…and moves back to her beloved New York.
Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye starts with disaster. Stacey’s just minding her own business, dreaming about Candy land…
…when Math class ends, she rushes to her locker, and runs into Claudia, who gives her some devastating news:
“Howie Johnson asked Dorianne Wallingford to go to the library with him his afternoon.”
I know, right? Shocking.
(Who asked who what now?)
Stacey manages to get over this (Stacey was dating Howie? When? Huh?) by the time she and Claudia have walked to Charlotte Johanssen’s (where Stacey’s baby-sitting of course), and the BFF’s decide that both Howie and Dori are now officially King and Queen of the Jerkfaces.
(See what I did there? Because…you know, the book is about Stacey moving away from Stoneybrook..?)
At the end of every BSC book, there’s an author’s note from Ann M Martin, explaining briefly why she wrote each one. At the end of this one she says that she received thousands of letters from fans after Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye was published, because she’d ditched one of the most popular characters.
“Why, Ann M Martin? WHY?” they had written, sobbing into their oversized jumpers and sideways ponytails.
“…because it seemed natural that among any group of friends, one might eventually move away.”
Didn’t we already do this with Kristy, though, when she moved over to Millionaire Lane? Or was that not far enough to write about the topic properly, given that the BSC had overcome Kristy’s move by paying her brother to drive her to BSC meetings?
Anyway. In Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye (redundant title is redundant), Stacey is told within the opening chapters that her dad’s company – which moved him from New York to Stamford, to manage a new office – is closing the Stamford branch, and relocating him back to New York.
Stacey – dropping her knife with a clatter on her plate when her parents tell her this at dinner – doesn’t know whether to be excited or terrified. Her parents expect the latter, and remind her of how much she has missed New York. Stacey then reminds them of all the stores she’ll be able to blow their money in again –
“Bloomingdales, Saks, Tiffany’s, Benetton, Laura Ashley, Ann Taylor, Bonwit Teller, Bergdorf Goodman, and B. Altman’s,” I added, wondering if my parents would decide I was old enough to get some charge cards.
– priorities, right?
Anyway, once she’s reminded of what’s important, she decides this is excellent news, and hurries upstairs to call her best friend in New York, Laine Cummings.
(Remember Laine? From The Truth About Stacey? You know, the one who hated her for getting attention when she was sick and made her life hell and turned Stacey’s entire group of friends against her but then made up with her stating she was just jealous so all is well and fine now? Yeah. That Laine.)
Stacey tells Laine how awesome her parents are being by bringing her back, and that they’ll be going to school together again, and while Laine is excited, she reminds Stacey that the majority of her old class still – as Stacey puts it – hate her.
In fact, later in the book during another of their phone calls, Laine tells Stacey that Allison Ritz, upon hearing the news Stacey was coming back, said “Oh great, Barf-mouth is returning.”
I began to feel slightly numb. Who was I kidding? I’d been dying to get away from New York and all those former friends by the time we moved to Stoneybrook. How could I have forgotten about that? Here in Connecticut I had Claudia and Mary Anne and Dawn and Kristy, real friends who liked me and didn’t care that I had diabetes.
Stacey calls Claudia, and begins to cry, and wonders how she’s going to leave. Claudia cries. When Stacey tells Mary Anne, Kristy and Dawn the next day at school, they all want to cry (but manage not to – duh, crying in front of everyone at school? No way). When she tells little Charlotte Johannsen she’s moving away, Charlotte cries.
This is basically the book where everybody cries.
It didn’t go the way I had thought it would, after learning about how the BSC ostracise any member who even thinks about sitting with another person in the school cafeteria in the last book (and here’s Stacey, about to start eating her lunch in a whole different state!), but then I suppose, really, Stacey has no choice in the matter, so kicking her out of the BSC and writing her hate mail would have potentially seemed overly callous (but doing so to Claudia was fine?! Argh).
We’re treated to several chapters about packing going on at the McGill house – a few more chapters about the BSC organising a yard sale, to help the McGills get rid of all their unwanted junk – and then we spend a bit of time with the Pikes.
Mallory’s personality starts to build. We’re actually given some information about her this book, instead of her just being there and baby-sitting and doing nothing else. And it…ok, it kinda weirded me out. Mallory’s gone from this kid who helps them baby-sit sometimes, to this eleven-year-old beacon of know-how and common sense.
This is what us sitters like about Mallory. She is totally levelheaded. And practical. And usually willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. Not that she doesn’t have an imagination. She does. She loves to read and is usually in the middle of at least four books. She likes to write, too. And when she’s alone, she daydreams. But when she’s helping us baby-sit, she’s always on top of things.
