Friday, April 19, 2013

“It was the way he was smiling that bothered me”…….BSC # 99: Stacey’s Broken Heart

Memory Reaction

This is the last BSC book I read as a kid, so it’s kind of a sad-ish memory for me.  Which is weird, because at the time I wasn’t upset about giving them up.  I just remember reading the excerpt from the next book, where Kristy suggests they disband the club, and deciding I didn’t want to read it.  I was way too old to be reading them at that point anyway.

But for this book itself, I remember a scene where some girl they go to school with called Stacey at Claudia’s house (during a club meeting) to tell her she saw Robert with another girl.  I thought it was unrealistic/dumb that someone would know to call Stacey there at the right time.  I was also not happy with the fact that Andi was the girl Robert cheated with, because I really liked her in earlier books, and wanted her and Stacey to stay friendly, even though Andi’s other friends were bitches.

Revisited Reaction

It's the end of summer and Stacey’s enjoying hanging out with Robert.  They run into Andi Gentile, a girl Stacey used to be friends with.  But Stacey doesn't like hanging out with Robert's “popular” friends so they leave. The next day, Stacey tries to call Robert but his sister tells her she went to play basketball with the guys.  She goes to watch, because Claudia’s working on an art project, and Stacey apparently can't spend an afternoon alone.  The problem is Robert’s not there and his friends haven’t heard from him.  Robert later explains he was playing with a different guy, at a different place.  Stacey sort of believes him.....then Emily Bernstein calls and tells her she saw Robert at the mall with another girl.  Stacey ends up following Robert to the mall to see if he's meeting another girl, but he's only there with Pete Black.  She's still a little worried about the whole thing.

Meanwhile, Stacey gets an offer to take a week long baby-sitting job in NYC, for the Walkers, a family that she used to sit for. She's worried about leaving Robert, but excited to go to the city, so she takes it.  She of course loves being in the city and loves the kids she sitting for, so she has a great time.  She also hangs out some with this guy Ethan, who’s working for the couple she's sitting for (they’re setting up an art show).   About mid-week, Claudia calls her to say she saw Robert kissing Andi.  Stacey's heartbroken of course, and doesn't know what to do, but gradually starts to feel better.  When she gets home, Andi’s waiting to tell her she and Robert just kept running into each other and ended up hooking up. Then Robert comes over and they break up officially.  

The subplot’s focused on Abby filling in for Kristy as BSC President, while Kristy's in Hawaii.  Abby decides to not care if people are late to meetings, to only collect dues every other week, and has all sorts of wild ideas.  She also wants to prove she can't handle the job, so she organizes a Mexican Festival to have for the kids they sit for.  It ends up almost being a disaster, because Abby's not so great at the planning phase, and I think it’s supposed to teach them all how valuable Kristy is.  Or something.  And they do pull things together at the last minute so the festival’s fairly successful.

