of weird that they invited her down and told her to bring friends just for a five-minute conversation, but whatever. But the girls end up meeting Stacey’s father for dinner. This trip’s how we learn that Victoria’s lonely, her parents are always traveling, and she’s avoided making friends because she knows she’s leaving in six months. By the end, Mary Anne convinces her to start being nicer to the other kids in town.

Meanwhile, Mary Anne’s missing her father because he’s off on some business trip. It was supposed to be for just a few days, but it kept getting pushed back so he doesn’t get home until the morning of Thanksgiving. At home, Sharon’s being especially nice, but Mary Anne feels like she’s being used as a placeholder for Dawn…Sharon signs a note “mom,” buys her a sweater that looks like Dawn’s style, and takes her to a vegetarian restaurant. I kept waiting Mary Anne to say something to her but it doesn’t happen. Sharon just confesses that she misses Dawn and Jeff, and says that she sometimes wonders if she drove them away. But, Dawn does come for a surprise visit on Thanksgiving and this cheers Sharon up. I guess it’s supposed to be closure for that subplot, but it’s not really that satisfying.

High/Lowlights
  • I could live with the ridiculousness of the BSC getting to meet an actual princess, but the whole set up needs to make some sense. As it is, I’m not sure why the family moved to Connecticut. Her parents are working in NYC at the UN, but they spend more time out of the country than in New York. Why uproot their daughter if they aren’t gaining more time with her?
  • Fortunately, they don’t go the route of having Mary Anne convince the parents to treat Victoria differently, since having a teenager teach members of the British Royal family a lesson is a bit over the top. Even for the BSC.
  • Mary Anne gets the job because she happened to be the one who answered the phone, and Miss Rutherford (Victoria’s nanny, who made the call), just assumed she was talking to the person who would be hired. Surprisingly, no one makes a comment about this to her even though it was always a fight-starter in the early books.
  • So, they make a point of saying how Dawn and her mother don’t eat turkey, but I find this a bit surprising, because we know they both eat fish and chicken.
  • When Kristy says the name of the family that moved in is the Kents, Jessi’s all, “Clark and Lois?” No one says anything about it, but I think it’s a cute side joke.
  • Of course, the princess lives in Kristy’s rich neighborhood. Kristy’s outside playing with a bunch of kids when the moving men are bringing in the Kent’s stuff. First, the kids cheer because they can tell a little kid lives there, the Karen and Hannie cheer because they can tell it’s a girl. (The boys present were obviously disappointed about this). But Kristy’s just all, “clients, yea,” right along with the kids.
  • Their probationary period that started at the end of Kristy’s Worst Idea has officially ended in this one. I know you were all concerned.
  • Kristy seems slightly surprised that the British don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but acknowledges that it makes sense.
  • Sharon invites the royal family and their chauffer over for Thanksgiving dinner. Which seems like a nice gesture, but I’m surprised she wouldn’t be more nervous about it.
  • When the limo picks Mary Anne up to go to the Kent’s house, Mrs. Prezziosso goes outside and takes pictures of it. That really sounds like something she’d do, but I didn’t think they live that close to the Spier/Schafers. When I was a kid and in the BSC fan club, I got a map of Stoneybrook that showed where everyone supposedly live. I kinda wish I still had it.
  • They reference Victoria having to read the book Stone Fox at school, which is supposedly about a boy entering a dogsled race to save the farm he and his sick grandfather live on. I’m pretty sure I made a diorama out of it in fourth grade, unless there’s another book with a kid entering a dogsled race. I can’t remember much else about the book though….
  • Sharron orders her turkey and Thanksgiving food from a gourmet store at the mall. Wouldn’t it be easier to get stuff from a local restaurant?
  • The Chauffer tells Mary Anne that he grew up in Stoneybrook and always thought her house was haunted. You would think Mary Anne would then tell him about the secret passage and all of Dawn’s theories, but she doesn’t.
  • Miss Rutherford thinks that Mary Anne’s last name’s “Mistu,” because when Mary Anne calls her “Mrs.” Miss Rutherford tells her it’s Miss. Then Mary Anne says she’s “Miss, too.” Which is kind of dumb because she had just said she was in middle school, and is obviously not married.
  • There’s this whole misunderstanding where Victoria’s excited to go to an SMS football game because she thinks it’s soccer. I can’t believe no one thinks of this issue ahead of time, especially soccer freak Abby?
  • On one of the night’s Richard’s away, Sharon leaves a note to Mary Anne that she’s thinking of renting a video of a Peter, Paul, and Mary concert, which doesn’t interest Mary Anne in the slightest. I’m wondering if this is supposed to be another sign that Sharon’s thinking of Dawn or a sign of a parent thinking her kids will share their taste in music.
  • Dawn decides to come visit as a surprise to her mom, which I think is nice, but it’s sort of weird that her father bought her a plane ticket before even checking if Sharon was going to be home.
  • Stacey outfit: “A black baseball cap, black sunglasses, and a sleek black, ankle-length coat with sharply padded shoulders."
  • I wish we spent more time on Victoria blowing off Stoneybrook kids to talk to the BSC. It’s always fun to watch Karen be crushed about something.
  • So, at the UN, they go through security and Kristy tells the security people that she was an ambassador from Stoneybrook, which didn’t get a laugh. Unfortunately, we don’t get to hear much else about their reaction.
  • Kristy tries to talk the others out of going to NY with Victoria because it would mean missing a BSC meeting. She needs to learn to relax about those.
  • It’s amusing how excited Victoria gets out of things like going to a mall and eating at Pizza Hut.
  • Victoria asks people to call her “Vic” and attempts to use American slang and an America accent. I don’t know if she does this to piss of her parents or because she just thinks it’s fun, but they definitely hate it.
  • Mary Anne tells Victoria that after she moves back to England she can “email” the friends that she made in CT. It feels weird to see a modern reference in a BSC book. Although, I guess email’s getting to be outdated too…..
  • Mary Anne tells Sharon that all she has to do with the turkey is put it in the oven….so Sharon puts it in, but never turns the oven on. Now, really? How scatterbrained can you get?
  • They are at the Central Park Zoo and Stacey mentions that a polar bear there has been seeing an animal psychologist. That’s so bizarre, I’m guessing it’s true.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is probably the BSC storyline that I thought was the worst of the series. A princess, seriously ? I didn't even bother to read it...

