Mary Anne Saves the Day is the fourth installment, and what was supposed to be the final book in the series. We catch up to Mary Anne and Kristy shouting to each other on their way to the BSC meeting. It’s a Monday, almost 5:30. They run across the street to Claudia’s, mentioning the snow so that we know it’s January and half of their seventh grade year is complete.
They introduce Janine as a genius fifteen year old who takes classes at Stoneybrook University. I don’t think it’s really important to the plot or to anyone’s characterization, but her presence fleshes out the characters of Stoneybrook, so I won’t complain. When Kristy and Mary Anne reach Claudia’s room, they see Claudia with her head in a pajama bag. I realized that I had no idea what a pajama bag was, so I googled it. Apparently they DO exist, but they seem to be sort of small. None of my results seem to tell me what the purpose is, but i would imagine that it’s a place to store pajamas? I wouldn’t want to eat ring dings that came out of Claudia’s laundry.
After a couple of routine calls, which introduce us to Kristy’s situation with Watson, Karen and Andrew, along with her younger brother David Michael, Mrs. Newton calls, needing a sitter for Jamie and Lucy. Kristy answered the phone and tells Mrs. Newton that she will sit. And that is when the BSC gets into a huge fight that ends when everyone storms out of Claudia’s room.
Mary Anne goes home first. She makes dinner for her father who sounds really distant (that’s in the “far away emotionally” way, not in the “so cool” way). They, and the reader, suffer through a dinner that is made up of small talk among two people who don’t have very much in common. After that, Mary Anne goes to her room which is decorated in pink and white (sounds okay to me!) and has framed pictures of Nursery Rhyme characters. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that to me, I think that there are probably two reason why Mr Spier hasn’t allowed Mary Anne to redecorate.
1.) Alma, his deceased wife, probably decorated this room for Mary Anne all those years ago. He doesn’t want her to change it because he’s holding on to Alma and her desires.
2.) Mary Anne has not asked to redecorate.
I wasn’t allowed to put up posters either, at least not until I moved into my parents apartment in 6th grade and put them up anyway, so I can understand Richard’s thoughts on the holes in the walls. (However, I’m pretty sure that tape was invented)
The next day, Mary Anne wants to make up with her friends, bla bla bla. What is important here is that she writes two very passive aggressive notes that she does not send, and one nice note to Claudia. She tries to figure out how to give it to Claudia and where to sit at lunch, because she has no other friends. Claudia is sitting with Trevor Sandbourne, and Mary Anne claims they look very cozy. I went to a K-8 program where we just ate at our regular desks, so this is strange to me. High school was so crowded that I can’t imagine anyone having a cozy lunch.. but maybe that’s just me? (And the hundreds of kids who went to my school).
Oh, so Mary Anne sits alone, and Dawn Schafer, a new girl in town joins her. They make friends, and Dawn brags about her VCR and invites Mary Anne over. Mary Anne feels guilty about having new friends, which makes me really wonder about what kind of friend Kristy Thomas really is, and whatever happened to the Shillaber twins anyway?
The next day everyone is still fighting, but it’s Wednesday. When Mary Anne realizes that Kristy is still mad at her, she goes to Dawn’s house after school. They talk about divorces and their parents and The Parent Trap I really liked this part, because the Haley Mills version is one of my favorite movies of all time. So they watch it, then Mary Anne runs to Claudia’s house. After the meeting, Claudia and Mary Anne make up, sort of, and they decide that Mary Anne should talk to Kristy about the club.
The next day, Kristy decides that they will take turns hanging out in Claudia’s room answering the phones. I guess they don’t need to actually talk to Claudia about this. Jobs are taken by whomever is on duty, or offered around. Kristy tells Mary Anne that she can now stay out later. Mary Anne is sad because she’s still stuck coming home at 9 pm on weeknights, 9:30 on weekends. Hey, I didn’t even have a curfew. I had to ask permission and say where I was at all times, and it was decided on a case by case basis. I would have loved to have a curfew that let me go out and do stuff without having a whole big thing where someone would drop me off and pick me up at a designated time.
