You know what I’ve realized I love the most about The Baby-sitters Club? It’s the fact you can curl up with a book and read it in an hour and a half. These past few weeks, when I’ve come across a book I’ve struggled to get through for whatever reason (work, working out, family life, slow plot line), having the option to turn to one of the books from my childhood has really helped me to just sit down and read for a few hours. This is quite possibly one of the many reasons I enjoyed the series so much as a little girl.
In Dawn and the Impossible Three, the newest member of the BSC, Dawn Schaffer finds herself struggling with two major (for a twelve year old) dilemmas. The first has to do with her position in the club and more specifically, her relationship with the club President, Kristy Thomas. After all, Dawn has just recently become Mary Anne Spier’s friend and in the wake of Kristy’s impending move across town and the revelation that Mary Anne and Dawn’s parents are dating, there’s a lot of jealousy clouding Kristy’s mind. I won’t go as far to claim she’s being bitchy as she has been in previous books, but I will not completely say her behavior towards Dawn is justifiable. Yes, things are changing for her and she eventually learns to accept Dawn, not only as Mary Anne’s friend, but her own. But by the same token, Dawn shouldn’t have taken it upon herself to offer an olive branch. After all, she never really does anything wrong towards Kristy. For example, when she’s helping Mary Anne decorate her room, it is Mary Anne’s fault, not Dawn’s, that Kristy wasn’t originally invited.
The other dilemma Dawn has to deal with comes in the form of a new family the club is babysitting for: The Barretts. In the process of getting divorced, Mrs. Barrett seems to be falling apart in every aspect of her life, with the exception of her own appearance. Though a few of the other girls babysit for the family throughout the course of the book, it is Dawn who primarily has to handle juggling neglected children and undertaking the task of reorganizing (and cleaning) up Mrs. Barrett’s life. As a child of divorce herself, she shares a special bond with the three children and with a disorganized mother, at times, she even sympathizes with Mrs. Barrett. But the truth is, Mrs. Barrett is neglectful to the point of inexcusable throughout this entire book. She rarely leaves Dawn with any information about where she’s going to be, she has no regard for the state of her house nor her children and she even neglects to warn Dawn that one of her children is allergic to chocolate. The allergy issue alone raises a lot of red flags, especially since normal parents would warn you of such a thing as you step in the door. But she also fails to warn Dawn that she and her husband are having a somewhat messy custody battle and it winds up putting the poor girl in a difficult spot when Mr. Barrett decides to just pick up his kids on his day, regardless if Mrs. Barrett remembered or not.
Obviously, things get better at the Barret house as I do vaguely remember them being mentioned in future books. But truthfully, if I were their babysitter, I would have quit as it was clear the other girls in the club were. As with every BSC book, everything works out nice and neatly, just in time for the book to end.