SJSiff said...

I can see forgetting to turn the oven on if you're also doing a bunch of other stuff, but not if that's one of three things (turn oven on, put turkey in oven, take turkey out).

Laura said...

I don't know how close the Spiers live to Mallory but I thought the Prezziosos lived closer to the Barretts and Pikes because Jenny was able to make it over to the Pikes' (on the day Dawn, Stace and Claudia were having a Pike/Barrett picnic at the Pikes' in Dawn and the Impossible Three) all on her own without Mrs. P. screaming bloody murder because she couldn't find Jenny (who was only three at that point.) This makes me think it's a short distance from Prezziosos' to Pikes'.

I've just remembered though that in a couple of the books Dawn is asked to sit for the Pikes because she lives close would never need a ride over. (Little Miss Stoneybrook ... and Dawn and Dawn's Wicked Stepsister come to mind.)

I would've LOVED to have that map. (I'd love to have one now, too, come to that.) I'm forever trying to figure out where everything is in Stoneybrook.

I also would've thought Sharon would be more nervous about cooking Thanksgiving Dinner all on her own, especially for strangers.

And what's with MA being okay with going over to Kristy's and interrupting both of their TD celebrations with their families, which would be the only time they'd get for family that day, considering they were already planning a BSC/charges get together for the afternoon? (Not to mention missing time with her own father whom she hadn't seen in weeks? Maybe I'm just too jaded and cynical but I would've told Victoria no to that, especially since Kristy and Karen were coming over later.)

I thought it was pretty crappy of Sharon to treat MA as a substitute Dawn. And doesn't she know MA as MA by now? (Like when she'd made Dawn favourite casserole but also made lasagna for Richard and MA?)

And what was with her calling herself MA's mom? (Not that she isn't but SHE ISN'T. Mary Anne is her daughter but she's not MA's mom.) I don't know what MA, Dawn, Richard and Sharon's conversation about what MA and Dawn would be calling each step-parent consisted of but MA might've mentioned that she only wanted to think of Alma as 'mom'. And I'd hope that Sharon would be respectful of that.

And then Sharon says that if MA were gone she'd act the same way. What? Does she mean if MA were gone and Dawn were there, she'd turn Dawn into MA? 'Cause somehow I don't see that happening. Or does she mean that she'd go out and like borrow Kristy or Claudia for a few weeks and buy them clothes out of the L.L. Bean catalogue and make them read Wuthering Heights and watch Roman Holiday?

