Wednesday, April 23, 2014

BSC SS #4: Baby-sitters' Island Adventure

By Ann M. Martin. Published July 1990.

Well. Here we are. Are you ready for the most egregious parenting fail in the BSC-verse? Me, too. Let’s jump right in.

So apparently, even though we’ve never heard about it before, Dawn and Claudia have been taking sailing lessons at the community center. Now they’re at the end of their lessons, and are going to race each other to an island and back. Claudia of course, doesn’t dress correctly for the race, wearing an unbuttoned shirt and large earrings. The shirt flies up in her face, and the earrings get caught in the sail. That sounds like it would hurt. Despite this, the girls end up tying. They declare a rematch, and they won’t have to have counselors with them, they just can’t sail alone.

At the next BSC meeting, Dawn and Claudia are pissing Kristy off by talking all about their rematch. That’s not official club business, girls. The girls are all excited because they have a three-day weekend coming up. And then they just try to slip this in there. Jessi’s parents are going away for the weekend, and letting Jessi babysit all weekend. Yes, that’s right. A fucking ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD is watching an eight-year-old and a one-year-old, for three whole days! By herself! Ramseys! I usually love you, but this is a serious breech in good parenting skills! WTF?

Ok. Anyway. Claudia and Dawn decide to race that weekend, and Dawn decides to bring Jeff, since he’ll be visiting. Claudia then needs a crewmember, and asks Mallory. She’s flattered, but she has family plans. So Jessi offers up Becca, she thinks she needs something of her own to do. They get permission from both sets of parents. Why not, Ramseys? You obviously have no safety concerns for your children anyway.

Becca is so excited, she calls all her friends and tells them. Haley Braddock wants to come along. Of course the girls are all good with that. They just need another crewmember, and they think bringing four-year-old Jamie Newton would be a great idea. So Jamie and Becca are going with Claudia, and Jeff and Haley with Dawn. Plus, they decide to only race to the island, and then they’ll have a picnic and whatnot there.

Dawn is all about getting ready for the race, so she’s exercising, when the phone rings. It’s Logan, trying to get ahold of Mary Anne, to tell her he can’t meet her at the library. She’s not there, but Dawn says she’ll call her at the Perkins’. But then her mom calls, and then her dad, and she totally forgets. Mary Anne gets home, and she’s totally pissed, and calls Logan to bitch at him for standing her up. He tells her what the real deal is, and she tries to apologize, but now he’s pissed that she would think he would do that. So now Mary Anne is pissed at Dawn, and she tells her she wishes Dawn would get out of her life forever.

It’s the day of the race, and everything starts out well enough. But then a storm starts to come up. The girls discuss turning back, but Claud says they’re closer to Greenpoint Island than the shore. So they press on, through the storm, until Dawn’s boat starts sinking. They’ll have to get to Claudia’s boat, and hang on to the sides. Jeff has the bright idea to toss their supplies to Claudia first. Then it’s into the water. It’s not too long until they see land, fortunately. But when they land, Claudia says it’s not Greenpoint, and she has no idea where they are.

Jessi is having a nice day with Squirt until the storm comes up, and he doesn’t like that one bit. And then it gets later and later, and Becca doesn’t come home. Jessi starts calling around, and learns that nobody from the trip is home. The community center is going to send out the Coast Guard. Jessi goes over her list of emergency numbers. First on the list is the Johanssens, but they’re not home. Next is Aunt Cecelia, and she comes right over. Yay! The only member of the family with some sense! The first thing she says is, “How could a couple of intelligent adults leave an eleven-year-old in charge of two younger children for three whole days?” Yes! Thank you, Aunt Cecelia! I get that we’re supposed to be on Jessi’s side here, and I probably was when I was younger, but that’s so not happening now. Aunt Cecelia wants to call her parents, but Jessi doesn’t want to ruin their vacation. Jessi. Their daughter is MISSING. Get some perspective. She’s relieved when they’re not in their room. Whatever, Jessi, I’m done with you.

Back on the island, the first order of business is to find some shelter. Which they do, they finds a pile of boulders leaning together, making a cave. Then they get a fire started, and eat the food that they don’t think will keep. Dawn keeps thinking about the last words Mary Anne said to her.

Stacey is in New York for the weekend, but Kristy calls her to let her know what’s going on, and to see if she can come home for an emergency meeting. She wants to, but her dad won’t let her. He even calls her Anastasia. Serious.

Back on the island, it’s bedtime. They make a bed of leaves, and they have the blanket for the picnic to cover themselves with. The kids start voicing all their fears, but Dawn and Claudia calm them. The two of them talk about what they should do, and decide to see if they can see any land at all in the morning, and then maybe send someone out in the boat.

When they wake up the next morning, Jeff is missing. They hope he’s just exploring. They give the kids the choice of candy bars or fruit for breakfast. They choose candy bars. Jeff returns, with fish. He fashioned a fishing pole with a stick, some string, and a safety pin. Jeff is the shit. Only he and Dawn will eat the fish, though. The kids start getting excited about going swimming, and Becca comes up with the idea to spell out HELP with shells on the beach.

Alright, that’s it for Part One. Check back on Friday for Part Two, and see if Aunt Cecelia knocks some sense into anyone.

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