Previously: A new girl in a hippie skirt tries to break Claudia away from the BSC. All’s well that ends with a poorly crafted rhyming poem, however and the BSC remained in tact.
Nugs: I am just going to put this out there: I volunteered to review The Baby-Sitters Club for Childhood Trauma because I wanted to be Stacey McGill. She was from NYC like myself, she seemed pretty cool, and she also appeared to be the only one in the Club that could take on Kristy in a street fight.
Sweeney: I’m a big fan of Stacey and of Kristy losing in a street fight, but I am a little doubtful that the girl whose perm featured prominently in earlier books is really going to be participating in street fights. But fifty points for the Mortal Kombat reference.
I remember when I was a kid and I first saw this cover. My little heart was broken. Would she be killed in a fiery motorcycle wreck? Dismembered by a youth-mauling bear? Chomped to bits by a child-eating shark? I mean, the title was pretty vague, but it did say “Goodbye, Stacey,” which meant that this was probably her last book.
Sweeney: This was back when we were naive children who believed in continuity.
Nugs: So we begin with Claudia running to Stacey’s locker to inform her that Howie, her “sort of boyfriend,” has asked out another girl. WTF? Who the fuck is Howie? I usually half-ass my attention span with the BSC girls but I’m pretty sure there was never a Howie. And what happened to the dude from like three pages ago with the blue headband? Stacey gets another #hosuspension.
Slow down, girl. You are well on your way to a #hoexpulsion.
Sweeney: Maybe that’s why she leaves! But seriously, as dull as these books already are, I just don’t know what’s going to happen during her absence from Stoneybrook.
Nugs: We go from this to yet another rehash of who and what takes place at a club meeting, just like in every goddamn book. Seriously, Ann M., we get it. ENOUGH. I do, however, love all the thinly veiled lesbian references that everyone makes when they talk about Kristy. It’s like they just know.
Stacey describes the phone ringing as her “favorite part of the meeting.” My favorite part of the meeting is when it’s over and we can get to the good shit. You know, like the plot? I’m still waiting on that.
Sweeney: In thirteen books we still haven’t found many of these “plots” my English teachers often spoke of…
Nugs: Stacey’s mom calls and goes into some weird crap about how Stacey needs to come home right away. Stacey rushes towards her house, understandably fearing the worst, and her parents are both there serving dinner all like, “HAHAJAYKAYLOLOL.” Seriously, McGills? NO.
Finally, it comes out that Mr. McGill, which sounds like the name of a cartoon fish, has been transferred back to NYC and they’re moving in a month (I almost put in “mob” as a typo. That would have been a much more awesome plot development). Stacey starts to go over New York landmarks that she misses in Connecticut, and I have to admit, I do too. LA isn’t exactly a hotbed of culture, unless you count the Playboy mansion as “culture.” Especially now, during the holidays, when most of my family and childhood friends are nowhere near here (if anyone refers to New York City as “The Big Apple” I will throat-punch you), I tend to get pretty homesick. It is pretty difficult to feel the “holiday spirit” when you’re used to snow and cold and December is 60 degrees and sunny. If you want to stay there, Stacey, I will gladly take your place.
Stacey calls Laine Cummings (Sweeney: Oh I forgot about her! The future porn star! Glad she could make an appearance.), her unfortunately named best friend from back home, and informs her of the good news. Laine responds by reminding Stacey of the all the girls who hated her in New York. Um, thanks. Bitch.
Stacey’s next call is to Claudia, whose more appropriate reaction is to cry and devise an ill-fated plan that involves Stacey living with her until they both graduate from middle school. I actually thought this was really cute- when I got transferred from New York to Los Angeles, a few of the Nip Cliquers tried this tactic as well, but I had #adultproblems, like a job, to worry about.
Sweeney: 1) I had friends suggest this when I moved at 14. -and- 2) LOLFOREVER SHE THINKS THEY’RE ACTUALLY GOING TO GRADUATE FROM MIDDLE SCHOOL. Sorry girls, we have over 100 books to go. Get comfy.
Nugs: Is it too late to fake my own death? No? Cool.
The rest of the BSC annoyingly chime in at the lunch table, and Mary Anne literally spends the entire rest of the book crying. Seriously. Every chapter has something like, “Mary Anne wailed. Mary Anne sobbed. Mary Anne dabbed at her eyes.” Nugs took a steak knife to her own throat.
The girls decide to plan a going-away party for Stacey, and in a hilarious display of Martin’s expert foreshadowing, Kristy “tentatively” suggests, “Boys?” Right. “Tentatively.” The girls decide that the $16.50 they have saved up won’t go very far, but I respectfully disagree. That can buy one fine box of Franzia.
And BTW, only $16.50 after all that baby-sitting? Girls, you are being ripped off. Hire an accountant.
