Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The opposite of dibble and distant is stale!; or, BSC #39: Poor Mallory!

Or, as I kept inadvertently calling it, Mallory’s Poor!

So, in this one, Mal’s dad gets laid off (along with half of the company) from his cushy corporate lawyer gig. Except that Ms. Martin uses “fired,” “lost his job” and “laid off” interchangeably, which they are very much not.

So, they scale back, Mrs. Pike starts to temp, and all the kids try to earn money to give to their parents so they won’t become homeless and have to use food stamps…and nobody tells the kids that Mr. Pike got a severance package, so they’re not completely broke. And they have a savings account which was supposed to BE A COLLEGE FUND FOR TEN CHILDREN!!!!! Even when college was cheaper, they would have been fools to think they could save up enough money to pay for 10 college educations…especially cause you know Mal’s gonna end up somewhere like Smith or Wellesley or Vassar where she can hate boys and gym and be a writer…And despite the severance package, and the temp income and the savings account, apparently, the Pike parents take the money that the kids make…and seriously, Mr. Pike’s out of work for like a month. That’s it. And it’s like a week from his first interview (he has three) until the time he gets hired when actually finds a job.

So, to help keep them off the streets, Mal gets a month-long, three times a week gig at the Delaneys’. Yup, they of the $400 cat. [And they got a new pool, and can’t figure out who likes them and who likes their pool-style.] And she feels poor. [And her nemeses and ex-friends at school make fun of her cause her dad lost his job…boo-hoo.] And she takes as many sitting jobs as she can…Nicky gets a paper route. The triplets start an odd job “company.” Vanessa transforms herself into a playground hairstylist named Miss Vanessa after she can’t sell her poetry. And Clare and Margo sell lemonade and brownies. Did I forget a kid?

Shocker? Mrs. Pike likes working and is still going to temp from time to time, even after the mister goes back to work…

Mal uses more italics than I do, and I’m an italics-aholic.

Apparently, Kristy is “the only older BSC member who doesn’t wear a bra yet.” Sweetheart…if you don’t need a bra at 13, you probably won’t ever really need one…

Ah, Claudia: “she is so dibbly sophisticated and chic. She wears wild clothes like big hats; flowered vests over long shirts that belong to her father and which she leaves untucked; short black pants; and then, something just a little offbeat like penny loafers from the 1950s with white bobby socks [so, Claudia is the Asian Blossom?] And her jewelry. It’s the height of dibble-dom. [I shit you not, that’s what it says.] She makes most of it herself—ceramic-bead necklaces and big dangly earrings, but in shapes you wouldn’t expect…[blah blah blah] monkey in one ear and a banana in the other…”

Oh, and how do we know that Stacey is the pinnacle of New York sophistication? Cause she “likes to wear sparkly nail polish.”

You gotta love how in some books, Dawn’s a vegetarian, while in others, she just doesn’t eat red meat, and in others, it’s just that she likes healthy food.

Mr. Pike’s a real dick in this book…I know he just lost his job, and he’s all emasculated or whatever, but in every other book, he’s all into his kids and takes on a fair share of the domestic duties…so, his behavior seems a little…off, even given the situation.

How many lawyers does Stoneybrook need? Mary Anne’s dad, Mr. Delaney, Mr. Pike…And I forget what Claud’s dad does…Nobody’s dad is a mechanic, or a salesman, or a teacher or whatever…And what does Watson do anyway? They talk about him being a millionaire, but quite a few of these families probably have incomes in the six digits…

Oh, yeah…Mal’s all worried that her dad will be “reduced to going to some agency and taking a job he was overqualified for? Would he end up as a waiter in a restaurant—when he had gone to school for his law degree?” One, there are quite a few jobs in between lawyer and waiter…And he could open his own practice or start consulting…Two, he’s a lawyer with experience…he’s a little more in demand than someone with a masters in English (trust me, I know).

Apparently, Fig Newtons are a treat! As in a luxury!

Heh. Side ponytails!

According to the cover, Mal’s so poor and bitter, she’s ignoring the kids in the pool (don’t get me started on letting kids use the pool with an 11-year-old baby-sitter as long as an adult neighbor is home)…and she’s like 20! See crappy picture below…

Also, where are these other covers from? I had never seen these! And there are tons of them on the internet!





