Oh my goodness! I loved this book so much!! It was SO innocent and reminiscent of my childhood and you could totally tell it was pre-9/11. Some of the things they talk about on the flight definitely do not happen now. It also REALLY reminded me of all the teenage thoughts and feelings about romantic love and how super important it is at that age. Also I’m sure this is because I was completely awkward around boys but the idea of just walking down a beach and just staring at each other really weirds me out. It does now and it does then. I’m not good at the staring deep into eyes thing. Regardless, I really enjoyed this book and it had me smiling so much throughout.
To be honest this book always caused a little bit of an issue for me. I couldn’t agree with Stacey about her reaction for moving back to New York. I suppose that as a child she really didn’t have a say in the matter and it was better to be excited rather than devastated. I think Ann M. Martin did a good job reflecting the back and forth emotions that go hand in hand with a move. I felt really bad for Claudia because she was losing a best friend. Back in 1988 moving was a much bigger deal than it is now. There wasn’t social media or video chats or any of the things that allow us to stay close now. It was good ol’ USPS and the telephone which was tethered to a wall. The club has made the girls closer so I think that Claudia won’t feel the loss quite as acutely than if the club didn’t exist.
I’m just going to say it: the girls in the Baby-Sitters Club were bitches in this book! I kind of have a feeling I would have been the same way and I think that’s what makes me angry. Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne and Dawn were actually pretty awful in this book and I’m really glad that they got called out on it. Seriously in the past (I know I have had to have read this one at least once before!) I didn’t give Mallory enough credit. She not only didn’t take their shit but she called them out on it too. THEN she went on ahead and formed her own damn club. Granted it was only ever her and Jessi’s parents they had as clients but I know at eleven years old I wouldn’t have had the guts to do it. I really admired her this read through.
This book had me laughing quite a bit! I’ll also admit to rolling my eyes more than once. Mallory and Jessi did get a *bit* preachy in this one but I understand. Beauty pageants for little girls has definitely always been a bit of hot topic. This book was originally published in 1988 and Jon Benet’s murder hadn’t happened yet. I think there’s always been a sense of unease surrounding these pageants. I have never been in one and don’t know any little girl that has so I can’t give an opinion one way or the other. I liked how Martin showed how quickly the competitiveness ramped up. I think that this occurs in almost anything a child is involved in be it sports or pageants. I really also liked that she kept it pretty down to earth as far as the aftermath.
Guys! True story here Jessi Ramsey and her family were my first introduction to a black family. I grew up in a town where we had one (maybe two? Definitely only one by the time I can remember concretely) black family. One. Our town was small with only 3,000 people but you would think it would have been just slightly more diverse. Any way I didn’t have much diversity in my life during my growing up. Jessi Ramsey was an introduction if you will to something other than TV families. I adored this book because it showed me something that was totally different and yet fundamentally the same. I feel like in a predominantly white Midwest small town this was extremely important. It challenged things that I had heard. It expanded my horizons a little. Would I ever know Jessi? No, obviously, she isn’t real. But if I can see myself in Kristy or Mary Anne or Mallory and I can also see myself in Jessi then maybe we weren’t very different at all.
Besides that SUPER important lesson in my childhood, reading it again as an adult was a joy. I really like the parts of ballet that Jessi shares in her story. Jessi is also a reader and an oldest sibling. I really loved that she was able to work so hard to be not only Matt’s sitter but also able to really share the hearing world with Matt. Jessi’s Secret Language was a great book and I’m really looking forward to actually completing this series challenge because I don’t know if I ever read another of Jessi’s books past this one. (Small town library pre-library loan days.)
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