Ciara's Reviews > Mary Anne and the Music Box Secret

Mary Anne and the Music Box Secret by Ann M. Martin
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Jun 08, 11

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

i found this book so obnoxious & confusing. the plotline in a nutshell: granny & pop pop (sharon's parents, dawn's maternal grandparents) are going on a cruise for their wedding anniversary. the day after they leave, their house floods & it needs a lot of repair work. the babysitters club pitches in with the clean-up, & in the process, mary anne finds an old jewelry box hidden away. it contains a photograph of a young solider in a world war 2 navy uniform. the plumber & building contractor working on the house are also acting suspicious, as is granny & pop pop's friend hank. the babysitters think the suspicious behavior may be linked to the mysterious music box, but it's not. the dudes are acting weird because they heard an old rumor that there is a box of embezzled money buried in granny & pop pop's yard, & they are hoping to find it. the music box belongs to granny. it was a gift from her first love, frank, who left to fight in world war 2 & was killed.

so here's what bothered me about the book: i just read dawn's book, which features an entire section on how sharon flew granny & pop pop to san francisco for the 50th wedding anniversary. dawn was ten then; she's 13 now. so this must be granny & pop pop's 53rd wedding anniversary. this book was published in 1997, & we can be charitable & say it's set in 1997 as well. that means that granny & pop pop were married in 1944. the united states entered world war 2 in 1942. it is established in the book that granny met her world war 2 beau when she was about 13 years old. so in order for it to be plausible for granny to have met frank at age 13, have him die in the war, & then marry pop pop in time for 1997 to be their 53rd wedding anniversary, granny & frank must have dated for at least three years. then frank went off to war & he either died right away, giving granny a reasonable mourning period before marrying pop pop, or she just moved on really, really quickly after his death.

also complicating this tidy little narrative is the fact that sharon establishes in dawn's book that granny & pop pop are between 75 & 80 years old on their 50th wedding anniversary. let's give them the benefit of the doubt & say that sharon was exaggerating & they are in fact 75 years old now on their 53rd anniversary. that would mean they married in 1944 at age 22. which would mean that granny in fact dated frank, the world war 2 dude, for at least SEVEN YEARS before he went off to war & died. confusing, eh?

also, the book says that granny & pop pop moved into their house as newlyweds. so they have been living there for 53 years. granny grew up in the house next door. she used to spy on her neighbor, a glamorous older girl named lydia bailey. lydia's father worked for a bank & is the individual accused of embezzling money & burying it in the backyard. jim, the plumber that sharon hires to replace the burst pipes, informs sharon that he lived across the street as a child & had a good friend who lived in granny & pop pop's house. he does not seem familiar with the bailey embezzling story from anything other than his father's stories, so we must assume that jim's family lived in the house across the street during the bailey era, but jim was too young to remember it. if granny is 75 now & was 13 during the embezzling scandal, this would have been 62 years ago...1935. questions are raised about a banker embezzling money during the height of the great depression, but moving on. let's say the baileys moved out right after this scandal & a new family with a playmate for young jim moved in. they would have lived there for about nine years, because they had to clear out by 1944 for granny & pop pop to move in. i guess that's enough time for jim to get old enough to have a friend he remembers, & then his family moved away at around the same time that granny & pop pop moved in. but that would still make him over sixty years old.

at the end of the book, jim's father makes an appearance, searching for the buried treasure in granny & pop pop's yard. assuming he was not a teen father, he would have to be in his mid-80s. & yet, he was sneaking around granny & pop pop's yard, digging holes & knocking over trash cans? dubious. very dubious.

once you do all the math, everything more or less checks out (save for the confusion over exactly how long granny & frank dated). but it was still distracting & annoying, & the mystery sucked.
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