  • Stacey says Robert's friends almost get her in trouble for shoplifting, but that's not really the case.  They got her in trouble for drinking at a concert.  They did shoplift, but she was never in danger of getting in trouble for it.
  • Stacey's mom has a rule that Robert can only be in the house when she's not home if they stay in the kitchen.  But they want to play a computer game, which they need to do in the living room.   Stacey's all, what's the difference between the living room and the kitchen?  I'm thinking it's the existence of the couch and how it can be used. But if Stacey doesn't think of that they probably won't be doing anything inappropriate.
  • Stacey does call her mom who says it’s cool for them to go in the living room.
  • In the backstory chapter, Stacey says that a difference between Claudia and Janine’s that Claud’s gorgeous and Janine isn’t.  It seems a bit mean to say it like that. 
  • Regarding the festival...Abby does sort of suck at planning it.  She spends money on art supplies when Claudia had stuff they could have used, she doesn't think about where to have it until they are in the middle of making posters for it, she hangs crappy looking signs that the kids made, etc.  However. No one else really tries to help her.  They've all planned tons of fairs/festivals/whatever, and know what problems they've had in the past, things they've learned, etc.  Abby joined the club 10 books ago.  Of course she might make mistakes or not realize how much time things will really take. 
  • Stacey says that she thinks Mary Anne has the most important job in the BSC - after Kristy.  I think Mary Anne's job’s more important. Kristy's good at planning the big events, but without Mary Anne scheduling, they couldn't book jobs.  The club could live without the events, but not about the appointment/record book.
  • Outfit: “Claudia had on an oversized purple top over turquoise leggings. With fabric paints she’d painted a beautiful unicorn on the top and then decorated the leggings with designs in the same colors.”  I actually don’t think it sounds so bad, even though I’d never wear it myself.
  • Stacey tells us how clothing’s much more important to her in Manhattan because you see such great fashions all over.  And obviously everyone in NYC cares about fashion.  It’s not a diverse city or anything.
  • Aw, Stacey says she thinks her mom’s pretty and she likes when people say they look alike.
  • Stacey goes shopping for back to school clothes, and talks about how she always wears them right away, even though it's still too hot for the warm fall clothes.  I can totally understand this.  I got a spring jacket in January and was dying to wear it for weeks.  I didn't though, because I didn't want to freeze.  That probably makes me less of a fashionista than Stacey.
  • I actually don’t get why they let Abby make so many changes as President.  She was in charge for barely two weeks.  And don’t they normally vote on rule changes?
  • Emily calls Stacey at Claud’s during a BSC meeting to tell her about Robert.  She apologizes for interrupting the meeting but says she didn't have her home number.  First of all, Emily knows what time BSC meetings are?  Why would she care enough to learn that? Second, if she knows Claud’s number, why not call and ask her for Stacey’s number?  It’s kind of mean to tell a girl her boyfriend may be cheating on her in front of six other people.  And last, Emily’s supposed to be smart/studious and she can’t use a phone book?  Good luck with that journalism career, Em. 
  • When Kristy leaves for Hawaii, she gives Abby the number of her hotel in case anything happens. She should lighten up a little....leaving Abby in charge can't be worse than all the times the entire club goes on vacation for two weeks.
  • When Robert and Pete Black are at the mall they go to the movies and see some romantic comedy.  Stacey and Claudia try and follow them but end up seeing some   random action film, because they think that’s what the boys would see.  They all run into each other leaving, and Claudia has to pretend she’s into that kind of thing to explain why they were there.  It’s very sitcom-y.
  • When Stacey reminds Robert they talked about seeing the rom-com together, he tells her that it will be out of theaters by the time she’s back from NY.  Now, not to stereotype, but wouldn’t most teenage boys just skip that kind of movie if his girlfriend wasn’t around?
  • One thing I didn’t remember about this book was how Stacey spent a ton of time in NY with Ethan, her future boyfriend.  I knew she met him in this one from later books, but they spend hours hanging out.  Mostly with the kids she’s sitting for also present, but still. And as soon as she knows for sure Robert’s cheating, a small part of her is hopeful about Ethan.
  • Robert comes to see Stacey before she leaves for New York, and he brings her flowers.  Which, is sweet, but she ends up taking them with her.  Carrying a big bouquet of flowers on a train has got to be a pain.  And if she left them, she wouldn’t have gotten a chance to enjoy them.
  • Stacey says her mom’s cool, because she pretends she has to go make a phone call so that Robert and Stacey have a minute to say good bye alone.  Which means she let them kiss.
  • Mr. McGill takes Stacey out to brunch on her last day, and Stacey says they should go to somewhere near the Natural History Museum.  This is because she wants to say goodbye to the Walkers and they live near the museum.  But why not just say somewhere near the Walkers?  Does she have to name drop a NYC landmark every time she talks?
  • Wasn't Quint's (Jessi’ssorta boyfriend) last name also Walker?  I guess it’s a pretty common name, but I just noticed because the kids Stacey’s sitting for are also African American.
  • Andi’s waiting for Stacey at her house when she gets back from the city.  I can’t figure out how she knew when Stacey was getting home.  I guess Robert could have told her, but he seemed surprised that Stacey had already talked to her.  He’s a 13-year-old boy though, he may just not have known why Andi would ask about that.
  • Stacey’s angsting about the break up, and says how she can’t believe they’re splitting up when she was just writing "Robert and Stacey 2-gether 4-ever" in her notebook.  Did she really think that?  I think a good rule is that if you’re young enough to write “2-gether 4-ever” on something, you’re probably too young to pick your mate for life.
  • Mr. McGill says he got tickets to some Broadway show because he made an intern stand on line for half price tickets.  He said she had nothing else to do.  Now, I don’t have a problem with him having an intern do this, but since when is Mr. McGill into discounts?
  • When Stacey’s talking to her mom about the breakup, Mrs. McGill’s all, “you may reunite someday…look at Mary Anne and Dawn’s parents.”  Which I thought was weird at first, but I guess it could be reassuring without giving false hope.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A closeup look at Stoneybrook

I got a hold of a copy of The Ultimate Guide to the Baby-Sitters Club, and it included a one page map of Stoneybrook, so I thought I would share.  It's really small, but you should be able to download and then zoom in on it.  The quality's not great, but that's from the original image, not my scanner, so it's the best I could do.
When I was a kid I had a Stoneybrook map that I got from one of the fan clubs.  This one is different...there are things on here that didn't exist at that point.  It's pretty similar though, in terms of general layout, at least from what I can remember.

  • I don't know if this is supposed to be to scale, but Kristy's house doesn't look that much farther from the middle school that the rest of the girls' houses are.  
  • The map includes the Stoneybrook Lighthouse, which I thought first showed up in a late Claudia mystery.  But the guide was published around when Kristy's Worst Idea came out, which was much earlier than that.  So, I guess the lighthouse showed up earlier?
  • It's actually a surprisingly thorough map.  I kept looking for people or locations they missed, but everyone/thing I thought of shows up. They even have that racist family and the place where Karen got her hair cut in a little sister book.  
  • From what I can tell, the only person who's house isn't shown is Robert.  Since the guide also lists him as Stacey's current boyfriend, that seems like a pretty big oversight.
  • There's also no doctor's office listed.  I know they reference going to the doctor in the book, but I can't remember a specific name.  It's possible they were in different towns, but since the hospital is right in downtown Stoneybrook, I would think a doctor's office would be.
  • Zingy's shows up, but that was always a store they talked about at the mall, not downtown Stoneybrook.  However, the part of the guide that talks about Washington Mall is missing Zingy's, so it it's a mistake, at least they're consistent.
  • I wish they showed where the Barretts lived before Mrs. Barrett got remarried.
  • If this was a better map they'd have the key arranged in alphabetical order.
  • There's a Stoneybrook Community Center listed as well as a Stoneybrook Civics Center.  Aren't those usually the same thing?
  • The guide itself is actually surprisingly inclusive and thorough.