Thursday, March 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Babysitters Club #1: Kristy's Great Idea


Hi!

Recently I did a little excitement wee dance when the first 20 Babysitters Club books made their way to my Kobo. I've been digging around the internet for years looking for them, and safe to say with the aid of a few bookfinding sites, my day - well folks, it's been made.

The Babysitters Club was a series of books originally written by Ann M. Martin that focused on a group of young friends who set up a babysitting club in their Connecticut neighbourhood. This was so exciting to me because we have family friends in Connecticut, and also because I had an unhealthy obsession with all things American and the fact that there may have been the slightest connection there was the coolest thing ever.

#1: Kristy's Great Idea (Published August 1986)
The books are written from the POV of the person in the title, so this one's from Kristy. We learn that she is 12, she likes sports and thinks she's really good at them, that boys are yuck, and that her parents are divorced. She has a little brother (David Michael, 6) and two older brothers (Sam, 14 and Charlie, 16). Kristy's mother is having trouble finding a babysitter for David Michael despite the fact that she has three older children and a partner (Watson), so Kristy decides to enlist her friends and start a Babysitting Club. Her friends are Mary Anne Spier (based on Ann M. Martin herself), who lives with her uber strict father (her mother died of cancer when she was young), Claudia Kishi, who is the token ethnic person and lives with her parents, her totes adorbs (yeah I said it) Grandmother Mimi, and her genius sister Janine (more about her in a minute) and Stacey McGill, who recently moved to Stoneybrook from New York City and has all the glamour one would expect from someone who a) isn't a tomboy, and b) doesn't have a really strict Dad. Stacey can stay up until 10pm on the weekends and has caught cabs on her own. She also has a perm and is super thin. Claudia is really arty, cool and unique despite an obvious hoarding/junk food addiction, and is wearing this outfit at the beginning of the story.

All images credits can be found on Polyvore

Stacey is also pretty slick when it comes to fashion. The first time Kristy meets her, she's wearing this. Well actually, not exactly this, because I couldn't find a pink sweatshirt with sequins AND a parrot on it, so I gave her a brooch instead.

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There's an almost obvious divide between the girls - Claudia & Stacey on the cool, boy-obsessed side, and Kristy & Mary Anne on the young, just-quit-playing-with-dolls side. Stacey won't accept any of the junk food Claudia inexplicably hides around her room which must mean she's on a diet, right? Wrong. She's actually diabetic but the whole thing is concealed because it's so awkward for her being a diabetic that her entire family had to move. Or something. The diet is mentioned to the point where I want to move just to get away from it, even when Kristy's horny brother Sam meets "foxy chick" Stacey for the first time, he refers to her as "the one on the diet". Here's Kristy's take on the whole mutual attraction between Sam & Stacey: "Most High School boys wouldn't be caught dead with a lowly junior high girl - unless the girl was a knockout." Luckily, Stacey isn't hideous and therefore is free to enjoy an hour of Sam being a total dick to his little brother in order to impress Stacey. Score, dude.

Back to the enigma that is Janine Kishi - she's 15, she's supposed to be a genius, and she's a complete grammar Nazi. To the point where she's creepily hanging around outside Claudia's room waiting to correct her friends. She chastises Kristy for using the word "hopefully" wrong and later is found just standing there, puzzled over whether or not there should be an apostrophe in the words "Babysitters Club". Janine. GET A LIFE. Wear some jazz shoes or something. Speaking of jazz shoes...

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In fairness, Kristy is a bit of a bitch. Her mother's boyfriend Watson is lovely, and brings home chinese food for them. Kristy refuses to eat it and sits eating a peanut butter & jelly sandwich in rebellion. A sandwich that she has cut into the shape of a snowman. Very mature, Kristy. Please mind my children.

She also has a seriously smart mouth - she asks Watson who's minding his kids while he's bringing chinese food over, and when David Michael mentions a G.I. Joe toy and Watson says his son Andrew isn't into them, Kristy responds with "Oh, all the boys play with them. You just don't know because you're not around. And I bet Karen has a Rainbow Brite too, do you know what that is?." BIIITTCH!!

Kristy's first babysitting assignment doesn't go to plan - she takes a call to sit for twins, Pinky and Buffy (see where this is going?) but oh! Hilarity! They are dogs, they run away for a few minutes and then she puts them back inside and all is okay. Mary Anne sits for Watson's children, Karen and Andrew, who are nice enough but have an irrational fear of the woman next door. They've nicknamed her Morbidda Destiny, a name that I would rob in later years at Halloween. They also have an obese cat named Boo-Boo, who bites. Nice.

Watson and Edie (Kristy's mother) make Kristy wear a dress and they all sit down to fondue (well this IS the 80s) and announce their plans to get engaged. Kristy is a bit of a cow about it but soon sees the error of her ways after dinner. Not really sure why, but anyway. During dinner, Watson "came up with a rule that if your bread fell off your fork and landed in the cheese, you had to kiss the person on your right." Dafuq, Watson? You're sitting beside a TWELVE YEAR OLD GIRL. Naturally, Kristy's bread falls off and she gives Watson a peck on the cheek to the not-at-all-creepy soundtrack of the two Brewer children chanting "Kiss Daddy! Kiss Daddy!". Jesus.

So - the babysitting is off to a great start, we've established Claudia and Stacey are into fashion, Kristy is a tomboy, and Mary Anne has cried about nine times for many varying reasons including "my Dad won't let me spend $3 on pizza". Watson & Edie are sorted, so that just leaves the issue of Stacey's diabetes, which she's kinda forced into revealing at a sleepover because Kristy just can't mind her own goddamn business and had earlier accused Stacey and her mother of keeping secrets. She just met you Kristy, you nosy bitch. Everything is perfect because Kristy has a cousin with diabetes and knows all about it. Of course she does.

QOTD: [Kristy while minding Pinky & Buffy]: "You really haven't lived until a dog has stepped on your face."





7 comments:

  1. I used to love that series. I should try to find them again. Thanks.

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    1. If you don't have any luck please let me know and I can send you links!

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  2. Love this and the visual boards! They were some stylish girls!

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    1. Weren't they just? I always envied Claudia's endless range of accessories, funny thing is that now they all actually exist.......god bless Etsy!

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  3. This post is so awesome!! Awwww the memories. I kind of love you right now.

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  4. Great outfits! Love what Claudia wore, the second one. Its so casual and it looks comfy but trendy.

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  5. Haha, I just got the first 50 books last week & have gotten through the first 20 or so already.. Mainly because you can start to skip the second chapter with the repeated descriptions.

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