I've read and laughed hysterically at a thousand of these things, and I just finished my final uni exam for the year a couple of days ago, so I figured that I might have a go at snarking one of these books myself.
My first snark ever, but hopefully not my last! Please be kind!
Before I get started, I hope no one minds if I take this opportunity to get a few things off my chest about the series in general.
1. Don't any of the parents in Stoneybrook have any family members nearby, at all, ever? What I mean is, don't grandparents typically enjoy babysitting their grandchildren? Or aunts and uncles? Or close adult friends? What the hell possesses these people to leave their children in the care of KIDS WHO ARE ONLY A FEW YEARS OLDER THAN THEY ARE?!! I have two things to say about that. One - when I was a child over the age of three, there is no way that I would have ever listened to a 13 year old or an ELEVEN YEAR OLD! Two - professional babysitting agencies do exist, and they always have! With adult babysitters who have qualifications in childcare, who know how to drive in the case of an emergency, and who don't set up "booby traps" and then shit their pants when the dog sets them off. (Mary Anne in the phantom phone calls book - I'm looking at you.)
2. Stacey and Dawn. Fucking hell. You think New York and California are better than Connecticut. WE! GET! IT!!! We fucking get it!!!! Christ!!
3. What the hell is up with Dawn's mother? Wearing mismatched earrings and leaving hedge clippers in the freezer and shit? What the fuck is this woman on? Who does that?
4. Charlie. What the fuck? Does this guy honestly have nothing better to do that chauffer his little sister around every fucking day (either to a meeting or a babysitting gig)? And all for a dollar or two? And what the hell does he do while Kristy is in the meetings? Does he honestly drive home and then straight back to Claudia's again? Or does he just sit in his car twiddling his thumbs for thirty minutes?
5. What the hell, Kishis? Your daughter can't fucking spell words that she should have learned when she was six. But instead of hiring tutors for her and making her SIT DOWN AND FUCKING STUDY, you let her go off to babysitting gigs and art classes every day after school. Call me pessimistic, but the chances of Claudia actually being a professional artist one day are pretty fucking slim. Repeat after me. ART CLASSES ARE A HOBBY! Her school work should come first! In this book, they mention that a C is an acceptable grade for Claudia. So her parents have essentially given up then? "Let's just focus on our one daughter who actually gives a shit, and then talk her into letting her sister sponge off her in their adult years." Great parenting, Kishis!
6. I still don't know who the fuck Abby is. And I don't really care.
Anyway! On to the book! Let's start with the cover.
Logan and Jackie both look 11. Mary Anne looks 28. All of their clothes are ugly, especially Mary Anne's jumper. And Jackie looks far more in love with Logan than Mary Anne does. Moving on.Chapter 1
Mary Anne begins by telling us that it's the last day of summer holidays, they're all starting year 8 for the first time, and it had been an eventful summer. The spiel then begins in the second paragraph.
The Baby-Sitters Club earns "pretty much money", whatever the hell that means. They meet three times a week to "gossip and fool around". Seriously, Ann? You couldn't have chosen a better phrase than that?
Kristy likes sports and has a rich stepfather. Her big event this past summer was that her mother got married. Claudia likes junk food, miraculously isn't obese, and is a fucking dumbass. Her event was that her grandmother had a stroke but is gradually recovering. Dawn is a health-food wench. Her event was that she went to California to visit her dad, and she found a secret passage in her house. Stacey has diabetes. Her event was that she went to New Jersey with Mary Anne and the Pikes and was a total bitch for nine tenths of the book.
Dawn rings Mary Anne's doorbell so that they can walk across the street together. (Seriously?) She was wearing a "pretty snappy outfit - hot-pink shorts with a big, breezy island-print shirt over a white tank top", which actually sounds surprisingly okay. Mary Anne checks the mailbox and actually SHRIEKS because Sixteen
has arrived and Cam Geary is on the cover. (I only discovered about a week ago that Cam Geary isn't real. I'm not even kidding.) Dawn remarks on how much Mary Anne has changed over the summer, and they go to Claudia's. I am flabbergasted - they actually say hello to Janine!
Anyway, Claudia passes around the usual junk food, including gumdrops and pretzels from her pillowcase. Can you say "ouch"? We then get two paragraphs on the notebook and the record book, of course. And then the girls do something miraculous which nearly causes me to fall off my chair - they actually act like normal teenagers for about thirty seconds and talk about celebrities! Apparently Cam Geary is dating some chick called Corrie Lalique, who looks older than 14 because she has breasts.
