Saturday, July 5, 2008

"Wishes do come true".......BSC #48: Jessi's Wish

Memory Reaction

This is another book where Jessi gets a “special issue” to deal with. This time, it is a little girl with cancer, which about as depressing as the BSC ever gets. Actually, I remember the girl coming back in a later book, and really liking her then. I probably just liked the character, because even when I was eight my tolerance for the “special issues” books was not really high.

Revisited Reaction

So, Becca is involved with some club at school where they do a bunch of volunteer work. One of the advisors is taking a leave of absence and Jessi volunteers to help out in her place. Apparently, an 11-year-old is fully qualified to take the place of a teacher advisor. She does baby-sit, you know. I also don’t know how Jessi has time to do this when she is always talking about how busy she is with ballet, but I guess we are not supposed to think about that.

Since the BSC is too much of a clique to do anything alone, Jessi gets the rest of the girls to agree to all do volunteer work for a month instead/in addition to sitting. They are not really clear on that part. Of course everyone thinks that is great and claims they are going to keep volunteering but none of it is ever mentioned again.

But the real story is that while helping out at the club, Jessi meets a fourth grader Danielle, who is friends with Becca and has leukemia. She is back at school after being in the hospital for months, and pretty much is portrayed as a cliché cancer patient: she wears a shirt that says bald is beautiful, she has a wish to graduate elementary school, she is super-optimistic about life despite having cancer and living in the hospital. Danielle bonds a lot with Jessi, who helps her to go to Disney World by contacting a Make-a-Wish-Foundation rip-off (I guess they couldn’t use the name). But, at the end she ends up back in the hospital, so no miracles or happy endings this time. Which, is kind of sad, but realistic.

High/lowlights

  • What kind of 11-year-old complains about not having to take care of their siblings as much (because of Aunt Cecilia)?
  • Jessi wants to help out the Kids Club, which is cool. But why make it a BSC project? Why do they all have to volunteer? I HATE when they do that. I guess it is somewhat realistic, but I don’t think all teenagers are that bad about it. And it is good that they are volunteering, it is just lame that they do everything in packs.
  • Don’t all teachers get paid to help with clubs and stuff? The club Becca is in makes a point of saying how the teacher advisor's are volunteers. I know several teachers, and when they are teacher advisor's they get extra money. It is often WHY they do it. That is not to say there could not be exceptions, but still.
  • Kristy is kind of annoying. She goes on about how there are so many different things she could have done to volunteer, because of how talented she is.
  • Here is where the other girls volunteered –
    • Kristy: Some after-school center for kids whose parents work. Claudia: Helping out at an art class. Karen was in the class, so don’t think she got off easy. Stacey: volunteering at a diabetes clinic for kids. Mary Anne: Helping a family who have a brain damaged little boy. Dawn: Helping at a center for kids who are physically disabled. Mallory: Working at some playground where kids can go after school.
  • I find it amazing that there are all these places where kids can go after school when their parents work. (see: Kristy and Mallory). Isn’t that what the BSC is for?
  • Shouldn’t Charlotte be a year a head of Becca? They are the same age and Charlotte skipped a year in school. Hence, not the same grade.
  • Jessi hears about kids with cerebral palsy at the foundation Dawn is volunteering at, and starts mentally comparing who is more unfortunate….them or the girl with cancer. Yeah, that is a fair comparison.
  • Okay, so this book is from 1991. Keep this in mind when you read this next part. Kristy talks to a fourth grade boy asking how to spell “Leonardo” and “Donatello.” She is amazed at what he could possibly be working on where he needs to know how to spell such advanced words. She finally asks him if she if he is writing about famous artists, and (as I am sure you can guess), the kid tells her it is a story about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Because that is what fourth grade boys were into back then. Kristy has a little brother, she should know that.
  • Danielle writes a bunch of postcards from her three day trip to Disney World….how does she write one while the plane is landing. Don’t they make you put up those tray tables? And aren’t planes kind of shaky while landing? And I get that she is sending postcards to be nice, but isn’t she going to beat them all home?
  • Jessi calls the family to find out about Danielle being back in the hospital and only talks to her six-year-old brother. That is informative.
  • Four cents from this book went to the real Make a wish foundation. Apparently that raised enough money to send a real kid to Disney World. At least something good came out of this book.


