Saturday, July 12, 2008

“Oh, go choke on an alfalfa sprout”……BSC # 60: Mary Anne’s Makeover

Memory Reaction

This is one I read so many times, that even though I probably have the book memorized, I probably don’t remember what I really thought of it as a kid. I always loved it though. It seemed like a slightly more “mature” plot, and was one of the books that made being thirteen seem like it was going to be like the greatest year of my life. Maybe if I had gotten to do it over and over again like Mary Anne, I would have eventually done it better.

Revisited Reaction

This is one of the books that highlights how bitchy 13-year-old girls are. In other words, it is one of the more realistic portrayals of teenagers. At least, it is when you are comparing it to books about 13-year-olds who like to throw parties for little kids. The drama starts when Mary Anne sees a picture of a short haircut that she likes and the rest of the BSC laughs in her face. But, in a rare moment of boldness, she decides she wants to surprise everyone with the cut anyway. She gets the cut, plus some make up and new clothes and everyone (minus the BSC) tells her she looks great.

Then, all her really awesome friends find out she dared to cut her hair without their permission and tell her they hate it. Not in so many words, but they tell her not to worry, it will grow back, and ask her what she was thinking getting it cut when they told her not to. Mary Anne doesn’t really want to deal with their bitchiness, so she starts hanging out with Logan a lot and even stops going to BSC meetings. THEN the girls get pissy with her for spending time with her boyfriend over people who are treating her like shit.

Throughout all this, we keep hearing about how there are all these rumors going around school that some random high school likes Mary Anne and wants to go to a dance with her. She thinks the BSC started them, and meanwhile the BSC believes them and thinks less of her, once again proving what horrible friends they are. The rumors turn out to have been started by Sabrina Bouvier, who actually ends up at the dance with the guy. I think this is all in there because Mary Anne said early on Sabrina was being nicer to her that Dawn and Kristy, so when she finds out Sabrina was spreading rumors about her, it was to show how great the BSC is. Even though they were just as bitchy. But anyway, the girls all make up at the end, although Mary Anne is the one who has to basically grovel for their forgiveness. She actually apologizes to them for getting her hair cut.

The lame subplot is about how Carolyn Arnold is trying to build a time machine and is taking money from kids to send them on trips. But she ends up giving them the money back and everyone has fun pretending, so it is all good. And they get in some good Back to the Future references, so those chapters aren’t totally a waste. Actually, who am I kidding? I love any time travel stories, even pretend time travel ones in the BSC.


  • This doesn’t seem like a (pre-makeover) Mary Anne outfit: “teal-colored stirrup pants and a bulky ski sweater with a colorful snowflake print, over a pink turtleneck.” It does, however, sound like something I would have worn in fifth or sixth grade. Man, that is embarrassing to admit.
  • Claudia apparently can look good in weird combinations, like “A slouch hat, a sequenced vest, an oversized button-down shirt, stirrup pants, and lace up boots.”
  • The dress Mary Anne wears to the dance: “A fiery red, off-the-shoulder crepe dress, with shirred sleeves, a fitted bodice, and a skirt that flared to mid-calf.” Would you think less of me if I said I wanted that dress?
  • Other post makeover clothes include: “An oversized, indigo cable-knit sweater; and a pair of floral print Lycra leggings with a French terry top.”
  • Dawn’s first words when she sees Mary Anne’s hair (a good ten minutes after Sharon tells her it looks good), “I can’t believe you got your hair cut.” Then she tells Logan about it after Mary Anne specifically says she wants to surprise him. Bitch.
  • Seriously, who tells someone who just got a haircut, “well, it will grow out” unless that person doesn’t like it themselves. Unless, it just looks so hideous that you have to tell them. And since Cokie Mason tells Mary Anne her hair looks “fantastic,” I think we have to believe it does.
  • Ha. When Claudia writes in the club notebook after sitting for Carolyn, she says, “I don’t understand time travel. Can someone explain it for me in easy terms?” Idiot.
  • Mary Anne has a mean streak. She finally confronts Dawn, who tells her she has a boy hair cut and clown makeup. So Mary Anne tells her to “go choke on an alfalfa sprout.”
  • Dawn’s dress for the dance: “It was made of black velvet, with a sheet bodice trimmed with beading and lace, and a flared, above knees skirt.”
  • Dawn goes to the dance with Pete Black. So, now he has dated Claudia, Stacey, and Dawn? Am I missing anyone?
  • The boys all wear tuxes to the dance. In 8th grade? Really? I guess it is possible they have a formal, but you would think that would be at the end of the year or around the holidays (that was when my school had our biggest dances). This book takes place in January.
  • There is this weird thing at the end, where Mary Anne is describing what people are wearing to the dance and she starts using last names. Like, “Kristy Thomas took off her heels,” and “Claudia Kishi was wearing a lame outfit,” and “Stacey McGill had a slinky gown.” What other Kristy, Claudia, and Stacey would she be talking about?

