Back when I was a kid in the ’80s, shortly before I discovered the glorious world of Sweet Valley High, I embarked on a binge-reading frenzy of Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club. Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Jessi, Mallory, Stacey, and Dawn were the most entrepreneurially ambitious 11-to-13-year-old girls of the ’80s, inspiring tweens across the world to get out there and open up their own babysitting business.
Oh, how I longed to visit Stoneybrook, Connecticut, the suburban town the girls lived in, which, I was devastated to learn from my father, didn’t really exist.
We all had our favorite member. While many people favored Kristy, because she was the founder and president, I preferred Dawn. Her parents were divorced and she was from California, just like me, so I totally related to her.
Like SVH, the series spawned several spin-offs, including another book series called California Diaries that was all about Dawn and her friends back in California, a television show, and a movie, during its 15-year reign.
Now, as an adult, I wonder: what became of those ambitious girls, who seemed so destined for success? Did they become stay-at-home moms? Or start Fortune 500 companies? Or spend years dating losers and bouncing from job to job?
New York-based illustrator Siobhán Gallagher, also a die-hard fan of the series growing up, asked herself the same question. In 2014 she came up with what she thought would be a funny one-off illustration of how she envisioned what the girls grew up to be. Once she realized how fun the girls were to draw, she decided to keep at it, producing a new illustration every few months, and eventually, The Jaded Quitters Club was born.
“The girls in The Baby-Sitters Club were impossibly ambitious and entrepreneurial by age 11-13 so I wondered, what if that was their peak?” the writer and illustrator explains.
In the series, she depicts the girls as lackadaisical 20-somethings who just can’t deal. Instead of Scholastic, Sarcastic is the publishing company behind her brilliance.
“What if years later, their dreams have been bashed or their efforts have floundered and they’re left to endure shitty day jobs and life’s annoying interruptions to their grand plans? I thought it would be funny to find out they’re just like everyone else now.”
Kristy, whose “great idea” launched the club and always seemed to be the most ambitious of the group, has grown into a lazy louse. She enjoys getting her R&R in Kristy and the Cancelled Plans.
Japanese-American Claudia, the artsy fashionista of the bunch (how many of us painted our nails purple because of her?), now lounges around her apartment in sweats, ordering Seamless and binge-watching Netflix, in Claudia and the Judgmental Delivery Guy.
Blonde-haired, blue-eyed New Yorker Stacey, also a fierce fashionista who scored the title of treasurer due to her mad math skills, appears to be back in NYC (possibly in Brooklyn?) and living beyond her means in a sea of hipsters in Stacey and the Crowd of Indistinguishable Beards and Manbuns.
Mallory, favorite member of no one that I knew, was the nerd of the group (which makes her cool in the world of hipsters), and is still rocking her trademark frizzy red hair in Mallory Has a Frenemy.
Ballet dancer Jessi, who stirred up racial tensions when her family moved to the ‘burbs from New Jersey, is now imprinted in tattoos and focused on perfecting her social media profile pics in Jessi and the Afternoon Spent Getting the Light Juuust Right for a Selfie.
Last but certainly not least, my idol, California-girl Dawn, who was an outspoken vegetarian and environmentalist, is now super-concerned with what other people think of her in Dawn’s Attempt to Hide Anything Embarrassing Before Guests Arrive.
I sort of feel bad for type-A Mary Anne, the super-organized and sort of nerdy secretary of the club, as she was left out of The Jaded Quitters Club. Maybe she conformed and got a real job.
For those of you super-impressed with the genius that is Siobhán Gallagher, prints of her work are for sale on her website and you can see more of her illustrations on Instagram. She is also working on her first nonfiction book, with an expected 2017 publication date.More On