Monday, February 15, 2010

BSC #5 Dawn and the Impossible Three

  • Bewildered and frustrated facial expression
  • Boat shoes
  • Cuffed pants
  • Oversized denim shirt
Combine these things and what do you get?

The first BSC book featuring California Casual Dawn!

Essentially the Only Important Plot in this Book Presented in Long-Winded Format:
Dawn takes a sitting job with a new family, the Barrets. Mrs. Barret is fresh out of a bad marriage. She's suddenly disorganized, messy, and forgetful. Super Sitter Dawn takes it upon herself to care for the Barret children--Buddy, Suzi, and Marnie--and keep the Barret house clean. Eventually, though, Dawn begins to be worn down with sitting the Barret kids every single freaking afternoon. (Mrs. Barret is always ditching the kids to go to job interviews or antiquing or some crap like that.)
Mrs. Barret fails when it comes to making sure that the baby-sitters are prepared. She neglects to mention Marnie's chocolate allergy. She leaves the wrong number for where she'll be (No cell phones, yet!). She forgets to tell Dawn to not let the kids talk to their dad on the phone. Yeah. Mrs. Barret thinks that she knows better than a judge what an appropriate custody arrangement and frequency of phone calls is. But...not to worry. Mr. Barret feels the same way.
When Dawn lets Buddy go outside while she is getting Suzi and Marnie ready to go (wasn't the Baby-Sitters Agency tar and feathered for this same thing?), Buddy disappears. (Kristy isn't going to like this...) Dawn gets the neighbors to start searching for the kid. Jordan Pike says that Buddy is at a lesson because he saw Buddy get into a car at the same time that he was getting picked up for his piano lesson. How does that make sense?
With this information, the fuzz are called in. They interview Dawn and Jordan over and over again. Dawn and Jordan both get upset by this. Mrs. Barret is nowhere to be found. Typical.
Suddenly! Buddy calls! But not when the police are available to trace the call. Convenient. He's at a gas station and is coming home. The phone goes dead. A few minutes later, Buddy shows up! He's been with his dad the whole time!
Now, this is where it starts getting unbearably unrealistic. Buddy's dad tells the police (and Mrs. Barret who has managed to mosey in by now) that Mrs. Barret has forgotten that it was his weekend to have the kids. True. So he decided to just take the kids to teach her a lesson. His plan was to return the kids after Mrs. Barret realized her mistake. Bad plan, dude. Bad plan.
At this point, we have to question Mr. Barret's intelligence. Who thinks that essentially kidnapping your young children is a good idea? Mr. Barret saw Buddy playing outside by himself (because he's spying on the house?) and decided to just take Buddy. Because nothing says weekend with Dad like only kidnapping 1/3 of the children. It wasn't until Buddy mentioned that Dawn was sitting for the kids that Mr. Barret began to worry. He stopped at the gas station before taking Buddy back (because he couldn't drive five miles without getting cigarettes and lotto tickets?) and never knew that Buddy had called Dawn.