Mrs. Prezzioso calls and the bitches all groan. Mary Anne takes the job as usual, because she's the only one who can tolerate a perfectly nice child who doesn't like to play in the mud. The horror!
They then get several more calls in a row, and the last meeting of the summer comes to an end.Chapter 2
Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey all walk to school together. Mary Anne has all new stationery (which was always my favourite thing about the first day of school), a Cam Geary poster for her locker, and some chewing gum for sticking it up, because tape is apparently not allowed. Fucking nasty! You'd think the teachers would be more against nasty bits of chewed gum everywhere than bits of tape. And Blu Tack has been around since the 60s, hasn't it?
Mary Anne talks about being a wuss when they started sixth grade, which I get - new school and all that. But she mentions that she wasn't much better when starting seventh grade. Umm... what? What is so scary about starting a new school year AT A SCHOOL THAT YOU ALSO ATTENDED THE YEAR BEFORE?
Anyway, they get to school, Stacey pulls off a random Porky Pig imitation, Mary Anne puts up her poster, walks to homeroom, and almost shits her pants when she sees that there are kids in there that she doesn't know well. She's saved by Dawn though, they sit down at the back, and Mary Anne tells us her schedule.
English, maths, gym, social studies, lunch, science, study hall, and French. Four classes before getting the chance to eat anything seems a bit extreme to me. At both of my high schools (no middle school in my country - year 7-12 is high school), we had two subjects, then a 20-minute recess, then two subjects, then a 40-minute lunch, then two subjects, then home time.
Kristy and Mary Anne have decided to stop being babyish and start buying lunch. That's something that I've never quite understood. Dawn brings her lunch, and no one says anything. Claudia and Stacey have decided to ditch their old friends and sit with the other cult members. I guess that means "Goodbye, Shillaber twins!" Kristy compares the school mushroom sauce to "a dirty sock that's been left out in the rain and then hidden in a dark closet for three weeks". Yet you're the dumbass who bought it, Kristy! Seems like Dawn's the only one with half a brain in this bunch.
Mary Anne suddenly jizzes her pants at the sight of Cam Geary in the lunch room. Stacey tells her that it's Logan Bruno, some new kid in her homeroom, from Louisville, Kentucky. Mary Anne seethes with jealousy as the chapter comes to an end.Chapter 3
Another club meeting. Everyone showed up at the last minute, and Kristy didn't pitch a fit because she was almost late herself, thanks to Charlie having a life outside of her. (He was at football practice.) The phone is already ringing off the hook, and Kristy has one of her "brilliant ideas". More advertising! There's some PTA meeting coming up, which for some reason they have been advertising at school (and not in the newsletter), but whatever. Kristy wants to distribute flyers there, and also around her neighbourhood, so that she can have some local clients.
Mary Anne mentions Logan, and all the other cult members start giving her shit for it. She's then saved by the ringing of the phone, and the conversation turns to some random girl (who we've never heard of before and will never hear of again), who "got a bra yesterday". How do they know this? And why does it matter?
Then Mary Anne confesses that she got a bra yesterday, too, and all of the cult members lose their shit over it. "Flat as a pancake" Kristy is now the only cult member without a bra! Whatever will she do?!! Chapter over.Chapter 4
Claudia runs past Mary Anne in the hall yelling about an emergency club meeting at lunch. Was that really necessary? They're all going to be sitting together anyway. Can they only talk about business if they're at an official meeting? Whatever. Mary Anne tells Kristy, and she immediately demands to know who called it. "Only the president calls emergency meetings, bitches! Worship me! Kiss my feet! And so on."
Anyway, lunch time rolls around, and they don't like the lunch again, so Mary Anne and Kristy buy popsicles. How filling and nutritious! So much better than a babyish home-made lunch!
At the table, Claudia tells everyone that she's going batshit crazy over all the extra phone calls that she's been receiving lately, thanks to the recent advertising that Kristy forced them all to do. Apparently she received seven phone calls the night before and that morning. The flyers have business days/hours printed on them! Don't people pay attention to shit like that? Anyway, Claudia says that her parents would have flipped the fuck out if she had called all the members about all the jobs last night, as she is apparently ALREADY behind in maths and English. (Isn't it like week 2? How is that even possible?) And her parents obviously want her studying rather than talking to her friends all fucking night on a weeknight. Maybe they do have an ounce of common sense afterall.
