Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a good week and have some cool weekend plans ahead! I sure don’t, so if I could live vicariously through any of you who have something cool going on this weekend, that would be great. This was a long week for me, between work, and looking for other work, I am in dire need of a couple of days where I don’t have to think about my job, and my lackluster job search. But let’s be real, I’ll probably be parked in front of LinkedIn and Indeed all weekend anyways. C’est le vie, y’all.
I thought I’d try out something different, and gave you guys a small book review this week. Hopefully I’ll do more of these in the future. I consider myself to be an avid reader, and love recommending new reads to people. That being said, please prepare yourselves for a review of one of the most hard hitting, intellectually stimulating, and progressive works of our time.
- The Baby-Sitter’s Club: The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin
While I was in California, my sister told me to go through her library and pick out any books I’d like to borrow, and happening upon this was like discovering a goldmine. A super 90’s, 5th grade reading level, goldmine. I should preface that growing up my sister was a HUGE Babysitter’s Club Fan. Like, had all the books, made my mom take her to a book signing (a picture of this exists somewhere, but I can’t find it), posters, kind of fan. She would later pass this torch on to me, because I too became a fan when she bequeathed the books to me upon entering middle school (can’t go into 6th grade still reading kids series, you guys). You may be thinking, “Mallory must have been your favorite character, right?” Wrong. BSC Mallory always kind of rubbed me the wrong way, and quite frankly was a little too pretentious for a 10 year old. I felt bad that she had fight for attention amongst her 400 brothers and sisters (was her dad Genghis Khan?) but I just wasn’t fan. I always identified with Claudia; terrible at school, always jumping at the chance to eat junk food, and enthusiastic about clashing colors and patterns in my wardrobe.
Released in 2010, Anne M. Martin reintroduced the series with this prequel, delving into the lives of Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Stacey before entering the 7th grade. This seems to be pre-Dawn days, so you won’t be getting a fill of her liberal agenda shoved down your throats, and no matter which way you lean politically, I think having her harp on saving the trees can be a little much at times. However, you get a ton of Mary Anne’s creepy dad. Call me every half hour while you’re baby sitting? Cool your jets, Mr. Spier, and let this tween do her job. Also, was anyone else annoyed with Kristy’s brother David Michael? He never did anything in particular, but it always bothered me that they called him by his first and middle name. Did he have a nickname? What would they call him in a moment of panic? So many questions, but I digress. This prequel details the formation of the actual club, as well as personal changes for the girls. New family members, first crush, new school, and accessing whatever kind of independence you can as a twelve year old, are some of the dynamics featured. Each chapter is told through the POV a different character, so there is plenty opportunity to meet and (or in my case) reintroduce yourself each girl.
I have always appreciated Martin’s approach to life for girls of that age. Kristy, a child of divorce, struggles to reach out to a dead beat dad with often fruitless results. Fancy New Yorker Stacey suffers from Type I Diabetes, while dealing with the repercussions of schoolmates who don’t understand. Compared to a lot of other young girl/tween based series I was exposed to as a child, I’d have to say BSC did a great job illustrating for me at a young age that it’s okay to not have the life of suburban princess, nor do you always have to construct yourself to the standards of what others expect you to be. Thankfully I grew up in what I’d describe as a very “Girl Power” culture. Between Spice Girls (though not always the best example at times), a female dominated SNL cast, and the BSC, it was an okay time to be a girl. Granted I may not have always understood what I was reading or seeing, but whatever I was interpreting was keeping me away from tube tops and hot pants by age nine, and more towards reenacting Mary Katherine Gallagher sketches, which as you can imagine made me immensely popular in the 4th grade (not).
While this obviously an easy, light read, I do recommend it to anyone who spent their allowance at the Scholastic Book Fair to buy these books as a kid (man, those were the best). I’m aware that reading this age 23 may be a little silly, but it was nice to be reacquainted with characters that were a big part of my childhood, as well as some nice flashback to early 90’s fashion (parachute pants are mentioned). Now, if the gang from the Pony Pals get back together for series, and I am 100% down to read that. Added bonus if horse training cards are still included.