59 comments:

Anonymous said...

...wait, that bottom pic is MARY ANNE?! Crap she's having a bad hair-and-general-appearance day.

I don't remember this book as much as some of the others because I think I only read it once or twice.

I think Claud's dad is also a lawyer. Or maybe he's a financial advisor or something? Stacey's dad does something... advertising? Marketing? I dunno. Jessi's dad works for an investment company or something. Kristy's dad is the only dad who works as something "fun" - a sports writer - but the fun ones are the dead-beats, kiddies, cause they abandon their families. Watson is CEO of an investment firm, I believe. Until his heart attack in Mr Mom and he starts working from home... dunno if he's still CEO though.

Lessee... who have I forgot... well Abby's mom is a writer or editor or something. She can't be a lawyer, silly - she's a GIRL. Um... anyone know what Dawn's dad does?

If anyone has the Complete Guide To The BSC, it'd have all this in there...

Anonymous said...

I think Jessi's mom was in advertising before Jessi was born or something, then went back to it when Aunt Cecilia went to live with them.

Anonymous said...

Those um..wonderful covers are from the British versions of the book :]

Anonymous said...

Wow! check out British Mary Ann! I think that's the ugliest BSC cover ever.

bmad said...

when was dibbly introduced? (i feel like it's Mary Anne and Too Many Boys, but I'm not sure.) How many books featured dibbly, dibble, distant, dibbly-fresh, etc? Did it stick around for more than a few books? Or maybe it was only a certain ghostwriter? i am really curious about this.

Anna said...

If I recall correctly, Claudia's father worked at a bank, her mother was a librarian, and Watson was an insurance CEO or something like that. And Mallory was definitely the one who OD'd on using "dibble" more than anyone else.

Anonymous said...

the british versions look like they're fanfic drawings for the covers.

Jenny Han said...

Yeah, Mary Anne is lookin toe-up in that last one... She makes Mal with her Mufasa hair look good!

annie said...

Claudia's dad worked for an accounting firm. Stacey's mom is a buyer at Bellair's (which is totally a job you get after not working for years). Abby's mom works for a publishing company in New York. I think Stacey's dad may have also been a lawyer (although I think I remember him being promoted to vice president of his firm at some point?). Oh, and Shannon's dad is a lawyer too - so apparently Stoneybrook (and Stamford) needs tons and tons of lawyers. Kristy's mom is a "business woman" but I don't know if we ever find out what kind of business she is in. And for some reason I think I remember reading that Jessi's dad also did some voice-over or radio work at one point...

Jo Whittemore said...

What is going on with Mary Anne's wicked witch striped socks and Ronald McDonald clown shoes? The British people must have HATED her. Oh well. At least her t-shirt has an 80s style pattern.

Jo Whittemore said...

Also, the picture with Claudia sculpting the hand looks like she's trying to drown someone in a punch bowl while Ashley looks on. Creepy.

Anonymous said...

Kristy's mom's job should be detailed in Kristy's Book, the Portrait one. I wonder, did she keep her job after she married Watson?

Anonymous said...

From The Complete Guide To The Baby-Sitters' Club:

*Elizabeth Thomas-Brewer "works full time for a big company in Stamford. Company Symbol is a sun."

*Watson Brewer is "CEO of Unity Insurance" in Stamford. "After heart attack, decides to turn work over to Vice-President; will work at home for three hours a day."

*John Kishi is "a partner in an investment firm in Stamford."

*Rioko Kishi is "head librarian at Stoneybrook Public Library."

*Edward McGill is "vice-president" of an unspecified company.

*As previously mentioned, Maureen McGill is a buyer for Bellair's Department Store.

*Richard Spier has his own Law firm in Stamford, though it merges with another firm in book #86.

*Rachel Stevenson is an "Executive editor of a publishing house in New York."

*John Ramsey "transferred to Stamford by company" which is unspecified.

*Janice Ramsey "returns to work in advertising (what she used to do before the children) five days a week, nine to five."

