Ciara's Reviews > Here Come the Bridesmaids!

Here Come the Bridesmaids! by Ann M. Martin
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Mar 06, 11

bookshelves: kids-books, read-in-2011
Read in March, 2011

every babysitters club super special has an obnoxious conceit. each one documents some kind of event in the babysitters' lives, & one sitter is anointed the documentarian of the group. she has the others keep a diary of their adventures, & the result is ostensibly the super special. in this book, dawn's father, jack, is getting married to his long-term girlfriend carol. dawn has been tapped to be a bridesmaid & allowed to invite mary anne, claudia, & kristy to the wedding. she asks them to keep a record of the wedding & its preparations so she will always remember that magical day. meanwhile, in stoneybrook, long-time babysitters club client mrs. barrett is marrying her fiance, franklin dewitt. because mrs. barrett & franklin have seven children between the two of them, they hire members of the babysitters club to look after the kids during the preparations & wedding. because the barretts have always been special to dawn, she asks the stoneybrook sitters to record their experiences for the same record. the two weddings are being held on the same day.

this is arguably one of the most boring super specials. but maybe i'm biased because i find weddings really tedious. it is not the most ludicrous super special, although it has its moments. here's what happens:

carol asks dawn to be her bridesmaid. jeff is going to be jack's best man. dawn, despite having spent about fifty books hating on carol, has come around & could not be more excited for the wedding, which will take place on the beach. jack will wear a linen suit & carol will wear a colorful indian-print dress. dawn is allowed to choose her own dress, & she totes the we <3 kids club to the mall to make her selection. she settles on a hideous satin puff-sleeved drop-waist off-the-shoulder monstrosity that would make jessica mcclintock gag. but she is 13 & devoid of taste, so she thinks it's beautiful. the we <3 kids club agrees. dawn buys a matching dress in mary anne's size, because she says mary anne is going to be a bridemaid as well. that's part of why the wedding is so exciting to dawn. she can hardly wait to share her father's special day with her best friend & stepsister.

it's unclear why jack allows claudia to invite her stoneybrook friends to the wedding. mary anne & kristy seem to be there just for shits & giggles, but after mr. kishi balks at allowing claudia to attend, jack invites her in the capacity of a photographer & offers to pay half her airfare. mr. kishi is embarrassed by the possibility that jack thinks he can't afford the airfare, so he relents & allows claudia to attend. she will be paid for her photography & has to use it to pay mr. kishi back for the ticket he buys.

meanwhile, in stoneybrook, mrs. barrett learns that one of her four bridesmaids can't attend her lavish white dress church wedding. (is it not true that second marriages generally are not so traditional? especially weird because this is the second wedding for both mrs. barrett & franklin, & they have some very young children, indicating that their divorces are still pretty fresh.) so she does what anyone would do & asks stacey to take her place. seriously, it's ridiculous. the bridesmaid that can't make it is one of mrs. barrett's sisters, so she just subs in some random 13-year-old babysitter? why not just have three bridesmaids? it's not that big of a deal. naturally, stacey accepts & is THRILLED to be in the wedding. mallory & shannon are chosen to be the wedding babysitters.

you may be thinking, what about jessi? did everyone forget about her? no, she has her own special plotline. you see, both of these weddings are december weddings, taking place immediately before xmas. the babysitters are surprised at a meeting one afternoon when mrs. mcgill calls & explains that the man they hired to play department store santa backed out & they haven't been able to find a replacement. she says it's more important to get along with kids than to actually look like santa claus, & she asks if any of the babysitters can do it. everyone is booked with wedding stuff except for jessi, who grudgingly agrees to the job, despite being eleven years old, female, & black. she thinks the kids are going to laugh her right out of bellair's.

can i just say that i wish jessi got a little more face time in the series? i really like her family. there are some cute bits in this one in which the ramseys are having breakfast & mr. ramsey is telling all these jokes & making everyone laugh. it reminds me a lot of my own home life with jared. i think it's fun & charming. but jessi is constantly sidelined so we can heard more about stacey's boyfriend du jour or karen brewer's latest we all come in character. ugh.

turns out jessi makes a fine department store santa. a few kids cotton on to the fact that she's not the real santa, but she successfully convinces them that she is santa's helper. she defuses a few tricky situations & becomes an idol to some little children of color at the store. & that's that. jessi may as well be dead to us.

