“I had the urge to apologize, but I knew that was silly.” or Mary Anne’s Makeover

This book was after my time with the BSC, so I never read it as a kid.  When I got more into this blog and read more about the BSC online, I got kind of interested.  Mary Anne’s Makeover just sounded….wacky.  I kind of couldn’t believe it was a real BSC plot, so I knew I had to check it out myself.

Nice pants, Mary Anne.

The book is not just wacky.  This book is fucking BANANAS!  I think this makes everyone’s list for either favorite or least favorite and I can see why.  It’s terrible.  But it’s also great in that ‘so bad it’s good’ sort of way.  Peter Lerangis must count himself either incredibly lucky or incredibly unlucky that he got to pen this awesome travesty.

Mary Anne sees a picture of a model with a cute pixie haircut in a magazine.  She asks the BSC what they think, and they all don’t think it’s her.  Mary Anne tries to put it out of her mind, but she can’t stop thinking about that goddamn haircut.  Also, she’s annoyed that her friends are trying to keep her from trying something new.  So she finds the picture of the haircut and is all ‘fuck ’em, I’m gonna do this!’  She shows the picture to Richard, who is not only supportive of Mary Anne’s desire to get her haircut, he decides to make a Father-Daughter day out of it.  Take her shopping, out to lunch, etc.  (And my love of Richie Spier grows exponentially!)

Mary Anne keeps her weekend haircut plans a secret from everyone.  Even Dawn, which Dawn will make her LIVE TO REGRET!!!!! She gets to the salon and gets her haircut and she lurves it and so does her dad.  He takes her to a trendy store and buys her new clothes and she even gets a free makeover.  Then he lets her buy the makeup that was used for her makeover.  (He asks the clerk for the ‘recipe,’ she used.  Adorbs!) They listen to a free jazz concert in the mall and eat at Casa Grande.  (Which I’m pretty sure is also the name of the Mexican place the girls and Ducky eat at in the California Diaries series.  And if that’s correct, I kind of hate myself for knowing that.)

So they get home and Sharon is amazed at how fabulous Mary Anne looks.  Dawn is quiet and doesn’t say anything about it, until she’s directly asked.  “I can’t believe you did that.  Where’d you go, Gloriana’s?”  (Backstory: Gloriana gave Karen Brewer an awful mullet some books earlier.  She probably deserved it.) Dawn doesn’t say much else, except to point out how expensive the clothing store is, and Mary Anne notices a hurt expression on her face.  She starts to feel guilty, but isn’t quite sure why.

The next day, Logan sees the new ‘do and loves it.  Dawn is giving Mary Anne the silent treatment.  To get back at her, Mary Anne makes a big plate ‘o bacon for her breakfast on Monday morning and eats it, including a piece that fell off her plate.  When Dawn mutters “gross,” Mary Anne says “Good morning!”, which I just love.  At school Alan Gray makes fun of her, but everyone else finds the new Mary Anne stunning…even mean old Cokie Mason!

Everyone loves it, except the BSC.  Claudia can’t believe Mary Anne went without the rest of the cult club.  Kristy calls Mary Anne a knucklehead and says , “we said that cut wasn’t you.”  Stacey assures her the hair will grow out.  Mary Anne is dumbfounded (you and me both, toots), but Logan assures her it looks great and that the most important thing is that she likes it.

It doesn’t get better at the BSC meeting, where snide comments were flying.  Logan came with her to a couple of meetings, and she and him decided to eat lunch on their own.  Because, really.  Also some rumors started flying that a high school boy has a crush on Mary Anne.  Mary Anne skips going Kid-Kit shopping with Kristy and spends an afternoon with Logan instead.  Big mistake, because now Kristy is pissed that Mary Anne bailed on her to be with her boyfriend.  Because Kristy has totally made Mary Anne want to hang out with her or whatever.

