missing tigger: a melodrama starring mary anne spier

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ugh. mary anne spier at her worst. this is my educational & enlightening recap of babysitters club book #24,

    mary anne & the search for tigger

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so, mary anne’s dad used to be kind of over-protective because he’s a single parent & was trying too hard to be both mom & dad to her. in book #4, they had a talk after mary anne saved jenny prezzioso from a high fever, & mr. spier has loosened up a bit. he even let mary anne adopt tigger, the perpetual wonder kitten. this book opens with dawn & mary anne biking downtown to pick up some more cat toys for tigger. apparently he bats them behind the fridge & mary anne has to constantly buy more, instead of moving the fridge aside & sweeping them out. you’re supposed to brush all the dust out of the coils behind your fridge anyway once a year, it’s not like they can’t be moved. anyway.

a couple of days later, mary anne is hanging out in her yard with logan after school. logan isn’t allowed inside when mr. spier isn’t home, lest mary anne & logan…have sex? i don’t know. it’s kind of weird. mary anne has let tigger outside to play too, & is visited by jamie newton & charlotte johannssen, both of whom want to play with tigger. mary anne starts to tell logan that she thinks maybe she over-protects tigger in the same way that her dad used to over-protect her & he snaps, “again?” it was kind of mean of him (mary anne agrees), but it also cracked me up to think that this is a regular topic of conversation for mary anne. i just imagine her tying ribbons on to tigger’s tail & asking logan, “do you think this is too much like how my dad used to make me wear braids?” or trying to force tigger to sleep in a navy blue-&-yellow cat bed, & asking logan, “is it wrong of me to impose my aesthetic decorating preferences on to tigger? perhaps he prefers pink.” mary anne lets it go, & when it’s time for her BSC meeting, she decides to leave tigger outside. he seems reluctant to go in.

when she comes home from the meeting, she can’t find tigger anywhere. her dad helps her look when he gets home from work (continuity fail: this book supposedly takes place right after mother’s day, so late may or early june, but it’s dark enough to require flashlights at 7pm when richard gets home from work), but they can’t find him. mary anne sleeps fitfully, worrying about tigger. tigger is still missing when she gets up in the morning.

she tells the other BSC members what’s going on, & kristy proposes that they make a missing poster & plaster the neighborhood. all of the babysitters contribute what little money they have so they can offer a reward. an entire chapter is dedicated to the pursuit of crafting the perfect missing cat poster. i wish it would have gone something like this, but sadly, it does not. mary anne even letters the poster herself to avoid the perils of claudia’s shaky grasp on basic spelling. kristy has her mom run off posters at her office, & the babysitters reconvene in the morning to poster the neighborhood (logan included).

at some point in here, maybe when mary anne is telling everyone how tigger is missing at a babysitters club meeting, she starts crying & brazenly admits that she looked at logan, waiting for him to comfort her. way to emotionally manipulate him, mary anne. logan fails to take the bait & claudia hugs mary anne instead. (mary anne imagines that claudia gives logan a dirty look while she does it.) when she cries again later, she again expects logan to comfort her. instead he tells her to pull herself together because she’s being “too sensitive” & “acting like a girl.” mary anne replies that there’s nothing wrong with being sensitive, & anyway, she IS a girl. i wish she had also said that hello! there’s nothing wrong with being a girl. shut the fuck up, logan. though i do wish mary anne would get a grip. at one point, she actually tells logan, “i think this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.” really? worse than your mom dying of cancer when you were a tiny infant? that cat must shit gold.

while they’re out putting up posters, a ten-year-old boy approaches mary anne & says that he thinks he saw a cat fitting tigger’s description the day before. he basically reads the description right off the poster & arouses mary anne’s suspicion when he says he called the cat “tigger” & it responded. he then baldly asks if the $30 reward is for information leading to tigger’s return. mary anne blows him off.

meanwhile, mary anne has been babysitting a bit for kerry & bruno, logan’s siblings. bruno has really, really bad allergies. as someone who had my first round of terrible seasonal allergies this spring, i don’t know how bruno resists the impulse to just kill himself. i can’t even imagine being that allergic to EVERYTHING. mary anne notices that bruno’s allergies seem to be a little worse when he’s upstairs, & that kerry is being uncommonly helpful. hmmm…i wonder how this will tie in with the A story?

a few days after putting up posters, mary anne receives a ransom note in her mailbox. it’s not clear to me how the catnapper knew which house was mary anne’s but…let’s go with it. the note says that mary anne needs to leave $100 on the big rock in brenner field if she ever wants to see her cat alive again. logan springs into action & concocts a plan where mary anne will stuff an envelope with fake money & leave it on the rock. the other babysitters will hide in the field, ready to accost the catnapper when s/he comes to pick up the money. mary anne will go home after leaving the envelope, & then backtrack to the field to hide & wait.

the whole thing goes off without a hitch (despite a lengthy passage in which mary anne frets over how thick to make the envelope, & why she should use monopoly money instead of newspaper or notebook paper–who gives a fuck, mary anne?). the “catnapper” was the same greedy ten-year-old who tried to pass fake info on tigger while they were postering the neighborhood. he doesn’t really have tigger, he just wanted money. mary anne yells at him & basically tells him he’s an idiot. logan scares the kid by threatening a citizen’s arrest. it’s all just a big weird red herring, providing fodder for the BSC notebook when dawn sits for the barretts & they are concerned that their ugly little basset hound is going to be houndnapped. don’t hold your breath, kids.

while mary anne is sitting for just bruno, she notices that his allergies are really, really bad. when she asks him about it, he shows her why. kerry has tigger hidden in a cardboard box in her closet! bruno is allergic to pet dander, so a cat in the house is making his allergies really bad. apparently kerry accidentally catnapped tigger because she thought he was a stray, she’s lonely & hasn’t made friends in stoneybrook yet, & she hoped her parents would let her get a pet if she proved she could be responsible for one. i question how responsible it is to shut a cat in a cardboard box in a closet for five days, even if you are giving it food & water. what did tigger ever do to land himself in the hole, aside from annoy me with his fictitious friskiness?

mary anne takes tigger back, but convinces herself that logan’s recent distance & short temper have been because he knew that kerry had tigger & was trying to protect her. this makes no sense, because logan is old enough to realize that the cat secret would have had to come out eventually, & then how could he have ever had mary anne or any of mary anne’s friends that know tigger over without them asking why the hell tigger is at his house? this is just another pointless conflict to stretch out the story. eventually logan confesses that he’s bummed because he’s about to get kicked off the baseball team, & he really had no idea that kerry was hiding tigger in some kind of weird cat closet dungeon. mary anne & logan make up. kerry is punished with having to wash the family cars, & then she’s allowed to get a hairless pet & is introduced to charlotte johannssen, so she’ll have a friend. & BSC readers are forever tormented by mary anne’s continued obsession with her completely mediocre cat.

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