Updated: Oct 23, 2021
Most of us know their names, have a favorite character, a favorite book. I devoured this series for about a year and a half. I remember Mary Anne's cat, Kristy's dog, Stacey at the candy store, unable to indulge in a piece of candy, which at the time I thought was a real tragedy.
I was incredibly jealous of Claudia's room all to herself, her own phone line, and her hidden stash of junk food.
My favorite was the one about Dawn's haunted (possibly) house. The idea of living in a house that dates back to Colonial times blew my mind. I have no idea how common that is around Stoneybrook, but there wasn't much of it in my hometown. I already loved ghost stories, and there were a few moments in the book that creeped me out, although I don't remember them. Maybe a secret passage?
I don't remember many of the plots very well, but I remember the subplots. Kristy's dog's funeral. The girls go to visit Stacey in New York and meet her fancy city friend. Dawn grossing the others out with her health food.
I don't remember making a decision to stop reading the books; probably I'd read all the ones that my library had four times each. I read some of the articles that came out when the Netflix show started and saw that I missed out on a whole lot of stuff that came out after I quit.
I watched the first episode of the show, and being re-introduced to those characters was a real time warp. I would have been an avid fan if it had been on when I was a kid. I know that there was a show back then, but I never got to see it. This was back when there was one tv in the house and no streaming.
I've never heard of anyone looking back on these and realizing that they were awful, as happens with so much of what we watched, listened to, and read back then. The girls were smart and organized. They were responsible and resourceful, and kind and honest. I think that if I had a daughter, I'd be happy to give her these books. They've been issued with shiny new covers and in graphic editions, but Bookshop has this cool retro set:
I did see an article about how the character Jessi's race was handled, and I honestly couldn't remember much about her. I remember that Jessi and Mallory were added after the original four, and, I think, after Stacey was replaced by Dawn. I remember a plotline in which they were unhappy because they felt that, as junior members, they were being treated unfairly by the older girls. I began to wonder how Jessi had been written when I began to write this post, and there appeared an answer in my twitter feed. (The article, BTW, is an excerpt from a book by adult fans revisiting the series and now I need to read it.)
And this is an article that came out when the new series began on Netflix: Hemingway writes the Baby-sitters Club.