Tuesday, March 24, 2009

“You have to be at least somewhat secure to be an individual”…..BSC # 50: Dawn’s Big Date

Memory Reaction

This is slightly embarrassing. My biggest memory from this book has to do with Dawn making a bunch of healthy food to give to Logan’s cousin. The reason I remember that is because shortly after reading this book, I declared to my parents I was going to stop eating meat. And when my mom asked what I would eat for protein, I was all “they describe vegetarian food in the Baby-sitters club. We can make that.” For the record, I’m still a vegetarian, but I never actually food that Dawn describes.

I also remember how Dawn was too embarrassed to call a guy and wish him happy New Year (the other older BSC girls all do it). I am sure I felt all defensive over her thinking it was bad to not want to call a guy when you are in middle school. Cause, I would have been too scared to do it then.

Revisited Reaction

Dawn is feeling insecure because she doesn’t have a boyfriend, and she actually makes it her New Years resolution to “get a boyfriend.” Cause she is so independent and all. Luckily, Logan’s cousin Lewis is coming to town, and since he and Dawn had been writing letters back and forth, they are supposed to meet. Dawn decides to use this as an opportunity to “practice” getting a guy to like her. Then she plans to find herself a real man in Stoneybrook.

As part of this plan, Dawn decides she needs a makeover. This involves curling her hair, wearing a bunch of makeup, and turning her “California casual” wardrobe into wanna-be sluttish clothes. Mary Anne helps her with this, and also gives her a bunch of teen magazine articles about dating. From this, Dawn decides she needs a personality makeover as well, and starts acting ever weirder than usual. She also does things like talking back to her teacher in class, and sounding altogether fake.

She meets Lewis, and he basically decides she is a weird little freak and can’t get away from her fast enough. They end up double-dating with Mary Anne and Logan, and the whole thing is a disaster. Then Mary Anne and Dawn get into this fight about it. But then Dawn decides to be herself, and she calls Lewis and apologizes for acting all weird. Then they have another date that goes well, and he gives her her first kiss. Then Dawn decides she doesn’t even want a local boyfriend cause she loves Lewis.

Subplot: The BSC has new clients in this one – Norman Hill (who is “overweight”) and his sister Sarah (who is totally mean to him). Norman’s parents try to put him on a diet, but the kid ignores it. And the BSC totally let him. So much for being good baby-sitters, huh?. But, they do get him to talk to his parents. Who then decide that if they want their son to lose weight, they shouldn’t buy Oreos and potato chips.


  • Heh, I remember this part. Dawn and Mary Anne can’t agree on what to make as snacks for a New Years Eve slumber party…so they have a contest to see whose food gets eaten. It is a tie, in case you were curious.
  • Claudia: “She was wearing maroon leggings and ballet slippers under an oversized yellow shirt. Around her waist she wore this great belt that she made herself from three thin stripes of leather tried together and decorated with ceramic beads.” I once tried to wear ballet slippers out of the house, and my mom didn’t let me. But I am sure I wanted to be like Claud. She always wore those things.
  • Stacey: “A form-fitting purple dress and pink tights with black stripes.”
  • Dawn: “Black leggings and a big blue top lined with fleece.” This is pre-makeover.
  • Claud: “Had tied her hair up in a high ponytail wih this silver netting around it. She was wearing wide black pants and a top with a silver moon appliquéd on the front.
  • Jessi says this is the first time she was allowed to stay up until midnight on New Years Eve. It is times that that when you remember how young they are really supposed to be. Although, is it really realistic? I am almost positive the first time I stayed up was 1990…which would have put me at 9 ½. Sometimes I think they make Jessi and Mal sound like they are sooo young to draw a contrast with the other girls.
  • So, in this book, Cam Geary puts out his first album. And he totally sucks. Even Mary Anne has trouble saying it is good. Actors putting out albums? Shocking.
  • Why would an 8th grader get a week off in January?
  • Dawn cuts slits in the top of a bunch of shirts so she can wear them off-the-shoulder. Wouldn’t her mom get pissed about her ruining a bunch of clothes?
  • Claudia says she is glad she can eat all she wants and not gain weight. She should really keep thoughts like that to herself.
  • Dawn’s in school and her science teacher gives a pop quiz. Dawn wants to seem cool, so she fails on purpose – saying heavy metal and pop are two kinds of igneous rock. I thought it was such an awful thing to fail on purpose.
  • I remember this, Dawn makes a mini skirt by cutting up a pair of gray sweatpants, and patching it with material from a flowered shirt she ripped up I wonder if she was actually able to do a decent job sewing it?
  • Dawn gets offended because Claudia doesn’t like her new look. I don’t really think she should take Claud’s opinion to seriously.
  • Dawn’s outfit to meet Lewis: Black ballet slippers; black Capri leggings; a short metallic silver skirt with all this crinoly stuff underneath that made it puff out; a strechy, tight, black and white striped top with long sleeves.” She also wears rubber bangle bracelets and long earrings, and put her hair in a bunch of braids. And this is just for a drive to the airport.
  • Norman Hill’s parents kinda suck. He brings home a good report card, and his dad says, “How come a smart kid, can’t lose weight?”
  • Mary Anne gets a little obnoxious in this one. She keeps telling Dawn to read teen-dating-advice columns, then says, “Well, I don’t need to read them cause Logan likes me the way I am.”
  • One last crazy Dawn outfit: “Tie-dyed tights, [her] mini-skirt, and a tie-dyed T-shirt.” Then puts a bunch of braids in her hair, but only down to the chin, then let her hair hang lose from there.
  • On their last date, Mary Anne, Dawn, Logan, and Lewis, go bowling and Mary Anne wins.
  • Dawn seems surprisingly mature when she tells Lewis she was only trying to impress him. And Lewis reacts to it surprisingly well.


