I am continuuing to remember my favorite BSC books, this being one of them. The basic plot? Kristy gets a regular sitting job (they get like thousands of regular sitting jobs that last exactly one book) for Susan, who is autistic. Kristy tries to make Susan “normal” so her mother won’t send her away to a specialized school. Finally, Susan does go away. Probably for the better. Who is Kristy to deny her a good education and the attention she needs? Kristy is such a fucking egomaniac.
That leads me to something else: who in their right mind would leave their severely autistic child in the hands of a thirteen year old? From what I remember, Susan doesn’t even communicate.
This book sparked my keen interest in autism as a subject. I think because this book didn’t exactly explain autism very well. Firstly, it led me to believe that all individuals with autism have some like special super power (i.e. Susan playing any piece on the piano by heart). Also, it described Susan as being “inside herself in her own world” which I guess could be an accurate description, but I took it too literally. As in, while she is walking around Stoneybrook, her mind was in another dimension and she was talking with magical elves and dragons. I mean, she may very well be, but I couldn’t really comprehend it. After that, my mother rented Rain Man for me, which I think was my first R-rated movie. Then I did a whole research paper on autism for school and got acolades and shit. Thanks, Baby-Sitters Club!
One other thing that I kind of remember about this one was that Kristy was surprised that Susan was so pretty. As if being differently-abled automatically disqualifies you from being good-looking. And she took Susan to hang out with the other kids and tried to get her to act “normal” but she just did “weird” things.
In my work now I work with some individuals with varying levels of autism and when I work with them I still sometimes think about Susan! Goddam you BSC!
Kristy has a very “you are so fucking pathetic so I need to butt in and help you change your life” look that reminds us of a certain blond twin.