Mary Anne has never been a leader of the Baby-sitters Club. She’s left that up to Kristy… or Claudia… or Stacey. But now there’s a big fight among the four friends, and Mary Anne doesn’t have them to depend on anymore.
It’s bad enough when she’s left alone at the lunch table at school. But when she has to baby-sit a sick child without any help from the club members, Mary Anne knows it’s time to take charge.
The Baby-sitters Club is going to fall apart unless somebody does something – fast. Maybe it’s time for Mary Anne to step in and save the day!
I forgot how easy it was to sit down with a Baby-sitters Club book and just finish it in one sitting. This is probably one of the reasons I loved the series as a little girl. The other reason lay with the girls themselves. Despite how much or how little I liked each character, they all had at least one thing that resonated with the young girl I was.
Mary Anne Spier is actually the first member of The Baby-sitters Club that I was introduced to and she always remained one of my favorites. Despite the fact I was more like Kristy Thomas, I found something comforting about how sensitive Mary Anne could be and how loving she was towards her friends. Whenever trouble stirs up within the group, she’s usually the one trying to maintain the peace.
This is especially apparent in this first story based around Mary Anne. After months of little things bothering them (i.e. people not offering jobs, people being rude, etc.) the girls find themselves at odds with one another after a huge blow up. Surprisingly, the adult in me didn’t spend the entire book rolling my eyes at the drama between the girls. Because, even now, as an adult, I know how easily one little argument, disagreement or misunderstanding can blow up into a huge fight. Besides, I remember the petty fights my friends and I had at the age and no matter how stupid it was, we let them drag on and on and on.
This particular fight actually serves as a positive thing for Mary Anne and in the end, the entire club. For Mary Anne, it forces her out of her comfort zone. For too long, she’s hidden behind Kristy and Claudia. She’s shy and never makes it a point to befriend people other than those who are friends with her friends. But when this fight leaves her sitting all alone in the cafeteria, she finds the courage to befriend a new girl, Dawn Schafer. Not only does it open her up to making a new friend, but it allows her an opportunity to find her own voice. Especially in regards to sticking up for herself with her friends and ultimately her father, who still treats her like a little girl.
Once everything is said and done, the girls manage to make up and find themselves with a new member in their midst. Meanwhile, Mary Anne’s father allows her to rid herself of the childish braids, choose her own clothing (within reason, obviously) and even have a later curfew for babysitting. True, the stories of these girls aren’t going to become classical fiction like Little Women or Little House on the Prairie did, but they had an impact on my childhood and I love having the opportunity to try and recapture that feeling.