Sunday afternoon, Mary Anne sits for the Prezzioso family. It’s boring. Jenny spills some watercolors on her white dress and Mary Anne washes it out and dries it with a hairdryer. To this day, I still dry things with my hairdryer when I need it to be dried quickly.
Mary Anne decides to ask for a later curfew. She freaks out and calls her father her jailer, which probably didn’t help her case much. I feel for her, but it’s also hilarious. It kind of reminds me of this video that I saw a long time ago; which I can’t find right now.
So Mary Anne talks to Mimi about her problems, which is understandable because Mary Anne doesn’t have a mother and her best friend isn’t speaking to her. But Claudia sees Mary Anne and Mimi and freaks out because no one else in Claudia’s family actually likes Claudia. Yet Claudia still flips out on Mary Anne and now no one in the BSC is talking. This book is great. And very long.
At the next meeting, Mary Anne sets up some jobs, and Claudia is passive agressive. She plays the radio really loud and annoys the parents who call. Kristy says something else to Mary Anne which makes me like Kristy even less as a friend. She says “You know, Mary Anne, for someone so shy, you sure can be..” and then she gets cut off. But I think she was going to say stubborn or something. Like it was Mary Anne’s fault they were fighting, which is absolutely not true.
The next job Mary Anne goes on is at the Pikes, which she shares with Kristy. It doesn’t go very well, until they start playing telephone with the kids. Mallory is sat for, and they describe her as “a big help”. Mary Anne is late coming home from the Pikes because the Pikes were late. Mr Spier isn’t pleased. This causes Kristy, Mary Anne’s BEST FRIEND to call her a baby. Why are they friends again?
Dawn and Mary Anne discover that their parents did, in fact, know each other in high school. It looks a bit like they look like they knew all of each other, judging by the yearbook writing that Dawn and Mary Anne discover. Later, Mary Anne sits at the Prezzioso house, where Jenny is sick, yet her parents decide to go to a basketball game anyway. Mary Anne calls Dawn. Together, they call nine-one-one. (Actually, Dawn suggests it, despite the title of the book. I’m going to assume that the title assumes to her saving the day later, at the Newtons). Ambulance comes, Jenny is saved, in the physical sense, not the spiritual sense. Mr P pays Dawn and Mary Anne $10 and they go back to Mary Anne’s house. They then get into a fight because Dawn realizes that Mary Anne is using her to make Kristy jealous.
And anyway, because this book is really long, eventually everyone makes up, after they almost ruin Jamie’s birthday party. Mr Spier meets Dawn’s mom, and they oogle each other for awhile, and later Mr Spier decides that Mary Anne can stay out for that extra half hour, and she can redecorate her room and do her hair how she likes. Then the sitters decide to let Dawn into the Club.
I’m pretty sure that the vocabulary/ grammar lesson of the week has been replaced with a notice that people were shorter in 1795.
Literature that is mentioned
Mary Anne reads A Wrinkle In Time.
The Phantom Tollbooth, Peter Rabbit, and Pippi Longstocking are also mentioned.
Writing that will be re-hashed throughout the series
I may actually no longer blame Peter Lerangis for this particular quirk, which will be rehashed in various ways, throughout the next 127 books in various ways.
Janine is a genius. Honest.
I really didn’t think there were any until at least a few more books into the series, but Mary Anne mentions that she has only walked to school alone a few times, one of which was when Kristy and her family left for Florida before spring vacation. Later, in Super Special #1, which was published, I think 18 months later, Kristy claims that she has never left Connecticut.
Another one, that confuses me way too much is that Mary Anne claims her mother grew up in Maryland. Now, I’m pretty sure that later we find out that Alma is from Iowa…. So what gives? (And I’m really happy that I read this, because I didn’t think I’m so stupid to confuse Maryland with Iowa).