So the jobs haven't been filled, and Claudia's brought the record book to school so that they can take care of it. It's a bit tricky, but they manage to fill all the jobs. Then something miraculous happens. Mary Anne actually CONFRONTS Kristy - "What the fuck, you stupid bitch! Why the fuck did you make us advertise when we were already swamped with work?! Are you fucking high?!!"
Nah, I'm kidding (unfortunately). She says "We definitely shouldn't do any more advertising. We were already pretty busy as it was." Kristy, of course, won't admit that she did anything wrong and, after an awkward silence, Claudia asks how they're going to deal with the problem.
And then it happened, fellow snarkies. The moment you've all been waiting for! The heavens part! The angels start to sing! YES! IT'S THAT HEAVENLY VOICE!
"In Luevulle, Ah've haid plainy of expuryence."
The cult members all simultaneously cream their pants. Kristy invites him to sit with them, and Logan's friends start hooting and hollering and punching him on the arm. He sits next to Mary Anne who freezes in place. Stacey introduces him to everyone, and Kristy tells him about the club. Logan says that he babysits for his siblings and used to babysit for his neighbours in "Luevulle". He then says that he can stay out until 10:30 on weeknights and midnight on weekends. The kid's 13. Nice parenting, Brunos. Kristy invites him to the next meeting, and Mary Anne just about dies.Chapter 5
The big day has arrived. Mary Anne was babysitting, but Mrs. Newton arrived home early, so Mary Anne sprints home to change into "a bright vest over a short-sleeved white blouse", brush her hair, and put on some jewellery. She arrives at Claudia's at 5:15, and everyone's already there. They comment on the fact that Mary Anne's prettied herself up for Logan, and they give her shit over it again.
Then... LOGAN ARRIVES! Claudia goes to let him in and Mary Anne shoves Claudia's rag doll under her bed. She also clears a spot on the floor next to her for Logan. He comes in, says hi, and sits down, and Mary Anne fucking freezes AGAIN. Seriously, bitch? WHY did you want him sitting next to you if you're just going to be awkward throughout the whole fucking meeting? But anyway, everyone but Mary Anne talks about club stuff, tells him about their titles, and about the notebook and record book.
The phone rings, and they all jump for it, including Mary Anne, which makes no sense as she can't even fucking talk. Dawn gets it, and it's Mrs. Perkins. She tell Logan that they live across the street, have two girls, and are expecting another baby. Logan's response is just "okay". He clearly couldn't care less. Can't say I blame him.
Mary Anne picks up the record book, drops it, picks it up, and drops it again. Finally Logan has to hand it to her. Fucking hell, Mary Anne. Anyway, Claudia and Mary Anne are both free, but Claudia tells Mary Anne to take it.
After a few more phone calls, Mary Anne tells us that Claudia and Stacey are now busy every afternoon next week. I wonder how the Kishis will feel about that.
Claudia starts telling the story of how Pete Black snapped Dorianne Wallingford's bra strap (who cares?) but stops herself once she remembers that there's a boy in the room, and that "bra strap" is a dirty phrase! Everyone gets all awkward, Logan passes Mary Anne some popcorn to diffuse the tension, and Mary Anne SPILLS IT EVERYWHERE. FUCKING HELL, MARY ANNE! They all scramble around, trying to clean it up.
Claudia asks Logan about his worst baby sitting experience, and he starts telling the story of how he was baby sitting a kid who was being potty trained who didn't want to go to the toilet, so Logan whipped his dick out and showed him how to pee. He, too, stops before he reaches the awkward part, but it was obvious where the story was going.
Anyway, Claudia and Logan go to the kitchen to get sodas, and the other members talk about whether or not this would actually work out. With the exception of Claudia and Stacey, they are obviously not mature enough to act like actual human beings around boys, especially Mary Anne, who can't even fucking talk.
Anyway, they return with the drinks, and Logan tries to make small talk. Again, he gets nothing out of Mary Anne. Mrs. Rodowsky calls - yes, this is the first book with the Rodowskys! They apparently live down the road from Logan, and Kristy asks him if he wants to go on a trial job, which he agrees to. Mary Anne is the only cult member who's free! Oooooooh, shit.