No, seriously, why does anybody give Mary Anne Spier the time of day, let alone the sweet, patient puppy-dog, Logan Bruno?
Mary Anne can be such a bitch. Everybody always talks about how shy and caring and considerate she is, but underneath the braid and plaid is a jealous, calculating princess, who uses the excuse of a fabled “strict” father in order to avoid doing things she doesn’t want to do.
That’s the way she seems to be in the tenth Baby-Sitters Club book, Logan Likes Mary Anne! anyway.
This is Mary Anne’s second book in the BSC. The Baby-Sitters Club girls are starting eighth grade, after a summer vacation that lasted four books. On the first day, at lunch time, Mary Anne spots her heart-throb boy-crush, Cam Geary, across the cafeteria.
I nearly spit out a mouthful of milk.
“Stacey!” I whispered after I’d managed to swallow. “Cam Geary goes to our school! Look!”
All my friends turned to look. “Where? Where?”
“That boy?” said Stacey, smiling. “That’s not Cam Geary. That’s Logan Bruno. He’s new this year. He’s in my homeroom and my English class. I talked to him during homeroom. He used to live in Louisville, Kentucky. He has a southern accent.”
I didn’t care what he sounded like. He was the cutest boy I’d ever seen. He looked exactly like Cam Geary. I was in love with him. And because Stacey already knew so much about him, I was jealous of her. What a way to start the year.
Aside: it’s worth noting that this year, the BSC are sitting together at lunch, and that Kristy and Mary Anne are buying lunch because they decided brown paper bags looked ‘babyish’.
Sorry, Shillaber twins. You’re out. You’re not even invited to Mary Anne’s thirteenth birthday party, while the majority of the eighth grade class is.
And does Stephanie Meyer list Ann M Martin as one of her influences? Because this scene reads a bit like the Bella/Edward cafeteria scene, only published seventeen years earlier, and with less glaring and sleaze.
Stacey would have been a much nicer girlfriend for Logan Bruno. It sounds like she went out of her way to talk to him during homeroom, probably empathising with him about the moving away and starting at a new school thing that they both have in common. Also, she hasn’t based his entire personality and worth on his appearance.
As much as Mary Anne would love to gaze some more at Logan Bruno, the Baby-Sitters Club has bigger things to worry about; they have more business than they can handle, and parents are calling Claudia at all hours to find sitters, after Kristy’s Newest Great IdeaTM that they advertise at PTA meetings. A panicking Claudia calls an emergency meeting of the BSC and hauls the club record book to school so they can sort out all of the jobs during their lunch break, where Mary Anne proceeds to have a go at Kristy for suggesting they advertise at the PTA meeting, because Kristy should have known things would get out of control.
Logan overhears the girls, and mentions to them he used to baby-sit a lot in Louisville.
I froze. I froze into an ice statue of Mary Anne. I couldn’t even blink my eyes. The voice belonged to Logan Bruno, the wonderful, amazing Cam Geary look-alike. He really did have a southern accent, too. It sounded as if he’d just said, “In Luevulle. Ah’ve haid plainy of expuryence.”
Mary Anne’s statue and bad accent impersonation aside, the rest of the BSC are both happy and sort of fascinated that a boy baby-sits (…really?) and Kristy invites him to the next Baby-Sitters Club meeting, to see what the club’s all about.
Kristy would have been a good girlfriend for Logan. She’s confident, into sports, and she “practically bounced” in her director’s chair prior to the first BSC meeting Logan is invited to.
Oh, that fateful club meeting. Logan’s first BSC meeting starts out well enough. All of the girls arrive early, excited about the new boy:
“I can’t wait!” Claudia was squealing.
“I know,” said Dawn. “He is so adorable.”
They were talking about Logan of course.
Dawn would have been a much better girlfriend for Logan. She’s much more chilled, just like Logan, and not only does she make a little fun of Mary Anne’s silly obsession over Cam Geary and her Sixteen magazine subscription at the start of the book, but she also freely admits Logan himself is adorable.
Why isn’t Mary Anne flashing her claws and getting into a cat-fight over this comment?
Oh, wait – Dawn ends up dating Logan’s cousin in the future, doesn’t she? Ah, see, this is all part of some Great Ann M Martin plan…
And anyway, right now, Dawn likes a guy called Bruce Schermerhorn. “He’s in my math class.” I’m assuming we never hear about Bruce again, mostly because nobody could be bothered spelling out his surname twice.
Logan arrives, then things start to get awkward. First, Claudia nearly says bra strap – whooops! – then Logan talks about a sitting job where he had to take a baby-sitting charge to the toilet, and gets all embarrassed.
