I was in my late 20s when I found out the many of the later Baby-Sitter’s Clubs books had been ghostwritten by people who were not Ann M. Martin, and let me tell you something: I felt so betrayed! I poured my adolescent feelings into those books like Ginny Weasley did with Tom Riddle’s diary (particularly the feelings I had about the feelings Kristy very obviously had about Mary Ann). I trusted Ann M. Martin with my deepest secrets, but it turns out it wasn’t Ann M. Martin at all! Well, I’m over that now because in a new profile with New York magazine, Martin explains that she wrote a whole lot of the books and outlined and line edited every single one of them. Oh, and also she’s totally queer.
You heard me: I said, Ann M. Martin is queeeeer.
Apparently rumors have been swirling about such a thing for years, fueled by the fact that: a) Martin went to Smith, which is true of exactly 87 percent of all queer writers, and b) She just walked around town talking about her gayness to people in literary circles, as reported in 2007 by a famous gossip LiveJournal. The confirmation of Martin’s sexual orientation is tucked unassumingly in today’s New York magazine interview about her new book series.
With her partner at the time, Laura Godwin (they’ve since broken up), she wrote four Doll People books, tales of what a child’s doll collection does when no one’s watching.
Okay, but that’s not all. Listen to this gayness. I might as well be copying and pasting this out of my own personal journal:
“I’ve probably fostered hundreds of cats,” she says. “Right now I have five kittens, and their default setting is making the tiniest little hisses you can imagine,” she says. “Taking care of them is like my version of babysitting.”
On the one hand, of course Ann M. Martin is gay. One thing people do at A-Camp is leave little cut-out snippets of Baby-Sitter’s Club books in each other’s pigeon holes (not a euphemism). I was involved in an impromptu Baby-Sitter’s Club theme song singalong that broke out at A-camp this very summer. You know, and the Baby-Sitter’s Club is a company founded by a brilliant, ambitious tomboy femme who empowers a diverse group of young women to get out in the world and get paid and change lives. Was Kristy Thomas based on the child Riese Bernard? It kinda seems like it! There’s a reason these books remind us so much of ourselves, even though there aren’t any overtly openly gay characters in them.
On the other hand, I feel shocked that Ann M. Martin is gay. In a wonderful way! My bisexual sister and I spent half our lives devouring these books in our tiny little town in rural Georgia, and even though neither of us had language or an outlet for our feelings at that age, we were being babysat by the ultimate babysitter and now it’s apparent that she was also our queer guardian angel! She protected our imaginations!
Ann M. Martin’s new book, Miss Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure, hit shelves today. It’s a reboot of Betty Macdonald’s beloved series, and you can bet I’m going to read the heck out of it.
In case you were wondering, Ann M. Martin also identifies as “a Mary Ann.”