*John Pike was layed off from a corporate law firm in Stamford. Was hired at Metro-Works, a smaller, lower paying firm.

*Dee Pike is a "Trustee of public library" a "Job temporary" and " works as a secretary, but only goes to the office when agency calls."

*Ted Kilbourn (Shannon's dad) is also a lawyer "with a big firm."

Apparently, Dawn's parents (Sharon and Jack) are employed, but their jobs aren't specified.

Abbey said...

Did I miss something? Who the heck is Abby? Me, being an Abbey, would have LOVED to have one of the BSCers to have the same name as me.

What "number" did she come in on?? I must have stopped reading them by then. What a shame. : )

Joanna said...

Did they have some sort of difficulty coming up with names for the male parents? That's THREE dads named John! I know it's a common name and all, but the odds of that are pretty much impossible...

Lucy said...

Wow, I know those covers soooo well, they're the European ones. Memories!

Anonymous said...

Good point about all their dads being John. There are some other names out there, Ann. I also thought it was strange that Claudia's dad, whose parents were born and raised in Japan, would be named John.

Any idea what Logan's dad does?

Anonymous said...

Argh, I totally forgot about their lameass made up slang.
And that cover for Claudia's New Friend (or whatever it's called) looks like it should be the cover for Annie On My Mind.

annie said...

Abby came into the club after Dawn moved back to CA permanently - she was introduced in #89, Kristy and the Dirty Diapers, and her first book is #90, Welcome to the BSC, Abby.

Tenacious said...

LOL I can't get over how 11 years old are put in charge of 9 and 10 year olds...damn I couldnt even watch my brother until I was 13...

Mallory was a little whiner she was my least favorite of the BSC...

Bety Sue said...

Snicker! AKA, "Claudia and the refugee from Woodstock" and "Mary Anne has Special Needs"

Jenny Han said...

Oh no you didn't, Bety Sue! I was totally thinkin it but didn't want to go there, r.e. Mary Anne and her special needs.

And about Claud's parents, I think they both were like, second or third generation Japanese and were raised in the States. I don't think they really even spoke much Japanese.

Rach said...

whoa - that last book cover with Mary Annes Bad Luck mystery - kinda makes Mary Anne looks like she has down syndrome..

And we all know Logan wouldn't tolerate that shit..

Anonymous said...

Those horrid covers just reminded me, has anyone noticed that they apparently now have a BSC graphic novel. From what I read on Amazon, it's like the first several books smooshed together in comic book form.

Sara said...

Bety Sue, you're my hero...I was just thinking that Mary Anne looked like a "special" child.

I never read this one....must've stopped before it. But I agree that Mallory was a total dork.

She was "dibbly-stale", if I may use a little poetic license.

Anonymous said...

^ jenny han: but Mimi had emigrated from Japan, hadn't she? Rioko and Peaches were first generation. I guess they don't talk about John's parents so we don't know for sure, but I'm pretty certain they mention something about both John and Rioko having 100% Japanese parents who emigrated either before their kids were born or while they were still young.

Anonymous said...

LOL.

I remember my best friend and I made up our own "cool" word after reading it in BSC. Our word was "prickle". Don't quite remember what about that particular word was "cool"...

little miss sunshine said...

I feel like such a bad freind... I do not know who Abby is....

I suck

Anonymous said...

Kristy's Great Idea and The Truth About Stacey have both been made into graphic novels. "Stacey" just came out. If you can take the idea of the BSC as cartoonish type characters the books aren't bad.

Raina posts on the bsc live journal alot.

I've been irritated the last few days because I couldn't bring up this page. I'm better now that I've had my fix.

caitlin said...

whoa those covers are crazy! i've never seen the house ones with the weird illustrations.

i just watched the vhs of "dawn saves the trees" and my favorite part is how they go through all this trouble and protest and then their solution is "build the road AROUND the trees." fuckin geniuses.

Colleen said...

The best part of "Dawn Saves the Trees" has to be Zack Braff though

Anonymous said...

Oh! The UK covers! They change "subway" to "Metro" and "apartment" to "flat".
-Alanna

Jenny Han said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jenny Han said...

