Indie author Libbry Mercer stops by Julie’s Chick Lit with some reading recommendations for young litasauruses. And be sure to come back to Julie’s Chick Lit on Saturday, December 15 when I post my review of Libby’s new novel, “Unmasking Maya.”
Long before I picked up Bridget’s diary, I routinely got caught up in the adventures of four enterprising seventh graders from fictional Stoneybrook, Connecticut. Helen Fielding, as we all know, has been credited with launching the chick lit genre, but the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that Ann M. Martin’s Babysitter’s Club series is actually chick lit for little chicks.
According to Wikipedia, “Chick lit is genre fiction which addresses the issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly… the heroine’s relationship with her family or friends is often just as important as her romantic relationships.”
The Babysitters Club books absolutely addressed the issues of modern girlhood or early teenhood – whatever you want to call it. Plots dealt with things like sibling rivalry, issues with blended families, stress about grades, jealousy among friends, and yes – with the characters’ fledgling love lives too. What’s more, the books were written in total chick lit style. Each novel is told in the first person POV from one of the girls’ perspectives, and their voices are conversational and sassy. Very tell it like it is.
It has to be said that I’m no Babysitters Club expert. I probably read about twelve books before I graduated and moved on to Sweet Valley High. The girls in the stories, on the other hand, were frozen in time – either in the 7th grade or the 8th grade through 14 years and a whopping 281 books (including offshoots like the Friends Forever and Little Sister series.) Also, Martin introduced several more babysitters to the club as the series progressed. I remember some, but the later additions were most likely added years later when I was more interested in Bridget Jones.
Still, I remember the original four members fairly clearly – especially after a Google session to refresh my memory. And I couldn’t resist creating little fictional stories about what became of the Babysitters Club members. The books were first published in 1986 when the girls were 13, so they’re 39 now. Read on to find out what I imagine they’re up to these days:
Out and proud as a lesbian (which will come as a surprise to no one) Kristy excelled all through college and grad school, as those Great Ideas kept coming to her. Her Greatest Idea, a data syncing software package, revolutionized the transportation business model, and is now being used by the public transportation system in every major US city and several cities abroad. She now owns her own Fortune 500 Company and still wears baseball caps – even with her power suits. Perpetually single, Kristy prefers to “play the field.” In 2004, she created Kristy’s Krusaders, a softball team comprised of female executives, who consistently wipe the floor with their male opponents.
Hoping to appease her parents, Claudia studied pre-law at the University of Connecticut, but the subject matter bored her and she couldn’t keep up. At the same time her sister, Janine, received her Ph.D from Harvard in applied physics, Claudia dropped out and headed for Manhattan with hopes of selling her artwork. Sadly, her career as an artist never took off. After a nervous breakdown brought on by living under Janine’s shadow, Claudia started intensive therapy and eventually came to terms with her limitations. In 2010, she met her husband, Paul, and now lives in Chicago, designing for a small, independent greeting card company. They have a baby on the way.
Mary Anne Spier
Mere months into her college career, Mary Anne kicked her good girl persona to the curb. A bit of underage drinking soon escalated into blackouts and wild sex with anonymous partners. On an impulse, she hopped a flight to Seattle, where she immersed herself in the music scene, squatting in a condemned building with struggling musicians and other artists. After a few months, her father tracked her down. Finding her unconscious with needle marks on her arms, he took her directly to a rehab center just outside of Stoneybrook where she worked closely with Dr. Chad Perkins. It wasn’t long before Chad fell in love with the repentant Mary Anne. They married in 1994 and now have three kids. Mary Anne is the only member of the Junior League with seven tattoos.
Upon graduating from Stoneybrook High, Stacey moved back to New York to pursue a degree in fashion design from Parsons, and she worked for other designers in the industry before launching her brand. Stacey’s party girl image only intensified once her career took off, and she frequently made the gossip pages, paired at one time or another with every bad boy in Hollywood. She achieved notoriety in 2002 when her sex tape was leaked to the press, which prompted a new direction for her brand. Sophisticated Sluts by Stacey cemented her as one of the most influential American fashion designers today. Stacey is currently in talks with E! about starring in a reality show.
Born and raised in the Midwest, Libby Mercer’s adventurous spirit kicked in after graduating from high school, and she’s since lived in Boston, NYC and London. San Francisco is the city she currently calls home. For several years, Libby worked in fashion – first as a journalist and then as a shopkeeper. She also dabbled in design for a while. Even through the crazy fashion years, Libby never let go of her dream of being a published author, and has since developed her signature writing style, crafting quirky chick lit/romance hybrids. Fashioning a Romance was her first published novel, and Unmasking Maya will be her second. Libby has a third novel, The Karmic Connection, scheduled for release in 2013.
Embrace your inner newly hatched chick and connect with Libby …