I didn’t read this as a kid, but I did read it a few years ago…after I was inspired to re-read the series, but before I starting blogging about it. That doesn’t totally count as a memory, but I miss writing this section, so I’m counting it. I just remember thinking it was really obvious Mary Anne was going to save someone at the end. Even more obvious than what’s typical with these books.
This book starts with the BSC, Sharon, and Richard at the airport, waiting for Dawn and Jeff to fly in from California for the summer. The plan’s delayed, so they go to the cafeteria to kill some time. Some guy there starts choking and Sharon runs over, gives him the Heimlich, and saves his life. Mary Anne feels bad because when the guy starting choking she was frozen and thinks she’d be useless in a crisis. This is when you know that there will be a crisis by the end of the book, where Mary Anne saves the day. If you didn’t already know that based on the title. The incident leads to the whole club taking a first aid course for teens. But, Mary Anne still thinks she’d fall apart in an emergency.
After a few sessions, Mary Anne and Dawn are sitting for the Hsus and the Kormans, at the Kormans’ pool. Linnie and Hannie Papadakis show up at one point too. Their (adult) next-store neighbor is around as well, because the Kormans only let the kids swim when an adult’s around. But the neighbor, Mr. Sinclair, goes inside to get a drink, which gives Timmy Hsu time to wander into the deep end of the pool, despite not being able to swim. Mary Anne gets to be all awesome…she jumps into the pool fully dressed, pulls Timmy out, and gives him CPR. The other kids do help her pull Timmy out of the pool, after she has dragged him up from the bottom of the pool, but it’s still a cool moment for her. By this point, Dawn has called 911 and the neighbor has come back outside. But, they say Mary Anne saved her life and everyone congratulates her. And she gets over her fear. At least somewhat.
Meanwhile, Logan tells Mary Anne that his father’s sending him to boarding school in New Hampshire. Mr. Bruno went there as a kid and claims it “changed his life.” He’s also sending Logan to a month-long survival camp for a month at the end of summer. He doesn’t want to go, but says there’s nothing he can do about it. Mary Anne’s upset (obviously) and keeps telling Logan to talk to his parents. Logan says his dad won’t listen and his mother will just go along with whatever his dad says. They keep arguing and Mary Anne keeps crying about it. Eventually, after getting courage from her rescue, she convinces him to talk to his parents. Logan tells them how he doesn’t want to go and that his life is already great in Stoneybrook. He manages to convince his mother, who convinces his dad to let him stay.
- Claudia outfit: “She was wearing an old-fashioned felt hat, a billowy button-down white shirt, a super-wide tie hand-painted with a sunset, cuffed khaki shorts, and brown-and-white bucks with knee-high white socks.”
- I’m not a big fan of the implication that Mr. Bruno can decide to send Logan to boarding school, and his mother just has to go along with what he wants. Granted, she ends up changing Mr. Bruno’s mind at the end, so I guess I can’t complain too much.
- When Logan’s dad says he already put a deposit down on the boarding school, his mom says, “we’ll I’ll pay for that with MY earnings.” It comes off as a bit sexist too me, even if I don’t have an issue with married couples having separate bank accounts.
- The first-aid instructor’s named Shelley Golden. So after her introduction, we get to hear the male students introduce themselves....Alan Gray, Pete Black…then Irv something who calls himself Little Boy Blue. The BSC finds this really obnoxious, but I thought it was slightly amusing. I guess I’m immature.
- Fun fact: Logan’s dad is named Lyman.
- During this book, the BSC goes to Stoneybrook’s Firefighters Fair, yet another annual event we haven’t heard of before. I’m not 100% sure what the point of it is…normally I’d think something like that would be a fundraiser, but it seems to just be a carnival type event with a demonstration of putting a fire out.
- In addition to the Firefighters Fair, Stoneybrook has its first ever Safety Day in this book. The kids taking the first aid class gets to be involved as victims in the staged first aid demonstration. Dawn volunteers Mary Anne to play victim, after she said she didn’t want to do it multiple times. Than later, when Mary Anne says she didn’t have a good time, Dawn’s all, “If you didn’t want to do it, why’d you volunteer?” Then later Mary Anne apologizes for snapping at Dawn.
- Okay, so Dawn says she’s sorry too, so it’s not quite as bad as it could be. But Mary Anne apologizing unnecessarily is a definite trend with Mary Anne and Dawn fights.
- When Mary Anne voices her concern to Dawn about not being good in a crisis, Dawn reminds her how she “saved the day” with Jenny Prezzioso way back when. I like that staying cool in a crisis seems to be something they’ve kept consistent for Mary Anne, even if it’s not how most people describe her.
- After the safety demo, Mary Anne’s takes a shower to wash all the fake blood off, then finds Dawn waiting in her room to see why she’s upset. Mary Anne asks for privacy so she can change, and Dawn’s all, “I’m your sister.” That seems a bit too comfortable for them.
- Jamie Newton cried at the Safety Festival because he saw Mary Anne lying in a pool of blood (as part of the demo) and thought she died. And I guess afterwards they didn’t let him see that Mary Anne was okay? Then Claudia sits for him the next day, and Mrs. Newton says that she’ll trust Claudia’s judgment about whether he should go to the Firefighters Fair as well? I think it was pretty obvious he shouldn't have gone….Claudia had to take him home early because he couldn't stop crying.
- Do they always have to point out in the narrative text that Claudia can’t spell? I think we all know that by now, just have her notebook pages have errors and don’t comment on it.
- On a baby-sitting job, Abby ends up having a bike-safety session. When the kids tell her using hand signals is dorky, she asks them if wearing a helmet’s dorky. When they say no, she tells them how people used to not want to wear helmets because they were worried about it. This is when I feel old, because when I was a kid people hated when they suddenly starting making people wear helmets.
- At the Firefighters Fair, some woman criticizes Claud for having the Newton kids there. Which, was a valid point, even if she was rude about it. And even if it was more Mrs. Newton’s fault that Claud’s. But anyway, wouldn't a “fair” logically imply that it is a kid-friendly event? So, why have a demo that isn’t something kids should see?
- Mary Anne says that Wuthering Heights is her favorite book. I could have sworn it was Little Women in earlier books.
- Dawn criticizes Mr. Sinclair for drinking soda, and when he switches to lemonade, she tells Mary Anne that’s probably still a mix and has too much sugar. At least he’s trying, Dawn. Relax a little.
- When Logan tells his parents he and Mary Anne have to talk to him, Mr. Bruno goes “you’re not getting married, are you?” I would think his first guess would be a pregnancy, but they probably didn’t want to even suggest sex existed in these books.