I think that technically, John Kishi (ok, this discussion is making me giggle) is second generation Japanese. Mimi, as an immigrant, would be first. I, as a Korean American, am 2nd gen, but my parents, who were born and raised in Korea, are first. Even so, my name is Jennifer and not, I don't know, Kyung Joo or something. So, my point is that whether or not John is 2nd or 3rd gen Japanese, his name could still realistically be John. Some people have both an Asian name and an American name, too. Some people like to assimilate completely and do only an American name. Claud's family was definitely super American-style.

Anonymous said...

Tiff, how come you've started calling her Ms. Martin? It used to be ANM and I liked that better.

Tiff said...

vaguely inspired by "ms jackson if you're nasty"...

keri said...

Oh my gosh.. I can't get over "Mary Anne has Special Needs."

andrea said...

1. jessi's mom was named janice?!

2. i believe mr. mcgill's official job title is "workaholic."

Anonymous said...

I don't know what is up with all the "Papa Johns". Especially since not all of them are John the entire time. In SS #2: Babysitters' Summer Vacation, Jessi sends a postcard to "Mr. & Mrs. Alex Ramsey". Which makes no sense at all, seeing that Squirt is introduced as "John Philip Ramsey, Jr." right off the bat in #14: Hello Mallory. In SS #5: California Girls, Mallory sends a postcard addressed to "Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Pike". (However, Mr. Kishi is "John" in both books.) I think there are just too many Johns in the BSC, not to mention Jack Schafer and the late Jonathan Stevenson. I think they should have kept "Daniel" for Mr. Pike and given at least one of the other fathers a different name.

On another subject, after seeing that Mrs. Ramsey is "Janice", I wonder if Becca feels left out for not having a name beginning with J. Oh well, she has Aunt Cecelia.

Anonymous said...

I haaaaaaaaate the inconsistency in things like that. You'd think the ghost writers would have a nice family tree or something to keep stuff like names of the Stoneybrook parents straight, as well as their occupations. Claudia definitely refers to her dad as being a partner in an accounting firm more than once, and other times it's an investment firm. Not a huge thing (because the point, obviously, is that he does something that requires intellegence, which counter-balances the fact that Claud's an idiot), but it bugs me. Also I think we learn later that Sharon starts doing something in real estate.

Cassandra said...

Don't you think ANM hates Mallory?

ANM sits down at her electric typewriter. The publishers are on her back again. The deadline's fast approaching. Her neighbors are being noisy. She didn't get enough sleep last night. A tension headache that's been pounding in her temples all day spreads to her shoulders. She needs an idea for the next BSC story. A slow smile spreads across her face as she types out a chapter where the BSCers beat the crap outta Mallory. Next chapter: Mal is publicly humiliated. Conclusion: Mal is abducted by aliens and tortured. Sure, the editors will never go for it, but now ANM can face another day.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Martin (as we're calling her now) definitely made Mallory her whipping-girl.

I also noticed that there's only one Mallory mystery book. (One Jessi book, too.) Plus, Mallory didn't even get her own book when she was leaving (she applies for boarding school in Mary Anne in the Middle).

My friend and I have a theory that Mallory represents the part of Ann M. Martin (bookish, nerdy, etc.) that she always despised.

elizabeth said...

You know what's REALLY funny? This stuff was all totally logical when I was 10!! Of COURSE someone 11 was old enough to supervise kids in the pool! Completely acceptable.

11-year-olds are so freaking mature. I love it.

Anonymous said...

Mallory did get her own book when she left, it was #126, The All-New Mallory Pike. And even though she's still the all-new Mallory, she's still as miserable as ever.

Anonymous said...

^ I think it's possibly the only cover illustration where she actually looks 11.

Mols said...

10 kids? I think that's another Ann book. ;)

The inconsistencies drove me insane. Even Kristy's mom had another name in one book.

The worst one I ever saw though was when they gender-switched the Korman baby (introduced somewhere in the 40's). Girl in one book, boy in another, same kid.

Nevermind that there was never a book where the Delaneys moved and the Kormans took their house... suddenly they were just THERE. Maybe it was covered in a Little Sister book.