How incredibly awkward, when all of you have been looking after children for the better part of a year and should be used to situations such as these 😐
Silly girls. Anyway, they line Logan up with a job, with a new client – the infamous Rodowsky clan – and send Mary Anne along with him, totally to evaluate his skills as a baby-sitter, and not at all to push the two of them together.
Sigh. Logan passes the test, but the BSC don’t think they can have him in the club – because they won’t be able to gossip properly at meetings any more if he’s there. When Mary Anne phones Logan to tell him this, Logan beats her to it and says he likes them all – but he doesn’t want to join the BSC (bravo, Bruno!). Then, in the same breath, asks Mary Anne to the Remember September Dance.
You might be wondering how Richard “the Strict” Spier is handling his daughter phoning boys and going to dances with a date?
When Mary Anne tells her father about the dance, he gives her his credit card (well, something called a “Bellair’s Department Store charge card”, which I’m guessing is like a credit card that lets you buy stuff in particular stores) to buy new clothes for the dance.
When he handed me the card, his eyes looked sort of teary.
Richard Spier isn’t strict. He’s not even mean. He’s a big-old softie.
The BSC help Mary Anne assemble a brand new outfit for the dance (wheeeee, outfit time!):
Then Claudia handed me a full white skirt with the words Paris, Rome, and London, and sketchy pink and blue pictures of the Eiffel Tower, the Tower Bridge and other stuff scrawled all over it. She matched it up with a pink shirt and a baggy pink sweater. I would never, ever have tried on that skirt, but with the shirt and sweater it looked really cool. In the shoe department we found white slip-ons with pink and blue edging that matched the pink and blue in the skirt.
The orange flower = the one Logan gives her at the dance. Isn’t he a sweetie?
And Dance Night arrives – hooray! Here I was expecting to have another dance glossed over, just like the Final Fling in Kristy’s Big Day!
The entire BSC is going – and all of their outfits are described! Yay!
Claudia was wearing short, tight-fitting black pants and a big white shirt that said BE-BOP all over it in between pictures of rock and roll dancers. She had fixed a floppy blue bow in her hair.
There’s no way in hell such a shirt exists. So please accept this interpretation, instead:
It is also worth noting that Claudia took a boy called Austin Bentley to the dance. HAH.
Stacey was wearing a white T-shirt under a hot pink jumpsuit.
Dawn and Kristy looked more casual. Dawn was wearing a green and white oversized sweater and stretchy green pants.
Kristy was wearing a white turtleneck shirt under a pink sweater with jeans. We just couldn’t seem to get her out of blue jeans.
Can’t get Kristy out of jeans? Seriously? After a notable lack of jeans in the past nine books that’s done nothing but mess with my headcanon of Kristy Thomas? She should be wearing more jeans, and turtlenecks! Long live the turtleneck sweaters!
I digress. Back to the dance. Mary Anne is dancing with Logan, in a hilariously bad 80’s dance scene, when tragedy embarrassment strikes:
Imitating Logan turned out to be fun. He smiled when he realized what I was doing, and began fooling around, dancing sort of the way I imagined King Kong would. I kept up with him. Logan started to laugh. He waved his hands in the air. I waved mine. He stomped his feet and spun in a circle. I stomped my feet and spun in a circle. Logan was laughing hysterically, and I was feeling pretty good myself. He put his arm across my shoulder and kicked his legs Rockette-style. I kicked my legs.
One shoe flew off.
It sailed through the air, narrowly missing Mr. Kingbridge, our vice principal.
Everyone thinks it’s hilarious, and Mary Anne is mortified. She retrieves her shoe and retreats to the bleachers, refusing to go back to the dance. Logan attempts to console her a few times – everyone’s forgotten it, are you okay, do you want anything? But Mary Anne refuses to get over it, and spends the rest of the night sitting in the shadows.
Is this the behaviour a shy person would exhibit? I don’t think so, but I can’t be certain. It feels like the behaviour of a person who wants attention, wants people to go to her and check on her.
The other ridiculous reaction Mary Anne has is to the party that Stacey throws for her thirteenth birthday. Mary Anne is the last of them to turn thirteen, and when Stacey tells Charlotte Johanssen this at a baby-sitting gig one afternoon, Charlotte excitedly tells her to throw a surprise party for Mary Anne.
Stacey knows that Mary Anne would be really embarrassed by this, so she organises, instead, a regular party, with a surprise cake.
Stacey really works hard on the party. She hosts it a few days before Mary Anne’s actual birthday, and invites a bunch of people from school – even boys, woooooo – and makes sure nobody spills to Mary Anne that it’s going to include a cake for her.
