31 August 2013

+JMJ+

Reading Diary: BSC#10: Logan Likes Mary Anne! by Ann M. Martin

"You know, that wasn't easy. I'm beginning to wonder if . . . we're in over our heads . . . What happens if we start getting a lot of jobs we can't handle? What do we tell our clients?"

. . . "Well, we can't un-advertise, so we better just figure out what to do. We're too busy. How are we going to handle the problem?"

"I've done a lot of baby-sitting," spoke up an unfamiliar male voice.

The five members of the Baby-sitters Club swiveled their heads toward the opposite end of the long table.

"In Louisville," the voice continued. "I've had plenty of experience."

I froze . . . The voice belonged to Logan Bruno, the wonderful, amazing Cam Geary look-alike.

It is the last day of Unabashedly Romantic August, albeit the first day I've called it that, and therefore the last proper opportunity to review the Baby-Sitters Club book in which middle school sweethearts Mary Anne Spier and Logan Bruno meet for the first time.

Incidentally, this is also the first time I've noticed how little description the boy characters get in these books. It made sense in previous installments, where everyone from the baby-sitting charges to the sitters' own parents are more or less two-dimensional, and only the members of the Baby-Sitters Club really get to shine as individuals. But Ann M. Martin is already setting Logan up to be significant--not just to the series, but also to the club--so it really does sell him short to say only that he has a Southern accent and looks like an equally fictional teen heartthrob.


We all know Mary Anne loves Sixteen Candles . . .
but in the BSC universe, is Cam Geary
on the left or on the right? =P

Logan isn't the first new member the club has thought about recruiting and he won't be the last, but as far as I know, he's the only boy who ever receives that honour. And I would have liked to have seen him interacting more with the club members and with their clients, because that is how we get the measure of a character in this series. The bad news is that all Martin seems to want him to be is a love interest for her shyest baby-sitter. The good news is that he still gets a baby-sitting gig of his own and the shyest baby-sitter has the task of tagging along to see how well he does.

What follows is a study in different--we could almost say, contrasting--child-minding styles. For instance, when the boy they are watching attempts to do some chinning on the shower curtain rod and comes crashing down, Logan recalls the time he did the exact same thing and starts trading tales of gym class catastrophes with the younger boy . . . while Mary Anne can't believe that it doesn't even occur to Logan to check their charge for injuries and has to do it herself. In fairness, nothing is broken or bleeding--and Logan's personal experience with the same makes Mary Anne seem overly fussy. But Martin seems to be careful about what she portrays as a "boy-girl" thing: the romantic tension between them gets to be that; their different approaches to children don't.

The rest of the book has more of the acceptable boy-girl stuff--namely a date, a dance, and a mixed party--but these are merely milestones in Mary Anne's development rather than movements in the development of a theme . . . or even an argument. Only at the very end do the BSC admit, ever so tacitly, that perhaps boys do make better baby-sitters for other boys. (Was it really so hard, girls? LOL!) When all is added up, Logan Likes Mary Anne! is okay, and even kind of sweet; but it will never be one of my favourite BSC books.

Image Sources: a) BSC #10: Logan Likes Mary Anne! by Ann M. Martin, b) Sixteen Candles screen cap

4 comments:

Spacetraveller said...

Is this the same Babysitting club as in the film of the same name? If it is, then it is certainly reminiscent of those old-style almost Enid Blyton style children's clubs, a bit like the Famous Five or the Secret Seven! This is so different from the typiclal children/teen drama of today. I really like the idea of children running their own business, being useful members of society, having their own ideas as to how to spend their time. They put adults to shame, lol.
And those teen romances are certainly interesting too, aren't they? LOL.

DMS said...

It was interesting to hear your detailed thoughts on this BSC book. I read it so long ago- I would have to reread it again to remember all of the specifics, but I don't remember caring that he wasn't described more. Maybe at that young age I didn't want all the details (I remember picturing him to look like the boy I had a crush on at the time- lol). I think you made many great points! Thanks for sharing!
~Jess

Alise (Readers In Wonderland) said...

I never did ever pick up any of the Babysitter's Club novels, I think I was really into the Series of Unfortunate Events books because they were more my time. Great review, though, these sounds like great coming of age books :)

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Spacetraveller -- Yes, the movie was based on this series. =) I actually saw it before I started reading the books, but I don't want to watch it again until I've "met" all the BSC club members through Ann M. Martin and can decide whether or not the actors cast to play them do them justice!

You've described part of what I love about the BSC! Although it turns out that it's not very realistic for twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls to get as many baby-sitting jobs as our heroines do, the point is that they're being creative, finding productive ways to spend their time, earning good money, and even building up their community! A lot of today's children seem to lead more structured, highly-scheduled lives than these 80s girls, and don't have the freedom to think up their own ideas of how to spend their time.

Jess -- I think we were all supposed to picture Logan as whomever we had a crush on at the time. LOL! His thick Southern accent makes him stand out much more, though. I'm glad he's not totally generic. =)

Alise -- Hi! Welcome to Shredded Cheddar! =D

The BSC books definitely have a lot of coming-of-age elements, but because they are part of a juvenile series which stretched eighth grade over a hundred books (and several Super Specials and Mysteries!), I'm sure I'll soon get the sense that we keep tackling the same issues over and over again and the girls take forever to grow up. LOL! At least it was like that with the Sweet Valley Twins books which I also read at around the same time, and with the Nancy Drew books I inherited from my mother.

On the other hand, A Series of Unfortunate Events seems to follow more of a plan, even if the individual books seem just as formulaic. (I've only read one, though!) In general, I think all series books for children started paying more serious attention to character development after Harry Potter. You could say I'm reading the BSC now for the retro kick! ;-)

Thanks so much for dropping by and returning my comment!