HelenB said...

"Black ballet slippers; black Capri leggings; a short metallic silver skirt with all this crinoly stuff underneath that made it puff out; a strechy, tight, black and white striped top with long sleeves.”

This is something I would have thought to be totally subversive when I was 15 or so.

This is why Dawn irritates me - she's meant to be the individual one, but she seems to care what people think even more than MA and Mal, both of whom have pretty low self-esteem at times. Couldn't they have just found another label for her, if she had to be labelled?!

Sadako said...

Oh yeah. At least when Mary Anne got a makeover, she didn't change her personality for a guy. Well, she did hang out with Logan more but only b/c he was the only one not being a total snot to her.

The irony in calling Dawn an individual is that she's the only one who's changed herself this much to impress guys, AND goes out of her way to condemn others.

Amiee said...

Dawn was my favourite character back in the day but I'm not sure how she'd fare if I re-read them.
Great recap, I remembered similar things about this book and I remember thinking she looked very 'sophisticated' on the cover! Reading some of the other outfit descriptions though...ew.

nikki said...

Um, I totally want that Dawn outfit. The one with the black capris and silver skirt. It's completely NOT me, but still part of me thinks it's awesome.

God, Norman Hill's parents totally suck. You'd think that people who are so hateful towards fat people wouldn't have had so many snacks in the house to begin with, creating a fat child. What did they do, wake up one day and realize he was fat? And Do they even care that they named him Norman?

Sadako said...


Hey, just left you an award on my blog.

HelenB said...

I just realised I never added that from now on I'm going to picture Cam Geary as a young William Shatner.

Anonymous said...

I could not STAND Norman Hill's parents! They really pissed me off even back then!

Devika said...

Oh my god this is one of my fave BSC books! I still read it when I'm at my parents' house. I never understood the part when they went to the movies and Mary Anne kept kicking Dawn and trying to get her to laugh and suck up to him. Cos MA is so great at conversation with dudes. Whatever!

Molly said...

What I remember most about this book is how fucking cruel the BSC was about Norman. When they first met him, the narrative was like "He wasn't chubby, stout, husky or big-boned, he was FAT!!!"

Stephanie said...

My parents had strict bedtimes for us (I think my bedtime was 9:00 pm until I was in high school), but man, even my parents let me stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve pretty much since I was born. I find it really unrealistic that Jessi "I can watch my baby siblings for an entire weekend" Ramsey isn't allowed to do so until she's 11.

Andrea said...

I love the BSC member Dawn and Mary Anne. But now, since I've read your blog, I don't like any of them. Especially when I read that she put on the "GENIUS INSIDE" shirt. By the way, I've never understood why Claudia loved over-sized and overly baggy outfits. And does she really look great in every outfit she wears? (One book said, I think it was Stacey's, that Claudia would look gorgeous even in a brown paper bag). Anyway, I hate Norman's parents and Dawn is totally not my favorite anymore since I have found out that she would do anything for a guy (I don't like guys. At all. Maybe that because I'm mainly 13?)Sorry to make this so long.

edkchestnut said...

I don't believe the ghostwriters understood what it meant to "be an individual." I think they just regurgitated AMM's previous descriptions and did whatever they wanted to the end that it ruined the characters--especially Dawn.