Tuesday, September 22, 2009

#86: Mary Anne and Camp BSC

Tagline: Everyone's a happy camper...except Mary Anne!

Cover: A lantern in a hay-filled barn? That seems very unsafe. Who are the kids on the cover? A Rodowsky, or a Hobart? Karen, I think, and some Pikes? Maybe? And why am I not surprised that they have "Camp BSC" T-Shirts.

Plot!: The BSC decides to run a day camp, of course, because that's what they do. But one of the campers, Alicia Gianelli, is having a hard time being separated from her mom, for some reason. Mary Anne sympathizes, because Richard is away on a business trip and she really misses him, and no one understands. Also, there's a camp revolt, because some campers have been to REAL camps and they're unimpressed by the BSC efforts.

Points of interest:
  • The book starts with an incredibly laboured 'Pike's Peak/Pikes' Peak' pun at the start at the book. Way to suck us in, AMM.
  • Ooh, Stacey quit the BSC to be with her "sophisticated" friends. Neither Mary Anne or Mallory want to talk about it, even to mention it by name. I know she as their friend and all, but really, they wouldn't gossip about it even a bit? Well, maybe not these guys, or at least not Mary Anne. And probably not Kristy, who would be steamed at the affront to the club, and Claudia, who was her closest friend. Maybe Dawn?
  • Richard announces that thanks to a merger at his firm, he's going to be traveling more, starting with a two-week trip to Cincinatti. Sharon is thrilled, because it means that she and the girls can "bach" it, or be 'bachelor girls.' What an old-fashioned term.
  • Watson is a real, live millionaire, which is a lot more legal than if Elizabeth had married a real, dead millionaire.
  • The BSC is worried about the two or three week lag between the end of school and the beginning of real camp, so they decide to host a day camp. As you do.
  • Mary Anne is semi-judgemental about people sleeping late. I would be in bed right now if I wasn't writing this. I love sleeping.
  • Why are Richard and Sharon always so cool with having dozens of kids on their property? With the barn and everything? Supervised by other children? Me, I would be anticipating dozens of lawsuits.
  • Kristy decides that the theme of the camp is going to be "Circus," as if it isn't complicated enough.
  • They don't even try to pretend that the BSC people are graduating out of middle school. It's just "school ended," and they go right back to eighth grade in the fall.
  • Twenty-two children signed up for BSC camp, including most of the usual BSC Suspects, plus a lot of kids from the Little Sister series.
  • Mary Anne takes a sidebar to point out that Logan looks really handsome on a bicycle. O...kay?
  • I'm pretty sure that Alicia Gianelli goes to nursery school with Andrew, so why is she suddenly so shy and nervous and not wanting to leave her mom? Then again, she is four.
  • They way that Vanessa Pike rhymes EVERYTHING, I'm wondering if maybe she shouldn't go in for some kind of psych consultation.
  • Oh, apparently this is the longest that Alicia has ever been separated from her mom. Maybe nursery school comes later? I hate being confused by BSC books.
  • Mary Anne calls Mal unfeeling because Mal thinks that it's a good idea for Alicia to stay at camp and not cry for her mom. I think Mary Anne needs come counselling, too.
  • Karen has already been to circus camp, along with every other kid from Stoneybrook Academy. So she declares the BSC camp to be 'babyish' and leads a rebellion. Kristy vs. Karen here is aggrevating; Kristy vs. Karen in the future is the stuff of fanfiction.
  • After getting rid of Richard, Mary Anne starts feeling lonely and weepy. So Sharon suggests a terrible video night, and they pick out Plan Nine from Outer Space, Girls, Girls, Girls, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • They watch movies and eat Chinese food and *gasp!* don't clean up the cartons right away. Mary Anne prudes out and goes off to bed, stewing about the fact that Dawn and Sharon are close to each other.
  • The Camp goes on a day trip to Mrs. Stone's farm, to see Elvira the goat, of course, because a goat is the height of fascination to Stoneybrook (maybe Stacey was right about the club).
