Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: "Poor Mallory! The Baby-Sitters Club #39"

Poor Mallory! The Baby-Sitters Club #39 by Ann M Martin
3 out of 5 stars

This is the one where Mallory gets pissed that she has to share a bathroom with 7 other kids and goes on a rampage thru Kristy's rich neighborhood, right? No? Well, it should have been. Okay, what really happens is that Mallory's dad loses his job and gets a new one by the end of the book. That's the short story. This was a decent book though: someone is getting a new baby, we get some of Mallory's "poor little me" routine that comes up again later on, and there are some great bits with Claire the silly-billy-goo-goo. :)

Okay, so we start off with Mal and Jessi walking home from school, singing some gross song the triplets came up with. Mal informs us that Jessi is black, but she's totally okay with it. She gets home where she finds Claire fending for herself in the, the living room...because their mom is lying down. She had talked to Mr Pike earlier and he's afraid he's getting laid off from his job. He's a lawyer in Stamford, because that's what all the dad's in Stoneybrook do. Suit up! Mallory is kind of freaked but doesn't think it will happen and goes off to the BSC meeting in a good mood. Then we get the usual reminiscing about all her dibble friends. "Dibble is short for incredible. Another word meaning dibble is distant. The opposite of dibble and distant are stale!" Gag me with a spoon. And a What Claudia is Wearing woo!

Claudia is also outgoing, but she doesn't have a big mouth, and she is so dibbly sophisticated and chic. She wears wild clothes like big hats; flowered vests over long shirts that belong to her father and which she leaves untucked; short black pants; and then, something just a little offbeat like penny loafers from the 1950s with white bobby socks. And her jewelry. It's the height of dibble-dom. She makes most of it herself-ceramic bead necklaces and big dangly earrings, but in shapes you wouldn't expect. Claudia might wear a monkey in one ear and a banana in the other. [I updated this look quite a bit, since it wasn't really a full outfit and I wanted to. :)]
(click here for links)

Also, Stacey gets to wear sparkly nail polish and *still* isn't feeling well. God, when is she going to get sick already?? And we find out that Jenny Prezzioso is going to be a big sister. That should go over well...the world's most selfish 4 yr old having to share Mommy & Daddy with a cute new baby. Can't wait. Oh and the Delaney's (you remember them? The super brats with the $400 cat who think Stacey is mentally deranged? I can't for the life of me find which book that was in. Arg.) need a regular sitter for a full month. Though I'm not sure why they wouldn't just hire a nanny. Mrs D is taking a real estate course that *only* meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3:30-5:00 pm. How convenient. Do none of these families ever need a sitter during BSC meeting times?? That's always bugged me. Anyway, Kristy takes the job, for now, and meeting is over.

Mal runs home, dad got the pink slip, and doesn' The kids are all worried they aren't going to be able to eat, Claire wants to know what "dessatoot" (destitute) means, Mom is going to do temp work typing, the kids don't get their allowance anymore, Mal calls the first meeting of the Pike Club. They discuss ways they can help save money, by turning off the TV when they're not watching it and using washable towels instead of paper.

At the next BSC meeting, Kristy (being surprisingly generous & kindhearted) offers the Delaney job to Mal and has even set up transportation for her. The rest of the members agree that Mal should take as many jobs as she can, for extra money. And then they start gossipping about school...Dori Wallingford farted in lunch lol. And Mal & Jessi tell the others about this cow (whom I've never heard of) named Nan White that made fun of Mallory because her dad lost his job. I'm not sure how she heard about it, unless the whole BSC was spreading it around? And Kristy says she'd like to teach that Nan a lesson. Probably scare her in a cemetery or something.

Okay, so it's time for Mallory's first sitting job for Amanda and Max McMoneypants. She's awed by the fountain in the foyer, the space station kitchen, and the two tennis courts. (Why 2?) Then Mrs Delaney tells her that they have a new pool and the kids can use it, as long as one of the adult neighbors is home. And they can have friends over, but only as long as they are good swimmers. Which is all well and good, but:

A. What if Mallory can't swim? (Not to mention the fact that she doesn't have a swimsuit.) She's going to run over to the neighbor's if one of the kids is drowning?
B. Mallory now has to watch 5 kids, 3 for free. How is that fair? Mrs Delaney better pay really well.

But whatev. The kids come home, talk Mal into Oreos & Coke for a snack (Mal goes along, because hey, Oreos & Coke) and boast about their cat, home, pool, and father. (Also a lawyer) Then they go swimming in their fabulous pool with their "friends" and Mallory pouts on the side, thinking about poor Claire who just wants a new Skipper doll. Moving things along, Mal's dad keeps looking for a job, Mal's mom does some temp work, Mal's dad gets discouraged and starts vegging on the couch, poor Claire tells her dolls that they're bad and they can't have a new Skipper. Claire is really the star of this book, in my opinion. Things get worse when Dad decides not to get out of his pajamas and just watch soaps all day, letting Mrs Perkins pick up Claire from school. Mrs Pike blows up at him, telling him he should be cleaning and stuff because she's bringing home the bacon now. Mal calls another Pike Club meeting and the kids talk about how they're being teased at school and what they can do to make more money for the family, so they can pay the mortgage. Claire the awesome says "I'm sorry. I don't know what a mortgage is, either. I can't help it." Me neither, Claire, and I used to work for a mortgage company.

Meanwhile, back at the Delaney's, the kids are starting to realize that having a pool isn't always that great. Their so-called friends really only want to hang out for the pool usage (one girl is practicing her diving for a meet) and don't really want to play with them outside the pool. Max & Amanda are pretty upset and Mallory takes the time to think about how her sitting job parallels her own life. Ugh. Mal suggests that Amanda tell the kids she can't have them over in the pool with a sitter anymore and see who still wants to come over. Then, Mal decides that she wants to confront Nan & the other girls at school. The next day, at lunch, she gets her chance. Stupid Nan & her stupid friends are talking about Mallory's dad again and she's had enough. Jessi is scared she's going to fight them, but Mal just goes over and tells them off. She calls them prejudiced (I don't think that word means what you think it means) and says they aren't her friends, blah blah blah. The girls are stunned and Mal is satisfied. At her next sitting job, she finds out her plan for Amanda worked too.

So, we finally get to the end, Mal's dad gets a new job and isn't all mopey anymore, they find out that Vanessa was doing hair on the playground to earn money (side ponytails ftw), and Claire can finally get her new Skipper. The BSC have a sleepover at Mallory's house (she's finally in the big time!) and they decide to prank call Nan & her friend Janet. Ah, the days when you could do prank calls and not worry about *69 or caller ID. And all is happy again in the Pike household.

Up next is another Super Special woo! And then a BSC All Grown Up and maaaaybee....another giveaway? :) Thoughts? Comments? Requests?

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