  • Logan is lame. If he could use a time machine, he would go back to the first time he saw Mary Anne because “he liked that feeling.” Okay, that is sweet, but what thirteen-year-old boy says that?

  • Dawn says one of the reasons she was upset about the haircut, is Mary Anne went to the mall with her dad, and Dawn misses her dad. And Mary Anne apologizes. It is not her problem if Dawn misses her dad, SHE shouldn’t not spend time with her own father because of how Dawn feels.
  • After weeks of not talking, Kristy and Dawn finally tell Mary Anne they like her hair. Great friends. I can see why Mary Anne was so eager to make up with them.


colleenn said...

What I remember the most about this book for some reason is the "boy haircut and clown makeup" comment. Also, when I was 11-ish I so had bright pink leggings and a blue turtleneck and a big oversized black sweatshirt with blue, pink, and purple writing on it. And of course a matching pink scrunchie in my hair. That is beyond embarrassing to admit now. So is the fact that I am just as bad as Mary Anne about apologizing for things that are not my fault at all, and I'm twice her age.

Annnd, sorry for the shameless plug, but after much fear and hesitation, I just launched my own little blog last week, thanks to inspiration from this and other fun blogs I've read. So, feel free to check out my Classic Nickelodeon blog, at It's another time-waster for the work day, anyway.

BadKat said...

I remember that alfalfa line. A few months ago I got my hair cut up to my shoulders (not short really). Some jealous chick I know mumbled something about a boy hair cut after like 10 people told me how cute it was. This book just reeked of that same envy.

We had a formal in 8th grade. Mostly it was the girls dresses up. The boys showed up as is or maybe put on a polo and some wrinkled Dockers.

BadKat said...

Colleenn - NICE! I am automatically requesting many Salute your Shorts, Pete and Pete, and Hey Dude!!

SJSiff said...

Oh, this is wierd...I've been knitting a lot, which means I've been watching movies while I knit. I just watch all three Back to the Futures, all three Terminators, and the two Star Treks that my husband has: IV and First Contact. All time travel movies. And then you review the only (I think) BSC book with time travel in it!
(And one of my favorites. When I reread them in order, I slog through most of the forties and fifties waiting for good ol' number 60)

Anonymous said...

I must say, I've never read this book. But after reading all about this book here, on claudia's room and on bsc livejournal, I feel as though I have read it. I must check it out of the library to get a true feel for the bitchy cat-fights!

Colleenn--I hereby request you blog about the show Fifteen. My family were absolulte obsessed with Fifteen, and every now and then I decide to send an email to Nickelodeon requesting it be released to DVD. No such luck...I've never even gotten a form letter reply >:(

Anonymous said...

I remember reading this when I was younger. I think this helped turn me OFF being a BSC fan. However, I cannot say for certain whether or not MA's haircut inspired me to get my own long hair cut short during seventh grade ;)

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

nikki--When I was in High School I got into this fight with my friend about whether that show was called "fifteen" or "sixteen." I kept saying "fifteen" and she thought I was wrong. I now feel totally validated, thank you!

colleenn said...

