Monday, 27 July 2009

Week Two: What You Were Reading When You Were Ten

What was I reading when I was ten? As an English graduate, I'm duty bound by a canon of classics, and as a children's literature nerd I'm bound further still. As a science fiction/fantasy fan, there's a whole other set of set-texts I should be name-dropping. Peter Pan. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The Last Unicorn. The Once and Future King. Even a couple of Goosebumps or books from the Point Horror series would suffice.

But, really, mostly what I was reading when I was ten were Babysitter's Club books.

The Babysitter's Club was a long-running series spanning some 131 books, and multiple spin-offs. Initially, it was about four teenaged lesbians - Kristy (the butch), Mary Anne (her bookish lover), Claudia (the art school dyke) and Stacey (the uber-femme) - who ran their own business, capitalising on the irresponsible nature of the parents of Stoneybrook who were too cheap to shell out for a child minder, but didn't mind leaving their children in the charge of a bunch of hormonally charged thirteen year olds.

Later, the core four were joined by Dawn (the hippy), Jesse (the token, erm, dancer) and Mallory (the twat), and a couple of associated babysitters, of whom I was most interested in ferosh Jewish princess Abby, and Mary Anne's merkin, 'boy babysitter' Logan, who didn't go to meetings because all his friends would call him a 'douchebag gaywad' (or the eighties equivalent).

Further to the pre-amble, the series wasn't without it's science fiction elements. The girls spent the entire series - spin-offs included - in a sort of eigth grade time loop, which incorporated multiple seasons, an unholy number of trips abroad (I'm pretty sure these bitches went to DisneyLand twice), people moving to the other side of America and then coming back a couple of weeks later, and an unseemly number of plot-convenient births, marriages and deaths.

I guess what was appealing to me about the books was what was always meant to be appealing to their female pre-teen target market: the books offered me an insight into a world of boyfriends, glamorous outfits (detailed in full, hysterical detail over at What Claudia Wore) and even more glamorous histrionics, a world that - as an overweight gay boy with a less than keen interest in personal hygiene - I was never to be a part of.

My favourite book in the series was Claudia and the Sad Goodbye, because it detailed the aforementioned glamorous outfits (Claudia's penchant for earrings shaped like, like, a dog and a bone, or a telephone and a thirteen year old girl eating chocolate and crying, was totally chic to my ten year old mind), Claudia's constant bitching out of her sister Janine for saying smart stuff and not being a giant fuck up, and, also, the death of one of my favourite characters. Goodbye, Mimi.



Ems said...

I very very clearly remember Claudia wearing earrings shaped like little parrots. I am going to go and find them on that website.

Ems said...

Also I wanted to be Claudia SO BAD I even promised God I would never complain about not being able to spell if he made me as pretty and arty as Claudia. My best friend was a Claudia. I was most definitely a Kristy.

Lecari said...

I LOVED the names Dawn & Claudia when I was younger. I suspect the Babysitter's Club had something to do with it. (And I think Claudia's earrings are awesome.)

Did you watch the TV show? I can still remember the theme tune.

-Claire. (Was linked here by Emma.)

Michael said...

Emma - little parrots? Nuh uh! Fierce bitches do not wear matching earrings. It was probably a parrot and... I don't know, a jungle or something (I can't think of anything else that would 'go' with a parrot).

Lecari - I did watch the TV show! And I woke up at half past six every morning for a whole summer to see it. Dedication! The theme tune was aces. Sucks that the only episode I've ever found online is pretty much editted down to all the bits that had Zach Braff in it.

Ems said...

Michael: Was Zach Braff the lesser-spotted LOGAN?!!

Michael said...

Zach Braff played one of Dawn's many Boyfriend of the Week's, homegirl was pretty slutty for someone so moral.

To my memory, TV Logan was totally ug, he was the weak link in a very fine production.

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