If you want to evoke nostalgia amongst a group of thirty something women, just mention the Baby-Sitters Club. That group of entrepreneurial girls, one with their own phone line (unheard of in the eighties), who got up to innocent scrapes and paved the way for the racier twins at Sweet Valley High.
What if it were set in 2016? Would today’s girls get it? I don’t know. Here’s what would have to change.
They wouldn’t be babysitting. Maybe in the eighties when parents regularly sent 10 year olds home to empty houses with a key and access to the remote, 12 – 13 year olds baby-sitting would fly. I don’t know anyone these days who would entrust their kids with a pre-teen. The modern parent requires at least three recommendations, a blue card and a police check before employing a baby sitter. But that wouldn’t matter because…
There’d be an app for that. Kristy would still have her “great idea” but it would be an app and service that bridged kids’ use of social media and their parents monitoring it. When I turned 10 the big thing was to get your ears pierced. Now kids get an Instagram account. The baby-sitters would online-befriend kids around their own age (agreed by both kids and parents), try to make sure everyone stays pretty safe and report back any problems to the the parents through said app. The storylines would be endless.
Claudia would have an Etsy store. Remember those cool, home-made earrings Claudia used to wear – flashing Christmas tree earrings, lobster earrings, fork one ear and a spoon in the other? She’d be all over Etsy.
Dawn would be an Instagram star. The Californian blonde (who was my favourite as a fellow vegetarian) would post prettily filtered shots of granola, smoothies and breakfast jars. She’d also sneak in a few bikini shots and Kristy would get mad at her for tarnishing the club’s image (they never did get on).
None of them would have lovely handwriting. Or write letters. Do you remember how there used to be those hand-written notes at the beginning of each chapter and Stacey dotted all her “i”s with hearts (and maybe I did too for a while)? Do you know any kid these days who writes letters? I am guessing some still dot their “i”s with hearts.
Mary-Anne, the introvert, would be secretly hosting a gossipy anonymous blog about the goings on at their school and inadvertently creating more work for the baby-sitters by creating a culture of online bullying. Yeah, I never did like her much. There was always a dark side bubbling.
Stacey would get into trouble on Skout or Tinder. The boy crazy one would dip her toes into online dating sites (for work research purposes) and get herself into trouble. But it would all be resolved by the end of the book and no-one would get hurt. She’d also be managing her diabetes through an insulin pump rather than needles, so those oranges she used to practice on would be safe.