Sunday, June 7, 2009

#3: The Truth About Stacey

Tagline: Stacey's different...and it's harder on her than anyone knows

This book, like most of the earlier ones, has been released with two completely different covers. The first one (at left), has Stacey breaking the fourth wall to laugh with us about Charlotte Johanssen and her crazy love of chocolate. Stacey, who is rocking the sunglasses even though it's November, is looking a little rounder than I've ever thought of her, probably because of the continued reminders of her watching her weight and the way the later illustrations show her. The layered green turtleneck/pink-orange open shirt is not doing her any favours, either. It's not very big city. She does, though, look ALMOST age-appropriate, something that cannot be said for the re-vamped cover (at right). She better not get closer to that window, or else she'd cut the glass with her cheekbones. Also, with her raincoat/patterned sweater/baggy cream pants combo, she looks more like a proto-soccer mom than a 12 (at the time? Her birthday's in April, as we find out in Mystery #1 where her birthstone is a diamond, so maybe she's already 13, but I don't think it's mentioned) year old baby-sitter. And her expression is so much more dramatic than the situation calls for.

Charlotte: Look Stacey, chocolate!
Stacey: {Goes into a thousand-yard stare of impending flashback}

Her eyes are dead. She looks like she belongs on a Lurlene McDaniel cover...about a college girl with a failing liver or something.

Also, what's she doing with her leg? It's strange. Charlotte is wearing high-waisted pants, but that's not even worth mentioning about this cover.

Plot!: Stacey has been hiding the truth...the truth about Stacey. She has diabetes. Except...don't we already know this about Stacey? I'm pretty sure it comes out in the first book, when Kristy goes after her about being on a diet. So the truth is...she's a bedwetter? She had a fight with her former New York BFF? She doesn't like her parents running her life? That's what they're doing, taking her to New York so she can be examined by some hotshot semi-quack doctor while her parents plan their next medical jaunt.

While this is all happening, the BSC is under attack from new upstart The Baby-Sitters Agency, fronted by Liz Lewis and Michelle Patterson, older sitters who can stay out until 11:00 or even midnight! But ZOMG, guys...they don't even like babysitting; they're just in it for the money. And they hire babysitters who let Jamie Newton play in the street without his mittens or his hat and who burn a cigarette hole into his couch cushion! So the BSC tries various ways to compete with the BSA, and in the end they have an old-fashioned showdown, which they win (of course).

And on the baby-sitting front, Charlotte Johanssen is shy and has no friends. So Stacey convinces her parents to move her ahead a grade, naturally. And things all work out in the end.

Continuity Fairy: I don't think we ever hear about Stacey's cousins Jonathan, Kirsten, and Cheryl ever again.

Points of Interest: In almost every BSC appearance, Laine and Stacey have some kind of fight (except maybe New York, New York, where Laine basically acts like an activities director). My favourite might be Stacey's Ex-Best Friend, but I'm getting ahead of myself. In this one, we find out that Laine and Stacey haven't really been friends since Stacey peed all over her. What was the attitude towards diabetes like in 1986? Because Stacey's parents sort of treat it like she has AIDS or something, with all of the secrecy and shame that they have towards it. But I'm kind of with Laine here: not only did Stacey pee on her, her best friend was keeping this big secret. So, there.

All of the BSC/BSA interactions are pretty hilarious, because the BSC (who have been in business now for like, six weeks) take it all SO. SERIOUSLY.

"Then," said Kristy, "you must know the kids pretty well by now. A good baby-sitter knows a lot about the children she takes care of. Do you know what Jamie Newton's favorite kind of sandwich is?"

Liz paused. "I only baby-sat for him once," she said.

"It's peanut butter and honey, toasted," said Mary Anne, finding her voice.

"What's Charlotte Johanssen's favorite TV program?" asked Kristy

Liz and Michelle glanced at each other. "Mister Rogers," Michelle said triumphantly.

"Michelle, Charlotte Johanssen is almost eight years old. Her favorite program is The Cosby Show."

"Have you ever sat for the Marshalls?" asked Claudia.

"I have," said Liz. "Two girls: Nina, three, and Eleanor, one." I really thought she was going to add, "So there.")

"Right," said Claudia. And do you know what it means when Eleanor rubs her ears?"

"That she has an earache?"

"No, it means she's getting hungry."

"Do you remember what Nina is allergic to?" asked Mary Anne.

"For heaven's sake, what is this - Twenty Questions?"


Final Thoughts: Stay tuned for my look at The Truth About Stacey: The Graphic Novel!

1 comment:

Sadako said...

Speaking of the graphic novel, Ann M. signed copies of it at a comic book convention which I didn't go to, but heard about later. So weird to think of her there, but I saw a video of it!

And yes, these girls are way way too invested in the lives of their charges!