Reading Diary: BSC #7 Claudia and Mean Janine
"So," said Janine out of the blue, "may I ask how your agency plans to function once your founder is residing in a different district?"
"You may," I replied, stalling. I had no idea what she was talking about.
"Oh, I understand," said Janine. "You want to play games. Well, I'll comply. All right, how does your agency plan to function once your founder is residing in a different district?"
"Huh? . . . Janine, talk in English, will you?"
"I am!" Janine looked hurt again. "I can't help it if this is the way in which I speak."
"And I can't help it if I don't understand you."
Meet the Kishi sisters, Claudia and Janine, whose
There were four books between this and the last Claudia-narrated novel, and honestly, after Stacey's angst over her diabetes, Mary Anne's overcompensating widowed father, Dawn's double whammy of single motherhood, and Kristy's mother's second marriage, Claudia's rivalry with her sister seems kind of shallow. And Ann M. Martin probably thought so, too, because she threw in a stroke for their beloved grandmother Mimi, for good measure.
And yes, it can all be related to baby-sitting . . .
I loved taking care of Jamie and Lucy. The Newtons had been practically the first clients of the Baby-sitters Club. But Jamie was the only little Newton at the time. Then Lucy was born. All of us club members wondered how Jamie would react to a new baby in the house. We were sure he'd be jealous. And he was a little bit, but only sometimes.
Now the Newtons were planning a big party for Lucy's christening. The party was coming up soon . . .
The baby-sitting gods, in their infinite wisdom, decided to send Claudia to sit for the newest siblings on the block, one of whom has just about had it with the infant sister who is stealing everyone's attention away from him. It's obviously a parallel and a reversal of the Kishi girls' relationship--but there's something about it that's too easy.
We get some real subtlety when Claudia has to sit for her grandmother, who can no longer be left on her own. The stroke has made it difficult for Mimi to make herself understood, and she must learn how to speak and to write all over again. This makes her the third member of the Kishi family with communication issues--but both Claudia and Janine are willing to show her more patience than they've ever shown each other. It's only fitting that Mimi becomes the key to reconciliation between her two granddaughters.
As for the other members of the BSC . . . they open a summer playgroup for their free mornings and resume regular baby-sitting in the afternoon and evenings. It's awfully similar to the daycare they formed in the previous book, BSC#6 Kristy's Big Day, and has that Been There, Done That feel. Yes, this new project has the neighbourhood kids we already know instead of unfamiliar relatives from out of town, but I suspect some scenes (like "the Louie-washing") were originally intended for the last story, and then cut and recycled into this one. But I like making wild guesses about authorial and editorial intentions like that. =P
Can you tell this isn't my favourite book in the series? Sigh! Seven books in, two narrated by Claudia, and I have yet to warm to her.
Image Source: BSC #7 Claudia and Mean Janine by Ann M. Martin