Honest BSC: Mary Anne Spier, More Than Just A Haircut

This is the second installment in a series of Baby-Sitters Club character analyses/essays. Turns out, the gals aren’t as rad as we thought they were back in the ’90s.

Mary Anne Spier was the Eeyore of the Baby-Sitters Club. Appointed secretary of the BSC by Kristy, she’s diligent and neat, but super depressing. She was always crying about something, but I mean, can you blame her? Her mom died, her dad kept her in some kind of Amishesque prison, her first best friend is a 13-year-old dictator, and then when she meets a new BFF she keeps abandoning Mary Anne, running off to California to hang with her dad.

Mary Anne was, however, the first of the babysitters to save a life. That’s a big deal, but still, the original cover of Mary Anne Saves the Day is a bit dramatic and provocative. I mean, the kid had a fever. Did Mary Anne really need to hike up her dad-approved skirt to get the attention of hunky ’80s ambulance man? I guess if Kristy Thomas is your best friend you do whatever you can to get attention.

But attention-getting Mary Anne isn’t what we hear about throughout the series. No, instead we hear a lot about how shy she is, how quiet, and oh, how oppressed. Her dad made her wear long skirts and dresses, keep her hair in braids, and basically act like an 1890s schoolgirl. Maybe that’s why I never found her books so exciting. And the good books with Mary Anne always seemed so darn dramatic or surrounded her boyfriend, Logan. Still not sure what they ever talked about on dates, since we always got told Mary Anne didn’t talk. Maybe her uncreatively named cat, Tigger?

Or maybe the two of them discussed Mary Anne’s super special family situation. Let me refresh your memory – Dawn moves to town from California, she’s a super cool California girl and Mary Anne befriends her, much to Kristy’s chagrin, Dawn comes over to hang out, Mary Anne and Dawn discover a yearbook with Mary Ann’s dad and Dawn’s recently-divorced mom, they set the two up on a date, and a few books later Mary Anne and Dawn are step-sisters. Oh, and then Mary Anne and her dad have to move into the haunted house Dawn and her mom live in. Yeah, if I was Mary Anne I’d be hiding in my room crying 90% of the time, too.

The most exciting thing to ever happen to Mary Anne was a haircut. Yup, a haircut. And it took until book freaking 60 for that to happen. Of course, because Mary Anne finally did something interesting (relatively speaking) the people of Stoneybrook acted like she’d gone on a bender with hookers and cocaine and came back from jail with a face tattoo.

Don’t define Mary Anne by her hair. She’s only thirteen! Instead, define her by her unappreciated introversion, her love of cats, and her ability to resist running away to California with Dawn to escape her dad-created prison. I really hope she came out of her shell in college…

 

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