The party goes fine at first – Austin Bentley tossing pretzels into the air, Alan Gray putting yellow M&M’s in his eyes telling everyone he’s Little Orphan Annie (…what?), Pete Black dunking potato chips in his Coke (probably mutinously glaring all the while at Howie Johnson, who took Stacey to the Remember September Dance).
Logan finds Mary Anne the moment she arrives, and the pair sit on the couch and chat most of the night.
“…you’re different from other girls. More…something.”
“More what?” I asked, puzzled. I really wanted to know.
“More serious. Not serious like some old professor, but serious about people. You listen to them and understand them and take them seriously. People like to be taken seriously. It makes them feel worthwhile. But you have a sense of humor too, which is nice.”
You would think that with this set up – being in a house she knows, with friends and people she likes, talking to a boy she’s mad about, Mary Anne would be comfortable and at ease. But then comes the cake. Stacey walks it down the stairs into the party room, everyone sings Happy Birthday to Mary Anne, and…
It was a nightmare. It was like one of those dreams in which you go to school naked…I had only one thought: I had to get out of there.
So I did.
I ran up the stairs, out the McGills’ front door, and all the way home, leaving my nightmare behind.
For the most of the next chapter, Mary Anne is moping around her house, embarrassed and furious at her friends for doing that to her.
Well, I was sorry I was different. I couldn’t help it. But it was their fault for doing something they knew I wouldn’t enjoy.
I know, Mary Anne. How DARE they have a party for you, and how DARE they bring you cake? How insensitive of them all!
Instead of trying to sort things out with her friends, she asks her dad for a cat for her birthday. Which he agrees to after 5 minutes of consideration, because he’s Ritchie Spier and he lets Mary Anne have and do whatever she wants.
Mary Anne decides to call Logan to see if he wants to go to the animal shelter, using it as an excuse to find out if he’s mad at her.
Of course he’s not – not in Mary Anne Land; Logan, Stacey, everybody was worried that Mary Anne was mad at them.
She was, dude. She went as far to consider that the last time this had happened, she’d been forced to find new friends – and had found Dawn. She doesn’t quite remember the events of Mary Anne Saves the Day, does she? Dawn found HER, and then she used Dawn to make Kristy jealous!
Leaving the fact that she now knows Stacey and the others aren’t mad at her, and are worried that she’s mad at them, she goes out with Logan to the animal shelter, and collects Tigger the grey tiger-striped kitten. Reoow.
It’s not long before the BSC arrive at Mary Anne’s, meet Tigger, bring her some birthday cake and her presents and she forgives them 😐
Bloody hell, Mary Anne. You are a terrible friend. Just terrible. Please go away (but…leave the little kitten. Tigger can stay).
By the end of the book, Mary Anne is going to another dance with Logan (how many school dances does Stoneybrook Middle School have, exactly?!), and Logan is an associate member of the BSC, meaning that he doesn’t have to go to club meetings (PHEW! Now we can talk about bra straps again!), but they’ll call him if they’re in a bind.
Except, in my opinion, Logan. Because he ends up with Mary Anne.
Logan is a sweetie. Really, Ann M Martin constructed the perfect little boyfriend for her Mary Sue character; considerate, doting, patient, looks like a super star (what does Cam Geary do, exactly, other than pose for magazines?), speaks in a drawly southern accent (Fun fact: Martin’s family is from Louisville). He brings her flowers. Recognises her voice when she calls. Recommends movies to her (The 80’s er, “classic”, Meatballs, starring Bill Murray. Lawl).
Logan does not deserve Mary Anne’s bullshit.
Was there a baby-sitting plot that aligned with the story of Logan liking Mary Anne? Nope. The whole book was about Mary Anne; the sub-plot was her surprise party, which each of the other BSC members talked about during their token sitting jobs.
Logan Likes Mary Anne has a few editing errors that are good for a giggle –
We baby-sit for the kids in our neighborhoods, and we have a lot of fun – and earn pretty much money, too.
Pretty much money good, no?
“Very good! And guess what I’m going to ask you.”
There was a pause. “To join the dub?”
– but overall, this book just made me sorry for Logan, Stacey, Richard Spier, and for Tigger. Nobody should like Mary Anne.
I don’t any more.
Next in the series is Kristy and the Snobs, but I was thinking of taking a break every ten books, and reviewing the TV series.
You know, this one:
It was produced in the 90’s – made by Disney but broadcast on HBO! Ahahaha, what the hell?! The BSC had thirteen episodes, of which I remember one (the first one), and I’m sure it’s full of quality acting and story lines ripe for a snark.
So, next up for watch and review is the TV episode, Mary Anne and the Brunettes.
If you want to get mad at Mary Anne for being terrible, too, you can acquire Logan Likes Mary Anne from Amazon (for kindle) for about $5.