Week Twenty One – Karen’s Worst Day

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“So far, the day was not very good. In fact, it was half bad. What would it be like if it were all bad?”

Many (most?) girls around my age are familiar with The Baby-sitters Club, a pre-teen series about (surprise!) a group of girls who babysit. Fewer people are familiar with Baby-sitters Little Sister, a series about 6-year-old Karen Brewer, the younger stepsister of Baby-sitter Club member Kristy.

I never read Baby-sitters Club books. I think maybe I saw the movie? But I read countless books about Karen. About her birthday and her “wedding” and her clown camp and her kittens and her haircut…pretty much everything that could possibly come up in a 6-year-old’s life.

Here are the things I remembered about Karen before last week: she split her time between her divorced parents, she doesn’t use contractions when telling her stories which used to really irk me, and she once had a really bad day that involved falling out of bed and a broken wrist but ended with ice cream so it was my kind of day.

Because that particular tale seemed clearest in my mind, that’s what I picked up to read again. Turns out Karen is super annoying. Or at least she is at the beginning of the book, when everything’s going wrong – she’s rather snotty about it to everyone. I was kind of like, wow. Why did I enjoy this girl’s life?

By the end of the book though, Karen is pretty likeable. She even makes a point of apologizing to everyone she was grumpy with throughout the day. So I guess I can forgive a fictional 6-year-old for her tantrums when things are going wrong because even at the mature age of 24 I can get pretty grumpy on my bad days. (There are several people I’m sure who would attest to this.)

That’s probably why I remembered this specific Karen story so clearly as well. The whole premise of the Karen series revolve around her divorced parents and her travel between houses, which is something I never experienced. I also never went to clown camp, I never staged a marriage ceremony, and I don’t remember having any really atrocious haircuts as a kid. But I’m sure I had bad days.

Don’t stress about Karen though guys – as mentioned, her day ends with a trip for ice cream with her cool high school aged brothers so all’s well that ends well right?

The Karen series doesn’t really hold up as a book I still enjoy into adulthood, but that’s obviously not its purpose. The font is big, the storytelling is basic and repetitive (Karen describes her family situation in detail at the beginning of every book – I used to skim through the first couple chapters even as a kid because I don’t need to hear that again) and the books amount to about a hundred pages.

Fun fact: I don’t actually know how many pages are in this book. I don’t know where any of my copies are, and apparently Baby-Sitters Little Sister books are no longer a hot item so I had to order this used from Amazon and as I got to the end the story wrapped up on page 98 with “the story was going to be about a…”

Not an intentional cliffhanger. That’s the hazards of buying used books online I guess, but it was pretty evident the end was nigh so I didn’t miss out on too much.

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