Now that Mary Anne is barely talking to the BSC (and has decided to stop going to meetings for the time being) she’s starting to make some new friends.  People she formerly thought were snobs are suddenly very nice to her, and Mary Anne thinks that maybe the BSC were the ones being snobs.  Ya think?????  And there’s a new rumor that Carlos, a tenth grader, is going to ask her to the high school winter formal.  Mary Anne admits she feels flattered, even though it’s just a rumor.

Sweet Zombie Jesus, Dawn won’t stop acting like an out of control bitch toward Mary Anne.  She does it right in front of the parents, and why the fuck doesn’t Sharon call her out on it?  And then Logan starts to believe the rumors that Mary Anne is going to the high school formal with Carlos freakin’ Mendez.  But Mary Anne sets him straight.  Then when she gets off the phone, Dawn is all, “Talking to Logan again?  Or was that Carolos?”  BURN!!!  Also, what?

Mary Anne tries to set things right but Dawn will have none of it.  So Mary Anne tells her to “Go choke on an alfalfa sprout.” Which I can’t decide if that’s a really clever retort or a really lame retort.  Because I would have just been like, “Go fuck yourself.”  But that can’t happen in the BSC.  But she decides to try again and Dawn admits she’s just pissed that Mary Anne went to the mall without her and it was hard to see her having so much fun with her dad and it made her feel left out.  Seriously.  Dawn apologizes and thank GOD Mary Anne doesn’t.  I may have reached in the book and punched Mary Anne if she apologized for not doing a fucking thing wrong.

Then she went to the BSC meeting and pretty much the same thing happened.  Everyone said their sorries, even though we don’t really get the scoop on why each of them were so mad in the first place.

Then it’s time for the dance (The January Jamboree) and Mary Anne is going with Logan and Dawn is going with Pete Black, who clearly is much too good for an assclown like Dawn.  Mary Anne looks stunning in her dress, Dawn proclaims.  And Logan is wearing a tux.  And do kids really wear tuxes and fancy dresses for eighth grade dances? Also, Stacey brought Sam.  Because high school dudes love middle school dances!  And Sabrina Bouvier brings…Carlos Mendez!  Hahahaha!

  • I don’t know what the fuck a shirred skirt is. But Mary Anne bought one.  I kind of love the idea that Peter Lerangis now knows what a shirred skirt it, but here I am, totally in the dark about it. Granted, I’m very much a jeans and t-shirt type of gal.
  • There was a baby sitting B plot with Carolyn Arnold building a time machine and charging neighborhood kids to go back in time.  Even for a babysitting plot, it was really boring.
  • When Mary Anne comes back to the BSC after a week and a half, she’s shocked at what a disgrace the record book is.  Because it’s very hard to write down who has what jobs on a calendar?
  • Also, Stacey says that Mary Anne should have called one of them to talk about the problems with Carolyn Arnold.  Because not only did she have the audacity to get her hair cut without the BSC, she also can’t figure out how to tell an eight year old she can’t scam people out of money.
  • When they make up, everyone admits that they do love Mary Anne’s new haircut.  Which raises the question….what was the fucking point of this book anyway?
  • Don’t even get me started on the Sabrina Bouvier mess.  She was a little girl in book 15, and now she’s an eighth grader.  Maybe she’s the only character not a victim of the BSC time-warp?
  • Poll time!

About nikkihb

Wife. Mother. Reader. Blogger.
This entry was posted in Ann M. Martin, BSC, really awful books. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to “I had the urge to apologize, but I knew that was silly.” or Mary Anne’s Makeover

  1. Vanessa says:

    This was the book that made me think I was growing out of the BSC. I wrote about it in a paper for English class that year where I pointed out that if the girls were friends with Mary Anne, they wouldn’t be so bitchy. I remember talking about it with my older sister and she said that yes, it still happens even as an adult and even at 35 she didn’t know why girls do that to each other. I’m now 26 and I think about this book often and I’m still puzzled about the BSC’s reaction. If they were her friends, they would want her to break out of her “shy and quiet” mold but still be the same loyal and friendly Mary Anne that they love. I always chalked Kristy’s reaction up to just being a control freak who has some serious issues.