To prepare for the move, Stacey’s family decides to have a yard sale. For reasons I can’t for the life of me figure out, the BSC is incredibly titillated by this momentous occasion and spends the next few chapters jumping around and screeching. The yard sale scene is hilarious if only because it’s ridiculous how seriously this town takes a bunch of thirteen-year-old girls. First they leave them alone with all their kids; now they’re giving them money for a bunch of worn-out shit that will probably break in a week?
Sweeney: Not only are they a bunch of thirteen year old girls, but they seem to spend like six years in the eighth grade. Why are they given so much respect/authority/responsibility? Of course, based on their demonstrated financial acumen, they are probably selling their useless shit for pennies.
Nugs: Actually, I guess the first reason is probably worse.
While baby-sitting for Mallory’s family, the Duggars Pikes, Stacey realizes that Mallory, the oldest of eight, may be a suitable replacement since she’s been changing diapers literally since she could walk. This is only worth mentioning since the italicized type reads, could Mallory fill the hole? I don’t know- why don’t you ask Laine Cummings?
Sweeney: I approve of this visual representation of the YMB. This might be the greatest meme you have introduced to Traumaland so far. Thank you, internet.
Nugs: Google Images- the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.
After all this eighth-grade drama, it’s time for Stacey’s going-away party. Since Kristy’s in charge, of course there are no boys there. Instead, we get a full chapter of the most boring junior high gathering ever. It’s all the kids they baby-sit for, with kiddy games and two cakes; a regular one plus a non-sweetened one for Stacey.Honestly, that sounds like a really lame-ass party. I know they only have like three other friends, but no eighth-graders turn down the chance to hold hands in a closet or whatever it is kids are calling third base these days (I am really fucking old). Would it have killed them to get some vodka or something and send out a Facebook evite?I can totally get behind the cake, though.
Sweeney: The parents of Stoneybrook are actually kind of brilliant. They got these girls to spend their own damn money on party shit and then agree to baby-sit for free? Well played, parents. Well played.
Nugs: Just when we thought Kristy may have redeemed herself, Stacey still has to attend her last meeting of the Baby-Sitters Club. Kristy acts extra-cunty as she promotes Dawn from Alternate Officer to Treasurer. Stacey tells the readers that she thinks Kristy’s a show-off, and we’re all like, JUST SAY IT, GIRL. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.
Claudia then brings up giving Dawn’s empty spot to Mallory Pike, and they all debate the fact that she may be too young. Really, girls? REALLY? Did it take this long for SOMEONE to mention the fact that you’re all fucking four years old? I seriously almost laughed when I read this. But of course, Ann M. Martin’s writer’s salary trumps logic, and Mallory is given the fateful, dramatic phone call.
Sweeney: This is kind of a theme for books 10-20. Not sure how to end the story? Realizing how repetitive your stories have become? Let’s end with a chapter of discussions on adding a new member!
Nugs: Claudia then “proposes a toast” to Stacey with bottles of diet soda. Starting early, are we?
The next day is moving day. Stacey wakes up, eats a meager breakfast from what’s left in the fridge and looks out the window to see the Club staring at her from outside.
Whoa there. This is getting a little too put the lotion in the basket for me.
Stacey has a tearful goodbye with her three friends and her one robot acquaintance, who have made her a parachute of a goodbye banner. Honestly, I would miss the sheet on purpose and just jump out the window to avoid book #14, but hey, Sweeney, if you want to step up and take it away from me, I have three dollars and two sticks of gum in my wallet as payment. No? Crap.
Sweeney: No, but I’d consider it for that box of Franzia.
Nugs: Claudia hands Stacey a note to read in the car, and after many more tears and her parents prying her away, the McGills are off to New York. Here’s where I have to comment on Ann M. Martin or ghostwriter’s rudeness- we know Claudia is an idiot; there is no need to consistently shove it in our faces:
I bet this will keep you amuzed intil you get to NY. City. Maybe I will never have another best friend, but it would be wirth it. I mean it would be wirth it to have had you for my best freind even if it was for just a yer. You will always be my best best freind if you know what I mean. What I mean is I might get another best freind sometime but she wouldnt be as good a best freind as you.
I feel like Scholastic’s writers take some kind of perverse joy in making fun of disabilities. I mean, first they had the cupcake on the cover of the book where we found out about Stacey’s diabetes, and they’re also constantly pointing out that Claudia is suffering from what is clearly supposed to be some kind of learning disorder. And Kristy- well, she’s obviously a borderline sociopath. And BTW, why would Claudia know how to correctly spell “dear” but not “year?”
At any rate, Good-bye Stacey, Good-byewas less obnoxious than the other twelve books because as a transplanted New Yorker, I could relate to having to leave almost everyone you love and completely start over. Although Stacey gets to go back to New York, while I had to move away, and I’m aware that I’m totally jealous of a fictional pre-teen right now. Don’t judge.
Next time on The Baby-sitters Club: The Ann M. Martin Ghost Writing Collective brings Mallory into the BSC, and the girls go G-Rated sorority house on her with their hazing rituals. Will Mallory pass the test? Find out in BSC #14 – Hello Mallory.