Wow, I guess I had a few more thoughts about this volume than I realized.

miserychick2602 said...

Just how rich are Dawn's folks that they can afford all these trips? And why doesn't Jeff come along to occassionally?

Pink Kiss Candy said...

I read Stone Fox in either 3rd or 4th grade too, it was pretty good until the end....well happy end for the farm, but something still happened that left me depressed.

wanderingfrog said...

I`m reading Mary Anne and Camp BSC right now, and they asked Mrs. Prezzioso to be one of the adults "on call" in case of emergency during Camp BSC (held at Dawn and MA's) because she lives nearby and is home during the day. So then I looked at the maps from both The Complete Guide to the BSC and the 1990 calendar, and they both have the Prezziosos' house situated directly next to Dawn and MA's.

Re: the turkey thing, though, in Mary Anne and Camp BSC they are eating turkey dogs at the cookout specifically because Dawn won't eat beef or pork hot dogs!

Anonymous said...

I always thought that the whole Jeff thing was kind of odd too. I mean before Dawn moved to CA for good Jeff only came back on some weekends and Dawn would go to CA durning the summer to see her "dad and Jeff". Wouldn't Sharon want to see her son more then a few days a year? Once Dawn moved for good she and Jeff were both coming home on holidays and summers. But they still made it seem ,to me anyway, that Sharon only really liked Dawn.

I also thought that it was odd on how even though they were a "family" MA would only go to her dad for things and Dawn only went to her mom. In MA's makeover Richard had no problem paying for a new haircut and stuff without even talking about it first with Sharon. Did they just keep all the money and things seperate and as far as the kids were concerned it was still his and hers. I have never been in a step family before so I don't know if this is normal but it always seemed strange. Like Sharon buying the sweater for MA, she makes it sound like Sharon has never bought her anything before, but that Sharon would spend that kind of money on Dawn all the time. It just seemed like they really were two familys who happened to live in the same house.

BTW great job on the blog. I love it!

Anonymous said...

i can relate to Victoria not wanting to make friends because i moved a lot as a kid so i liked this book as a kid

Lucy said...

Why, in BSC-land, are all British people either royalty or descendants of Shakespeare? Can't Brits just be British without being shoehorned into a stereotype? I suppose next you'll be telling me they all drive black cabs as well ;-)

Anonymous said...

Stone Fox is a fantastic book that completely crushed my soul in 3rd grade. I would highly recommend reading it even at this age.

Stephie said...

It's kind of unrelated, but the mention of Victoria getting confused about football being American football rather than soccer reminded me of one of the books where they claim the Hobart boys have the same problem. That really bugged me because, unlike in England, in Australia soccer is soccer while football is either Australian Rules football or rugby (league or union) depending on what league you follow (often determined by what state you live in). Factual errors like that always really annoyed me!

It also bugged me that, although MA was her babysitter, Abby suddenly became her special friend when they were in London. While I know MA didn't go (which I think pissed Victoria off big time), I never understood where her connection with Abby came from.

Moxie said...

The premise of this book is sooo ridiculous! A princess? Really?!

I also don't really get why they don't eat turkey. I try not to eat red meat unless there's no other choice and I always substitute it for beef. And yeah, Dawn and Sharon have eaten chicken before so why not turkey?

I really wish they would decide what level of meat eating they are. And I wish it would be just no red meat so they wouldn't be so insufferable.

hobbes12 said...

I have that map at home!! I LOVED that thing, it's starting to fall apart actually. It's not very accurate though...it shows each house in detail, but on Kristy's and Mary Anne's old houses, it shows a garage facing one of them...even though their bedroom windows supposedly looked right into each other! Locations are also pretty inaccurate on the map, but oh well. It was still awesome.

Anonymous said...

The polar bear bit IS true. It was really sad but apparently he wasn't stimulated enough. Re the location of the Farmhouse/Pikes/Prezziosos, in The Ghost at Dawn's House it was established that Dawn's house is only 2 blocks away from the Pikes (which is why Nicky thought hiding in the passage was ok) and then in The Fire at Mary Anne's house I'm pretty sure that the Prezziosos are the ones that call the fire department so it seems consistent that while the Prezziosos live closer to Dawn/MA, it's not terribly far from the Pikes.

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