  • Mary Anne says that if she never met Dawn, she never would have discovered three-cheese macaroni, which I call bull on, because macaroni is delicious and anything ith three cheeses in it is not necessarily a health food.
  • Mary Anne is waxing nostalgic about macaroni because she misses home cooked food and clean dishes. I'm failing to see what the huge problem is, mostly because my natural state is a lot like their 'baching it' state (maybe because I am a bachelor girl?).
  • Mary Anne even brings up the "Maid Mary Anne" situation where she was being taken advantage of, but, proving that BSC members never learn anything, she doesn't actually SAY anything to Dawn and Sharon, about anything, like, "I really miss my Dad and this has taken me by surprise" or "I feel left out because you and Dawn are so close" or "This was fun for a bit but now I really would like the house to be a little neater" or "I think I need some help."
  • Claudia deliberately singles out Becca and Carolyn in front of Hannie and Nancy to thank them for being cool kids because they don't complain about the realness of the circus camp. Which seems kind of bitchy and not the mature thing to do.
  • Mary Anne is surprised by the number of places in Stoneybrook that deliver food. Given that it is allegedly the home of a university, I am not.
  • When Sharon and Dawn order *gasp!* pizza twice in one week, Mary Anne has. had. enough. She makes herself a hamburger! And cooks it! And participates in a toast, but her heart isn't in it. Take that, freewheeling lifestyle!
  • Also, two weeks of nothing but delivery food is going to add up, fast. I'm sure the Schafer/Spiers can afford it, but still.
  • Camp BSC has a campout and they scare the children with a ghost story and Logan jumping out from behind a stall.
  • Mary Anne starts worrying that a week might not be enough time to get the house in order for her dad. what did Sharon and Dawn do to the house?
  • Mary Anne is in a bike accident, which is a lot funnier than it should be because when it happens she's too busy shouting "Hooray for the day!" No, seriously.
  • She ends up with a sprained ankle and tearfully begs her father to come home, which he does not, so Mary Anne ends up feeling even more alienated and alone.
  • She desperately tries to hold on to Alicia Gianelli (remember that plot?), well past the point where Alicia is ready to join the group and have fun.
  • Finally, Alicia tells Mary Anne that she's ready to move on, because she was missing all the fun. And that's the lightbulb moment for Mary Anne, who realizes that she was missing out on all the fun Sharon and Dawn were having with movies and take-out food and county fairs and drive-in movies.
  • The dress rehearsal for the circus is terrible, because all the circus purists basically flaked out in the whole preparation department. But they all magically come together in the end and the circus is a success, and that's good because all the parents and grandparents and siblings came to the show, even if they had to get off work early.
  • Chapter 15 is all about Richard coming home. He tells Mary Anne to loosen up in the future and talk about her feelings, and Mary Anne promises that she will. Until the next time something bothers her, that is.
Final Thoughts: This is not Mary Anne at her best. And for all of her seeming obliviousness in this book, Sharon seems like a pretty great step-mother.


mividaloca0 said...

Girls, Girls, Girls- was that a documentary on Motley Crue or lesbian porn??? ;)

Caroline from Sheep Are In said...

Apparently it's an Elvis movie. And Sharon and Dawn throw popcorn at the screen everytime he sings, so I guess they're not big on Elvis!

Sadako said...

"# When Sharon and Dawn order *gasp!* pizza twice in one week, Mary Anne has. had. enough. She makes herself a hamburger! And cooks it! And participates in a toast, but her heart isn't in it. Take that, freewheeling lifestyle!"

Heh. I'm with Dawn and Sharon for once. Normally I hate all the tofu and bok choy talk but ordering pizza and Chinese is a-okay with me.

Also, they rented Plan 9 From Outer Space?! So not BSC esque, but awesome.

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