Minor Subplot:
Kristy's bustin' a nut over what will happen to the BSC after she moves across town to Watson's house. The girls all have this moment of cheesiness where they promise that if Kristy can't come to meetings, the BSC will end. Eventually, Kristy decides to raise club dues in order to pay her brother (Sam? Charlie? David Michael? Andrew?) to drive her to meetings.
  • "The club is the most important thing in my life." --Dawn
    • Congratulations, Kristy! You have your first official cult member. Hold onto her because at this point the other girls aren't as brainwashed yet!
  • "There are eight Pike children--and three of them are triplets!" 
    • Statements like this irritate me. I was under the impression that "triplet" implied three! Unless its an awkward two-of-the-three-triplets-survived-their-likely-premature-birth situation, I don't think we need to count how many triplets there are.
  • I'd like to know what the Pikes do for a living. They have eight kids. Three of the kids play hockey, an extremely expensive sport where I come from, and Vanessa is taking violin lessons. Their house sounds like its pretty big--rec room, basement, bedrooms upstairs. Where does the money come from?
  • Dawn is rambling off a list of the historical events that the people living in her house over the years would have witnessed--the War of 1812, the Civil War and Emancipation Proclamation, the Gay Nineties, first flight, and the Depression.
    • Is it just me or does one of these things not belong on the list of well-known historical events? Apparently, the Gay Nineties is a reference to the 1890s. Not at all what came to my mind...
      • Q: What exactly went on in the Gay Nineties (that's 1890s to us normal folk) that Annie M. felt was important enough to make Dawn's quick list of American history?
      • A: The Gay Nineties were a "period of Pre-Income Tax wealth for the newly emergent  'society set.'" Duh.
  • "I bet our house has a secret passageway. Maybe it was even part of the Underground Railroad."
    • Well, readers, won't we be surprised when we make it to BSC #9 The Ghost at Dawn's House.
  • Dawn describes her mom's disorganization by saying, "Mom is a crazy person--not nasty crazy, just an absentminded-professor type."
    • Um, what? Did she really just imply that people with psychological disorders are being "nasty crazy"?
    • And absentminded-professor types aren't "nasty crazy"? A Beautiful Mind begs to differ.
  • Dawn's mom is insulted when Dawn refers to her one earring as being sort of "punk." Well, excuse me. I guess I know who I won't be taking my piercings around!
  • In what world can a baby-sitter trick kids into thinking that cleaning is a game? In what world do thirteen-year-old baby-sitters feel the need to clean the client's house?
  • Why did Dawn let Buddy go out and play while she was getting Suzi and Marnie dressed?  Buddy is seven! You don't let a seven-year-old play in the front yard by himself! Don't these girls remember the hullabaloo they made over Jamie Newton playing in the front yard WITHOUT mittens?!
    • Dawn--it serves you damn right that Buddy was temporarily kidnapped. That's what you get for letting him play in the front yard by himself!
  • What kind of piano teacher do the Pike kids have? What teacher picks the kid up for the lesson? My piano teacher remained firmly planted in her house while she awaited for parents to deliver the students to her. Lazy.
  • What kind of idiot is Mr. Barret that he just takes Buddy to prove a point? And he thinks Mrs. Barret will "figure out her mistake"?! Really?
    • More blatantly obvious foreshadowing: The BSC discusses what a great baby-sitter Mallory will be some day.
    • I hate how unrealistic this book is. Mr. Barret thought he would "teach Mrs. Barret a lesson" by taking the kids without her knowledge?! His weekend or not, I call that kidnapping! Those are not good parenting skills! That will not guide you through this bumpy divorce!
    • How is Dawn still in the BSC after her charge is 1) left alone outside and 2) momentarily kidnapped? Where are Kristy Thomas' standards?!
    • Regarding Subplot: What makes Kristy think that the BSC wants to pay more dues so Brother Thomas can drag her ass across town? (That'd be three miles. She's only allowed to bike that far in a group.)
    • Also, what makes Kristy think that the girls would stick to their promise to end the BSC if she can't be involved anymore? We all know that other members took breaks and the club still went on! These girls are greedy capitalists at heart. They're too wrapped up in childcare world domination to give up on the BSC!


      1. Every time I even think about Dawn, this vein behind my eye threatens to explode.

      2. The Barrets in general are a terrible couple. I mean, look at the egregious names they saddled their poor, defenseless kids with. Marnie, for goodness sakes?!

      3. Beautiful Mind--so true.

        I agree that the Barretts suck as parents. (Kidnapping your kid, WTF?) But I do love Marnie as a name--maybe because of the Hitchcock movie? Suzie and Hamilton/, not so much.

      4. I agree. What kind of thirteen-year-old cleans someone else's house? Hell, what kind of thirteen-year-old cleans her own house? And what is it with these neglectful Stoneybrook parents? Mrs. Barret is the worst one yet!

      5. I think Mr. Pike is a lawyer. Pretty damn good one to afford all those kids!

        Also, I played outside in front of my house all the time at seven. We were pretty much allowed to roam the neighborhood at will from the time we were six or so. As long as we checked in at lunch, dinner and were home by dark. Neglectful parenting or just the non-hovering 1980's parents?

      6. I always found it surprising that Jordan took piano lessons,he never seemed the type and I always seemed to forget that their only ten years old and Mal's just eleven,I think eleven too young to babysit

      7. "I'd like to know what the Pikes do for a living. They have eight kids. Three of the kids play hockey, an extremely expensive sport where I come from, and Vanessa is taking violin lessons. Their house sounds like its pretty big — rec room, basement, bedrooms upstairs. Where does the money come from?"

        — Well, thanks to books like "Poor Mallory," we know Mr. Pike supported the whole family himself! I read the book many times (because I could really relate to Mal's dealing with kids who had tons more than I did and feeling like a dork) and I remember that it was quite a big deal when the Pike kids found out that Mrs. Pike was going to do some work — of the non-laundry-cooking-cleaning sort, that is. And even though their youngest kid was five and they had SEVEN others to care for, Mrs. Pike continues to do temporary work for quite a few books. It bugs me because there was almost nothing tying her down at home, and yet she couldn't commit to a proper job despite the obvious need for it. It almost makes Mr. Pike's little man-tantrum from that book understandable!