…really? I mean…really?!
The glowing accounts of Mallory’s saint-like sensibility continue:
Mallory had saved the day. She had prevented hysteria. Thank goodness she was so practical.
(She had essentially ‘googled the question’ and found out that courgette means zucchini, not children. Yeah, don’t even ask.)
“Mallory is the oldest of eight kids,” I pointed out. “She can probably diaper a baby better than any of us.”
(Please, parents of Stoneybrook, please do not leave a baby with an eleven year old.)
The BSC arrives at The Conclusion; they should ask Mallory to be junior officer of the Baby-Sitters Club, so she can take on the afternoon jobs and free up the older members for the later night jobs. And maybe if they can find another junior officer to go with Mal, they’ll be on their way to repairing the hole Stacey’s about to leave in the club.
Stacey’s last official duty, at her final Baby-Sitters Club meeting, is to phone Mallory and see if she wants in. Which of course, she does. So…that’s that, really. Anyway, enough about Mallory.
The BSC-minus-Stacey are trying to figure out what kind of goodbye party to hold for her for most of the book. The answer presents itself at a sitting job, where all answers to problems faced by the BSC are usually found, when Dawn tells the Barrett children that Stacey’s moving away and they’re throwing a party for her.
“Can we come?!” Suzi asks excitedly.
So instead of having a goodbye party with friends from school, Stacey’s party ends up being a thing in Kristy’s backyard, with all of the children they usually sit for as guests. Perfect really, since Kristy doesn’t usually agree to do anything unless she can guarantee that she’ll have total control and be able to boss people about at it.
Ok, it’s actually kind of sweet. The BSC pay for the party with the money they were given from Stacey’s yard sale, which had been split 5-ways with them as a thank you for organising and managing the whole sale.
Not feeling right about taking money for stuff that was paid for by the McGills, they blow the lot on Stacey. They play party games, give out prizes, and draw Stacey a big mural of the town.
Each of the kids make Stacey a CAPSLOCK farewell card, which they each present to her when they leave the party.
The funniest was Margo Pike’s, which said: GOOD LICK STASY. HAVE FUN IN NEW YURK.
I WILL MISS YOU. YOU WERE FUNNY. AND NICE, Karen Brewer had written. She’d drawn a picture of a witch on the cover.
ROSES ARE RED, VIOLETS ARE BLUE, GOOD-BYE STACEY, I’LL ALWAYS MISS YOU. That was Vanessa Pike, who planned to become a poet.
Gee, Vanessa, that must have taken you a whole two minutes to come up with.
Charlotte’s makes Stacey cry, with:
GOOD-BYE STACEY. I WILL ALWAYS MISS YOU. I WISH YOU WERE MY SISTER.
Moving day arrives, the BSC arrive to say good-bye (again) complete with painted “Good-bye Stacey” bed-sheet as a keepsake (okie dokie), and Stacey hands them her business card:
Then she tucks herself into the car and reads the thirteen-page letter Claudia’s written for her, which is about everything – how Howie and Dori have broken up, jokes, riddles, gossip, and then her thoughts on their friendship.
“Maybe I will never have another best friend,” she wrote, “but it would be wirth it. I mean, it would be wirth it to have had you for my best freind even if it was for just a yer. You will always be my best best freind if you know what I mean. What I mean is I might get another best freind sometime but she wouldnt be as good a best freind as you”
Real glad we cleared that up, Claud (also, thirteen pages of Claudia’s bad spelling?! There’s Stacey’s punishment for leaving, right there).
There was a baby-sitting job of note, which I remembered from childhood, involving Kristy sitting for David Michael, Karen and Andrew at the Brewer mansion. Amanda and Max Delaney, plus Linny and Hannie Papadakis show up to play, and talk is inevitably turned toward Mrs Porter AKA Morbidda Destiny. Karen is convinced she’s mixing potions that’ll turn kids and animals into witches.
This makes everyone thirsty, but unfortunately, the Brewer household is out of lemonade. They all toy with the idea of making lemonade from real lemons, but Kristy tells them they don’t have enough lemons to do that, either.
“I’ve got plenty of lemons,” spoke up a hoarse voice. “You children come over here and I’ll show you how to make real lemonade.”
Eight heads swiveled slowly in the direction of the Halloween house. There stood Mrs. Porter, frizzy gray hair, frumpy black clothes and all.
“Please?” croaked Mrs. Porter. “I hardly ever have guests.”
Kristy goads everyone into going over and having lemonade with Mrs Porter (calling four-to-eight year olds too scared to do something is the best way to make them do the thing), feeling sorry for her.
