I’m not the best at remembering certain things about my childhood, but there’s definitely one day I’ll never forget – the day my mother sold my entire Karen‘s book collection. We’re talking a hundred books, years of collecting and a lifetime of memories. Not happy, mum.
Now, if you’re in this article, chances are you too were a fan of Ann M. Martin‘s The Baby-Sitters Club spinoff, but allow me to both refresh and trigger your memory. The Baby-Sitters Little Sister Collection, known fondly by worshippers as “Karen’s Books”, followed the adventures of seven-year-old Karen at around 100-or-so pages a read.
Karen was the sister of Kristy Thomas, aka the president of The Baby-Sitters Club, aka a very important commodity, and their tight-knit relationship made sister-less people everywhere crave sisterhood.
I was not one of those people, as I had three sisters of my own and that was plenty (think of the synced up cycles, people – not a time). We, collectively built up our Karen collection to the prized possession it would become. Whether it was an inclusion in a Scholastic magazine or pushing over other infants to get my hands on the missing piece of the puzzle at a Scholastic Book Fair, we were all well and truly invested.
What can I say? Jesse McCartney didn’t yet exist and neither did our sexually inclined hormones. It was all about collecting cute, fun reads and having adventure time with with someone to whom we could relate, our girl Karen. What a wholesome time.
We weren’t the only ones. Karen, in all her infantile and fictional glory, was the Harry Potter of the 90s. I’ll never forget chewing into “Karen’s Witch #1”, which is the first of what would become a 122-book series. Our family, personally, had 100 of the books, which, at the time, was the full collection. Remember decorating them with those stick-on gel earrings? It was all very cute.
Every single one of us had read every single one, which we would neatly put back into our specific Karen’s Books bookshelf when we were done. One day, mum decided to do a clean up, which is wild to think back on given my mum will literally hold onto a piece of gum just in case it might come in handy one day, and packed it into the car as part of the car boot sale we were selling at.
No dramas, right? It’s chill – they’re just going to sit there. Sell away, mother dearest. You wiped our bums, it’s your choice what you do with our belongings (that you bought).
But then we, as a sisterhood, starting to get weird about even the thought of parting ways with the collection. We didn’t know, of course, until people started making offers and we kept palming them off as unreasonable. Looking back, it’s because the purchase was priceless, clearly.
Mum gave us some money to go get lunch and when we came back the collection was fucking gone. It was like someone shat on my childhood. You’d think as a writer I’d have a better way of explaining this but that’s the only way I know how: childhood, shat on.
The worst part? The person who bought it re-sold it at an inflated price over at his stall within the same market. Way to diarrhoea all over my childhood, ass-wipe.
And as for you, mother, I have forgiven, not forgotten.