February 27, 2010

BSC #32, Kristy and the Secret of Susan: Hey, Kids! Let’s Learn About Autism!

Posted in books tagged , at 8:14 pm by Jenn

If only we could all be this oblivious to Kristy

Summary: Kristy starts sitting for a girl named Susan who’s autistic, which means we get to learn a whole lot about autism, whether we like it or not. (You can tell this book is from the early ’90s because no one knows what autism is, and because Asperger’s never comes up.) Kristy thinks Susan’s just socially inept, basically, and decides that she can help her come out of her shell. She fails, but it’s not as delicious as Kristy’s failures usually are, because the subject matter is so serious. Yeah, this isn’t one of the more fun books in the series.

The B plot is less interesting but at least not so emotional: The Hobarts, a family from Australia, move into Mary Anne’s old house, and the oldest boy, Ben, becomes Mallory’s love interest. Awww, dork love.

Thoughts: From what I know of autism, Ann M. Martin/the ghostwriter gets many of the details right. I know a boy with autism who acts very much like Susan. I only wish the writer had addressed the fact that there’s a spectrum and varying degrees of severity. Eh, too much to hope for in one of these books.

I’m sure the “baby-sitter on board” sign Charlie made for his car gets him a lot of action.

This book contains one of the few times a sitting charge has a realistic reaction to being left with a sitter – Johnny Hobart cries and doesn’t want his mother to leave. I guess this sort of thing doesn’t happen too much in the series because everyone’s supposed to love the BSC girls.


  1. Sadako said,

    I liked that once in a while a kid would cry. Though the sitters always acted offended — like parents know more about kid care than a bunch of thirteen year old girls. As if!

    Anyway — agreed. Kristy is totes inept.

  2. unknown said,

    and the oldest boy, Ben, becomes Mallory’s love interest. Awww, dork love.

  3. Monica said,

    What really got me about this book was how Susan’s mother announces that she’s pregnant again at the end, and everyone treats this like it makes up for Susan being autistic. First kid didn’t work out? You get to try again!

    • Jenn said,

      Good point – I didn’t think of that. How do they know the new baby won’t be autistic, too?

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