Anonymous said...

mallory didnt annoy me...until i read this blog-you've just pointed out soo many things-but so true! well done on making me laugh out loud! (in one bsc book the british version changed 911 to 999 emergency call, obv for brit kids to know right num to call for ambulance-think it was a bsc member calling for ambulance-can't rem why!0

Anonymous said...

mallory didnt annoy me...until i read this blog-you've just pointed out soo many things-but so true! well done on making me laugh out loud! (in one bsc book the british version changed 911 to 999 emergency call, obv for brit kids to know right num to call for ambulance-think it was a bsc member calling for ambulance-can't rem why!0

adri said...

Not only are there four BSC dads named John (one would assume Dawn's father is named John, as Jack is a nickname for John) and one named Jonathan, but apparently Jessi's dad, John, HAS A BROTHER WHO IS ALSO NAMED JOHN. She mentions her Uncle John in Super Special #14, and he's her father's brother, not her mother's brother... so apparently, her dad's parents named TWO of their sons John.

verb2be said...

"Claudia is the Asian Blossom?" omg, that is so f--king funny!!

Anonymous said...

Mary Anne is always portrayed as being really ugly on front covers...
Like the way they use distant, fresh, etc to show that they think something is extremely cool... not. Not only have the words nothing in common, but no one who's not in the BSC work out what they mean
('... Laine, this wold be so distant!'
'It would be so what?'
'So distant. Oh, I forgot. My friends and I made up that word. It means, you know, like really, really cool.') No, I don't know, Stace. Get a thesaurus, perhaps? That would be really (italics) fresh.
That came from Stacey's Ex- best friend, by the way, which was actually one of my favourites.

Anonymous said...

Ever wondered why AMM can't make up her own names. First, Sabrina Bouvier. Then, the DeWitts. And then, in 'Hello, Mallory' (which, by the way, is a completely uninspired title. And what about Jessi? And do they like Abby so much more then Jess and Mal? I mean, check this out
'Welcome to the BSC, Abby'
'Hello, Mallory'), it's obvious that AMM read the books by Judy Blume e.g.
'Here's to You, Rachel Robinson'
and
'As long as we're together', because she mentions a Rachel Robinson as a friend of Mal's.And that isn't a really common name, now, is it?
And it so happens that DAWN'S nickname is SUNNY'S name (sunshine)!

Gabri said...

I love this blog- it entertains me at work. I read all the BSC books when I was younger and never saw how much there was to mock.
However I must disagree with your comment that if you don't need a bra at 13 you'll never need one- I had zilch in that department until I was like 19 and then suddenly- boobs!

kiwimusume said...

I'm with gabri. I was a late one, I think I started needing a bra when I was like 14 or 15.

And yeah, those stupid made-up words!!! I was re-reading one about a "seriously chilly limousine" and thought they were talking about the aircon...

Anonymous said...

I always theorised that the only reason Abby was introduced as a character was that by that stage, ANM was starting to lose her readership and needed a new demographic to relate to... the JEWS!

Thats why the characters are all so "different" from eachother. They all have something about them that girls can totally specifically relate to and connect with. eg "Oh, everyone in my family is so super smart and all over achievers and i have so much pressure to live up to my older sibling when all I want to do is BE MY OWN PERSON WAAAHHH. omg! just like CLAUDIA! we are kindred spirits!! I will now totally buy all of the bsc books so i can read all about my soul sister claudia." etc

Anonymous said...

What the bloody hell are those covers? Claudia looks like a white girl. Love, Sexy Sadie

Kylie said...

Not only are all the dads lawyers, Claudia, Dawn, Mallory, Jessi and Abby's dads are all called JOHN. Imaginative picking of names there!!

BurtonFanatic said...

Jenny Han- I was thinking the same thing.
And Tiff, you're right about Mal on the cover. What the f* Mal? I know you're all upset and distraught, but that is going to be intensified if one of your charges drowned cause you're too busy throwing yourself a pity party.
The F?

Jackie said...

I'm with the others on the boobs thing -- wore those silly bandeau-style bras from Gap Kids til I was what, 15 or 16? And even then I could barely fill up an A-cup. A couple years later I grew into a very happy B. But I think that might have been due to either a, college weight gain, or b, birth control..