And while Mrs Porter turns up with pre-made potion lemonade (“I thought you were going to show us how to make this”, said Karen warily), and then sits on the porch cackling occasionally with her broom next to her wicker chair and a black cat in her lap (?!), Kristy later spots two tins of frozen lemonade on Mrs Porter’s counter, and deduces that she’s just a lonely old lady who wanted company.
To clothes! And I’m happy to report that Kristy’s uniform has made it into the series as a standard:
She [Kristy] was wearing what I’ve come to think of as her Kristy uniform – jeans, sneakers, a turtleneck, and a sweater. That’s the only kind of outfit she wears these days.
Finally! I was starting to worry that I’d dreamed up the idea of Kristy wearing turtlenecks like a badge of office.
Her uniform is described in greater detail at Stacey’s last BSC meeting, where Stacey decides to describe what everyone’s wearing, so she can form a picture in her mind of her friends.
Kristy was wearing her uniform – jeans, a turtleneck (pale blue), a sweater (blue-and-white striped), and sneakers. She was sitting in Claudia’s director’s chair, a pencil over one ear, her visor perched crookedly on her head.
Never change, Kristy.
Claudia was sprawled on the floor, halfway under her bed…She was wearing a wonderful Claudia outfit – a purple-and-white striped bodysuit under a gray jumper-thing. The legs of the bodysuit stretched all the way to her ankles, but she was wearing purple push-down socks anyway. Around her middle was a wide purple belt with a buckle in the shape of a telephone. And on her feet were black ballet slippers.
Never change, Claudia (but, keep changing outfits. Whatever, you know what I mean).
She [Dawn] was wearing a very short kilt, an oversized red sweater, and yellow socks over red tights. On her head was a red beret with a sparkly initial pin attached to the side.
Um, okay Dawn – not all that casual, but sure, you’re becoming club treasurer now Stacey’s leaving, so we can just assume you’re adopting some of her glitz during the changeover.
She [Mary Anne] was wearing an outfit that I had helped her choose. It was tame, but not dorky – a navy blue minidress with a pink sash, blue tights, and black slippers like Claudia’s.
Other than Stacey’s final BSC meeting rundown, we don’t get all that much in the way of outfit descriptions.
But there’s junk food aplenty. After Stacey’s candyland dream, she mentions a bunch of weird stuff that she’s not been able to eat since she was diagnosed with the diabetus –
That’s close to twenty-four months without white chocolate and root beer barrels and Twinkies and Ring Dings and Yodels. I try to pretend that this doesn’t matter, but the truth is – sometimes I’d kill for a Tootsie Pop.
The cake Stacey eats later is a special little one they have the bakery make for her, for her goodbye party.
One was a huge sheet cake decorated with pink flowers. In blue frosting was written, GOOD-BYE STACEY, GOOD-BYE. The other cake was tiny and said simply: STACEY.
“The little one’s for you,” Claudia whispered to me. “The bakery makes a special no-sugar cake for people with diabetes.”
Claudia tries to find something called “Fritos” under her bed (they end up being behind a spare blanket in her closet):
And we’re treated to a truly weird conversation while the girls are over at Stacey’s labelling all the junk for the yard sale, about soda:
“Does anyone want something to drink?”
“Only if you’ve got some soda that’s just brimming with sugar, caffine, and sodium,” replied Kristy. “And maybe some artificial coloring, and, oh, some bigludium exforbinate.”
I laughed. “We’ve probably got something like that. I’m going to have iced tea, though.”
“I’ll have iced tea, too,” said Dawn, who had turned green at the very thought of artificial coloring.
“I’ll go for the glutious exorbitants,” said Claudia.
“Me too,” said Mary Anne.
And then after Stacey’s fixed the drinks with a quiet Claudia;
“Well,” I said, “we better go back upstairs. Kristy’s waiting to be bigludium exforbinated.”
…is this the first signs of the BSC creating their own words and descriptions for things? Like Dibbly? Let’s hope so.
There’s no hidden message in Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye, from what I can tell. All it is, is a story about a girl who has the diabetus who has to leave her friends and people she cares about, and how she and said friends deal with that.
What awaits Stacey, and the one-manned New York branch of the Baby-Sitters Club? We’ll have to wait until book 18 to find out.
Because in the next book, we’re being introduced to the red-headed writer, Mallory Pike, in Hello, Mallory.
You know what – you aren’t missing much if you skip this one. For realsies. But, if you are trying to complete the set, you can get Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye for about a fiver from Amazon.