The Baby-Sitters Club: California Girls

Okay, so this isn’t really “normal” for me, but given my current situation it will probably be a “normal” installment. I’m pregnant right now, and in my 2nd trimester, so I’m doing a lot of resting, reading, and watching mindless television. Honestly, I don’t really want to delve into anything serious right now…

Sooooo to relieve some of my occasional boredom, I have dug out a hell of a lot of books from my youth. I haven’t the slightest clue why I would want to do this, it IS fluff but honestly I really do need it right now. Admittedly, it’s hilarious to me to read this stuff as I did when I was a kid. Perhaps, if I have a girl, she will be interested in reading these books…although the premise IS quite dated, in my opinion.

After going through the new e-books by Francine Pascal, the Sweet Valley Confidential series, I was very disappointed. I wanted to write to Amazon Kindle and demand my dollars back, but heck with it…the originals weren’t that “awesome”, either. I might have to write a bit on the Confidential series, but to be honest, it wasn’t that memorable and I’m not too hip on rereading it. Maybe later. As wild and implausible the original plots were, Jessica Wakefield as a parent? Liz living some insanely sinful life with Bruce Patman? Le sigh..

Anyhow, last night I went through Baby-Sitters Club: California Girls! This was hilarious to me.

California Girls


If you aren’t familiar with the Baby-Sitters Club franchise (I doubt anyone over 30 isn’t familiar), it is a series of books concerning a bunch of 13 year old girls that create a baby-sitting club in Stoneybrook, Connecticut (hey, it seemed like a good idea in the 80s). There are five members…Kristi Thomas, the one that founded the club, is class president, and seems to have a stick up her ass; Mary Anne Spier, the secretary and the one who is shy, romantic, constantly in awe of absolutely anything and everything; Stacey McGill, the treasurer who is originally from New York City (which means rude, right?) and HAS DIABETES which is consistently mentioned in the books; Claudia Kishi, who is the vice president, artist, and the worst. dresser.ever, and Dawn Schafer, who is originally from California, is the alternate officer, and has long blond hair, which proves she is from California. There are also two junior officers that are only 11 years old and in sixth grade…Mallory Pike, who is the freak that has red hair and seven brothers and sisters, and Jessi Ramsey, who is black. Apparently this is very important, because in nearly every book after Jessi arrives, it is mentioned that she is black and her best friend, Mallory, is white (it becomes very irritating after awhile, as anyone who has ever read the books can attest to). I won’t even get into the myriad of problems that exist concerning ELEVEN year olds taking charge of baby-sitting jobs, it’s just ludicrous to me.

So, now I’ve done the introduction and wondering how the hell Ann M. Martin dealt with doing so in every single book (bless her heart). Now…to the book. Sigh.

This edition is a Super Special, which means the girls get into zany adventures that no normal pre-teens/early teens could possibly entertain. In this particular book, the girls WIN THE LOTTERY. To be specific, they win ten thousand dollars in the Jack-O’-Lottery. I don’t think this has absolutely anything to do with Michael Jackson; if it does, apologies are in order. So, the very feasible plot device enables the girls to go visit California during some kind of two week Spring vacation. Why California? Dawn’s parents are divorced, her mother moved to Connecticut and her father and little brother Jeff live in California. So, the girls split 10 grand (I guess they didn’t account for taxes) and each get $1428 bucks, which is apparently enough for airfare from the east coast to Cali, various theme park admissions, etc. Yes, this is very probable, even in the 80s.

Of course, there are various problems. Dawn’s father is dating a woman named Carol that she absolutely despises; Kristi doesn’t get along with the west coast equivalent of the club, the We ❤ Kids Club (not that Kristi really gets along with anybody); Jessi gets a big head because she gets to be an extra in a tv show; Stacey becomes a surfer (wow, dude) with weirdfrienditis; and Claudia, who is notorious for being, well, dumb, falls in love with a smart guy that is probably more suited for her sister, Janine.

The best plot of the book, though, in my opinion? Mallory Pike. Mallory, the 11 year old. Good grief. Poor, geeky, redheaded-freckley Mallory who doesn’t really seem to serve a purpose in any of these books. Anyhow, she decides that she wants to be a “California girl”, whatever the hell that means. I guess all the people in California look the same? Funny, I didn’t notice that problem when I was in California, but okay. Sooo…Mallory decides to become a California girl. How? With makeup and hair dye, of course! Naturally, the other girls are totally chagrined about Mallory’s behavior. Never mind each and every one of them are acting nuts, but okay. She uses up all of her spending money on blond hair dye and cosmetics at the mall. You would think there would be serious problems with this issue, with Mallory being only ELEVEN YEARS OLD, but the saleswoman gives her a wash-out blond hair dye and a ton of makeup. Okay, how does a blond, wash-out hair dye become effective on a redhead like Mallory? Has anyone else ever tried to dye their hair blond from red? Well, I have, and it is a very long process…especially with the darker red that Mallory has. Oh, and why does the cover feature Mallory with red hair? Why not impress us with her new California girl looks? Ahh, I shall just have to accept these idiosyncrasies.

Of course, everything wraps up nicely in the end. Keep in mind as it is a Super Special, it needs to be wrapped up and zany, but we won’t mention the whole situation in the numbered books. It simply didn’t happen. Maybe they were dreams, that would probably be a bit more realistic 😉

I give it five stars out of five stars, simply for the whole kitschy nostalgia and the laughing until I’m crying bits.