This article is part of an ongoing series titled “Books that Changed My Life” — autobiographical reviews of books that changed our lives for the better and sometimes for the worse.
There are any number of books I could have written about for this series — like Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, which gave me a completely new appreciation for my parents’ experience as immigrants in this country, or Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, which is changing my life as we speak. But at the end of the day, when I think about the books that were most formative for me, I keep coming back to The Baby-Sitters Club, Ann M. Martin’s classic series about a group of middle-school friends in Stoneybrook, Connecticut.
When I first picked up these books, I was a 6-year-old child of immigrants, just starting public school for the first time. I had lived my entire life in Michigan, but there was so much about American culture I didn’t know; my parents grew up in post-war Taiwan, after all, and did not play soccer or wear Halloween costumes or attend school dances. There was much about life in the US that they couldn’t teach me. These books served as my education.