  2. Mouse says:

    Hate to rain on your parade but Dawn’s already in the cunt log for her role in the California Diaries aka Sunny #2.

  3. Akilah says:

    I love this book because it increased my vocabulary. Mary Anne is a pariah! And yes I remembered that without having to look it up.

  4. Stacey was probably mad that she wasn’t the token sophisticated one. Claudia was probably mad that Mary Anne followed a trend that she didn’t start. Kristy was pissed that Mary Anne made a decision that she was not directly a part of. 🙂 Dunno why anyone else would be mad. And for Mary Anne, saying “choke on alfalfa” and not crying when she said it is probably pretty good.
    I think this was the first book I was aware of the cult-ish creepy quality of BSC. But yay for Richard! Did he take her for her first makeover too in the early books? Shirred is small pleats.

  5. PaigePaigers says:

    Can Dawn be entered twice? I think if you’re a cunt twice you deserve to be on the list twice.

  6. magnolia says:

    yeah, this was my not-quite-break-up book with BSC as well. i just really remember thinking how big a bitch every one of those girls was. it was definitely the end of my “i have to read every last one” phase.
    my break-up book was “stacey and the bad girls,” during which i thought, jesus, how naive was she, for being little miss sophisticated new-yorker? it was laughable.
    but did any of this stop me from reading all of the friends forever books, as well as “the fire at mary anne’s house,” during law school at age 27? yeah, no…

  7. Laura Albert says:

    I also really love Richard Spier in this book (and others too.)

    classbookworm: I thinks that’s totally why Kristy was mad.

    I also think that if Dawn’s name is not on the Cunt Log, it should be. I think it is though ’cause she shames the children INTENTIONALLY when they don’t talk to their families about recycling in Dawn Save the Planet.

  8. Dawn is awful for being jealous that Mary Anne had a good time out with her ONE LIVING PARENT.

    • nikkihb says:

      Seriously. Mary anne can totally one up Dawn. Sorry your dad lived 3000 miles away….oh he LIVES 3000 miles away? Sorry your mom is a total stoner, but she’s breathing, right?

      • Fran says:

        That’s what always drove me crazy! If Mary anne went with Sharon without telling Dawn, I would understand her feeling left out. But she’s just a major, major bitch in this one.

    • merrymelodyistoooldforthis says:

      I never read the real later books, but the last Mary Anne/Dawn one is hysterical, it’s post California Diaries, and Mary Anne concludes that Dawn’s having to focus on Sunny’s grief is very unfair, as she hasn’t gotten to deal with her own; like, yes, of course when someone else’s mom dies (slowly and painfully!), the real victim is Dawn. (Although I think Mary Anne’s agreeing shifts her several spaces up the cunt list, herself, tbh.) Especially when Dawn spends the equivalent of a year before the woman died reflecting on how she’s morally superior because she visits once in a while. (Pretty sure if I knew I was dying and about to leave my only child forever, what would be really helpful for me is not her tween friends bringing me the papers once in a while, but what she actually asks for, and Dawn ignores, which is for Dawn to be a friend to Sunny.)

  9. Amber says:

    This is exactly why I never get any fancy haircuts.

  10. I remember reading this book in first or second grade and deciding that since it was treated as cool in the BSC, Laura Ashley must be THE place to get clothes. My mother was visibly disturbed by this, but gamely took me to a Laura Ashley store, where I made several horrified faces and then remembered that I’d never like Mary Anne much, anyways. Good times. 😀

  11. Aisha says:

    This was the last Baby-Sitter’s Club book I bought and read. I was getting too old for the series by then, and not really enjoying the books as much. However, I did like this one. I actually think it sends a pretty good message about standing up for yourself and not allowing your friends to define you.

  12. Pingback: “Guess who barfed in the rented van?” Or, Sea City Here We Come! | Are You There Youth? It's Me, Nikki

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