By Ann M. Martin. Published 1987.
Don’t hate me. But… I used to love Dawn. I think I identified with her. I also moved to Connecticut from a warm place, albeit Texas rather than California. I loved ghost stories. It was actually cool at the time to be all environmental. And I was super jealous of her house.
But don’t worry. I now see her for the self-righteous bitch that she is. Although, she’s not too bad to start out with. But I guess that’s true of all of the girls.
So Dawn is officially part of the BSC. Although she has no job title, she’s getting lots of jobs. One of those is with a new client, the Barretts. a divorced, single mom (she’s only thirty-three, god I feel old) with three kids, Buddy, Suzi, and Marnie. Mrs. Barrett is pretty much a gigantic clusterfuck. The house is always a wreck, and she doesn’t tell sitters important info, like where she’ll be or what kind of allergies the kids have. Mallory Pike has to school Dawn on Marnie’s chocolate allergy, and it’s kind of a kick-ass Mal moment.
Anyway, Dawn takes it upon herself to start doing all the chores around the Barrett house, with the kids’ help. And the kids become very close with Dawn. Buddy starts showing up at her house, and Suzi calls her. She begins to feel like their overworked mother, but she neglects to say anything to Mrs. Barrett about it.
But one day, something so big happens that she has to. She and the kids are going to play outside, but she has to get the girls dressed first. She sends Buddy on out to the front yard while she does this. Big mistake, Dawn. I can’t believe Kristy never chews her ass out about that. By the time Dawn and the girls get out there, Buddy is gone. Dawn looks all over the neighborhood, including at the Pikes, but can’t find him. Mrs. Pike is awesome, and wrangles up people to search for him. Then Jordan, one of the Pike triplets, shows up after his piano lesson. He says he saw Buddy getting into a car. Mrs. Pike says it’s time to call the police, and they do. See, girls, having adult involvement is a good thing. I wish they would remember this later in the series.
The police show up, and start asking Jordan a bunch of questions, but he doesn’t remember many details. Then the phone rings, and it’s Buddy calling from a pay phone. He’s with his dad at a gas station, and he says they’ll be home soon. Mrs. Barrett finally shows up. She checks her calendar, and oops, what do you know? It was her ex-husband’s day with the kids. Dumbass. Buddy and his dad arrive, and the dad says he was just planning on taking them until she realized the mistake she’d made. He didn’t know there was a baby-sitter. The police advise them to try to get things worked out with their lawyers. Probably a good idea.
Dawn finally has a discussion with Mrs. Barrett. She tells her she can’t sit for her anymore, and explains why. Mrs. Barrett suggests Dawn coming over earlier so they can talk about where she’ll be, and she’ll start paying her more for any chores she does. Dawn agrees to a three job trial.
In other news, Kristy is kind of a bitch to Dawn in the beginning. Only because she’s totes jealous of her friendship with Mary Anne. But Dawn fixes it by inviting Kristy over to her awesome barn. They play in the hayloft on a rope swing, and bond over being divorced kids.
o It’s always killed me how the girls will say “Honest” to the reader after making a statement. Like, thanks, we wouldn’t have believed you otherwise.
o Aww, I’d forgotten about Marnie’s ham face. I have a soft spot for her for some reason.
o Ha, I’d forgotten about the Bizzer Sign, too. I took it as a way for the kids to flip each other off.
o I always thought Mary Anne’s puddle walk sounded fun.
o I’ve always hated the title of this book. The kids aren’t impossible, the mother is.