mallory, meanwhile, is having her own issues. she made plans to go caroling with ben hobart & some sitting charges on the very same day as mrs. barrett is getting married. she then had to back out of the caroling to take the wedding babysitter gig & ben hobart had an utter meltdown over it. he yelled at her, saying that she was disappointing the children & obviously didn't care about him, & then he hung up on her. what a baby. mallory feels bad, but not bad enough to leave mrs. barrett in the lurch.

meanwhile, out in california, mary anne is having mixed feelings about the wedding. she finds it deeply disturbing that jack & carol are getting married on a beach. she acknowledges that beaches can be romantic, but she also feels that sand is going to get into everything & that she'll probably get sunburnt. she thinks "real weddings happen in churches". that's real nice, mary anne. i guess all the non-christians out there in the world are not "really married". I FUCKING HATE MARY ANNE. anyway, dawn makes mary anne feel a little bit better when she pulls out mary anne's bridesmaid dress. at first mary anne is disappointed (could she be any more ungrateful?) because she thinks the dress is great for dawn, but not for her. she's concerned about the off-the-shoulder cut opening her up to even more sunburn. but eventually she gets over it & is just excited to be part of the wedding party.

shortly thereafter, jack gives everyone their wedding day assignments. he explains that guests will be traveling separately from the wedding party, & that the wedding party consists of himself, carol, jeff, & dawn. dawn & mary anne realize simultaneously that mary anne is not in the wedding party & not a bridesmaid.

yes, you read that right. dawn just ASSUMED that jack would be totally psyched to have the teenage daughter of the man his ex-wife married participate in his wedding. dawn never confirmed this with jack directly. she went so far as to buy a dress based on a ridiculous assumption. newsflash, dawn: this is not YOUR DAY. bridesmaids don't get to pick the other bridesmaids, even if they are the daughters of the person getting married.

rather than being relieved about no longer having to deal with "being the center of attention" (newsflash, mary anne: usually at weddings the bride & groom are the center of attention; no one really cares that much about the bridesmaids), mary anne is pissed. she thinks it was thoughtless & selfish of dawn to tell her she was a bridesmaid when she wasn't.

this entire plotline is so obnoxious. what a load of untenable manufactured outrage. i'm not going to write anymore about it except to say that eventually dawn & mary anne make up & mary anne decides to wear her matching dress to the wedding anyway. because that won't look stupid at all.

kristy does pretty much nothing. claudia earns her keep, choosing flowers for the reception & ceremony, ordering the cake, & photographing everything. so of the angles sound questionable. she shoots some photos from the floor, because doesn't everyone look great with under-the-chin ghoul lighting? but whatever, she's 13.

back in stoneybrook, suzi barrett is having a meltdown over the idea of moving into her new home mere days before xmas. she's worried that santa claus won't know she moved, & will deliver her gifts to some other family. stacey helps her write a letter to santa, informing him of her new address, but suzi is still worried. so she convinces her mom to drive her over the her old house on xmas eve, & then she leaves a trail of chocolate chip cookie crumbs to her new house. & she thinks it worked, because she wakes up on xmas morning & has gifts. no one cares about the precocious misadventures of four-year-olds.

anyway, mrs. barrett & franklin get married. stacey has a whole chapter about getting ready with the other bridesmaids & how much fun it was to hang out & joke around with adult women. i really worry about stacey's self-esteem. of course the kids get rowdy waiting for the ceremony to start. shannon has to hustle little two-year-old out of the chapel when he won't stop screaming, & misses the whole thing watching him nap in his portable crib. mallory has to wrangle the remaining four children (the two oldest are in the wedding, as flower girl & ring bearer). it doesn't really work out. marnie barrett escapes & runs up the aisle to cling to her mom's dress throughout the ceremony. there's lots of stuff about how stuffy, uptight guests glared at the children when they were noisy or disruptive, which seems weird to me. anyone who was invited to the wedding has to know that mrs. barrett & franklin have several children a piece, all of whom are pretty young. it can't possibly be surprising that they chose to invite their children to their wedding, or that the children are finding it difficult to behave decorously. i tell you what, if anyone glared at my kid during my wedding, i would personally escort them out into the street where we would rumble. that's fucked up.

anyway, after the wedding, mallory is sad that she's not out singing carols with ben & their sitting charges. so she calls him up & apologizes, & he apologizes too, & then they go caroling. well, that was a really boring subplot that was solved with no effort whatsoever.

in conclusion, weddings are boring.
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