Nikki and Kristen - yes, the show is definitely called Fifteen. It had mean-girl Brooke, her friend who I think was named Kelly, her little brother who was the Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place guy, smart-girl Ashley, kinda-geeky Jake, popular-guy Matt, and rebel Dylan (though I may be making those last two names up). I would so definitely recap it if I can track it down because I'm sure looking back it's got to be just as delightfully awful as Degrassi. It's got to exist out there somewhere.

Anonymous said...

You know, whenever they talked about this book in future books, they'd always say that Mary Anne used to be super shy and really little-girly until she stood up to her father and got a makeover... which is totally what I always thought this book was going to be OK! Clearly that was just the other BSC members misremembering their own bitchiness. Or maybe the ghostwriters never bothered to read it :D

Anonymous said...

Well Colleenn, if you ever find Fifteen, please let me know. My sister and I have been searching for it for years! It was a completely horrible, but wonderfully addictive show.
Ryan Reynolds played Billy... He's super-hot now!

Anonymous said...

I love this blog- I read the Babysitters Club books from about age 8 until I was at least 15, sad to say!!! These reviews are great- to think we actually read all these and loved 'em!

MaybeSomeday said...

I read this one for the first time last year and it made me so angry. The BSC girls fight so much and Mary Anne has had her fair share of bitchy moments, but all of them were so awful to her in this book. And Dawn -- STFU!

When I had my hair chopped off a few months back, everyone said they liked it -- even my friends. Then I was showing off how bouncy it was, whipping my head arounf like a model, and pulled something. They laughed at that. Who could blame them? :-)

Clara Cupcakes said...

After reading this book I told my mum I wanted, no NEEDED a cable knit sweater. She was so confused.

Anonymous said...

This one confused me because I didn't understand why the BSC were mad at Mary Anne. She cut her hair and bought new clothes.

Unknown said...

This is the book that shows my hatred for dawn. In fact had turned me from being a total dawn fan to now hating her guts. But i do read the california diaries though because there were other or in fact everyone except dawn who had real life issues(sunny's mom dying, ducky being gay or whatever, amalia getting abused,maggie being pressured) yeah.

also really dawn, mary anne was spending time with her father and wanted to change herself yet you acted like it was evolved around you.

im so glad mary anne made that alfalfa comment. it was so worth it.

man i can't stand dawn. and to think i was a faN of that bitch. but now ill pick abby over dawn anytime.

Lola said...

I just stumbled across your blog, and I absolutely love it - I was obsessed with these books when I was younger (Dawn was my favorite until I realized that she's completely neurotic), but I only read up to the forties, so your recaps fill me in on everything I've missed. Sidenote: Mary Anne needs to toughen up. Seriously.

And I hear you about how irritating the inconsistancies are - hell, I'd gladly step in as a BSC ghostwriter. But the biggest one I've noticest was in Mary Anne's Makeover: so bitchy Sabrina Bouvier was the one spreading rumors about the high school guy, that she herself ended up dating...I am next to positive that Sabrina Bouvier was the one who won the Little Miss Stoneybrook Pageant, which - in good ol' ageless Stonybrook - would make her about ten. Suck on that, ghostwriters.

Keep up the great work!

Marian said...

I just can't stop laughing at the "oh, go choke on an alfalfa sprout" line. That is just so un-Mary Anne.

edkchestnut said...

Yeah, I don't get why they were all mad at her, either. I guess in BSC world, anything you did without permission was subject to serious bitchiness. In their defense, they did tell her not to do it. Guess she learned her lesson.

Anonymous said...

You're forgetting Pete also tried dating Laine in Stacey's Ex-best friend

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! Please keep up the great work! I haven't read this one before but really wish I had. The bsc could be so messed up sometimes. I think I cycled through having each bsc member as a favorite character at least once, except Claudia and Mallory. I could never understand how Claudia could relentlessly complain about school and misspell the word 'the', whichim pretty sure happened...and I disliked Mallory because she was Mallory.

I think its Gunther that Sabrina Bouvier was in the beauty pageant and then goes to Stoneybrook Middle School. Maybe that time machine of Carolyn's actually worked? In which case, there was an unusually brilliant ghostwriter or a convenient save :P