17 comments:

Mary Ann said...

I never read this book, but that IS really sad about the girl winding up back in the hospital at the end... that is so un-BSC. I'm surprised she didn't make a full recovery when the BSC got involved like usual.

On a happier note, I'm going to Disney World when my husband gets back from deployment at the end of this week, so the whole Disney World thing made me smile.

And I just wanted to thank you for updating this thing so regularly, your blog really helped me get through the deployment because you started posting right around the time he left and having your posts to look forward to made time to by a little quicker. =]

Susan said...

Mary Anne: give your husband my best, and tell him thank you. I have a cousin and a good friend deployed right now, and that seems tough enough!
And I second the praise of regular posting. I love being able to get a good snark-fix! Speaking of the other posts...I just reread #83, Stacey vs. the BSC (recapped May 9). It mentions how Stacey's new friends don't really mix with the BSC, and to illustrate she talks about Venn diagrams. Well, I went to a birthday dinner and the host started talking about Venn diagrams, too!

nhbsc said...

I must be pathetic....as a kid I fell hard for the "very special episode" books. Jessi's Secret Language was always my favorite.

Thanks for the blog!

EMaus said...

I think Danielle features in another book where she comes back and starts acting out really badly, peaking in her trying to driver her parents' car.

I don't think this book is so bad - none of the "dealing with issues" books will ever top the one about the abusive father, anyway!

Dawn said...

hhbsc, I am with you. I loved this book growing up and still do. It is my favorite Jessi book!

Alyson said...

emaus - there is a BSC book about an abusive father??? How did I miss that? Do you know the title?

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

Oh man, how could I have forgotten the abusive father book when I did my poll. I must have blocked it out of my mind.

alyson it is on of the last books in the series....#120, maybe? I think it is Claudia and the terrible secret, or Claudia and the terrible truth.

colleenn said...

I read somewhere that for some reason Ann M. Martin had always said that one issue she'd never address in the BSC books was child abuse, and then for some reason she decided to right near the end.

One of the last books I read was also an "issue" book. I'd started reading less and less around #70 but still picked up a few here and there, one of which was probably number 90-something, called I think Mary Anne and the Memory Garden or something. I think I picked it up because I'd wanted to read an Abby book just to see what was up with her. But it's about a random mentioned-only-once friend Mary Anne makes who dies in a car crash, and how SMS puts together a memory garden as a tribute to her.

One book Danielle comes back in is Mallory Pike, #1 Fan, which is a terrible book full of Mallory being a total brat. I highly recommend it. :)

taurah said...

The book about the abusive father is 117 - Claudia and the Terrible Truth, and even though it's quite stereotypical, I kind of liked it... maybe because I read it for the first time a couple months ago after buying it on a sale.. I stopped reading BSC books when I moved to Belgium, around number 23 I think. Most of the latter one just don't make any sense to me, even more so when it comes to the one character trait they each have and stick to...

MaybeSomeday said...

There was another "very special book" dealing with a racist family that only wanted the blond BSC members to baby-sit. I think it was a Claudia book, but I can't remember the title.

colleenn said...

maybesomeday - I remember that one! That's Keep Out Claudia! They are rude to Claudia and then don't even let Jessi through the front door.

nhbsc said...

Oh, I remember loving Keep Out, Claudia! Now I kind of laugh at the unrealistic approach to racism in America. In real life, the vast majority of racism is not that overt. But then subtlety was never a strong point for ANM and her ghostwriters ...:)

bibberly said...

We don't get paid to be club sponsors in the school district where I work. We also don't get paid for things like chaperoning the dances. I know for a fact that teachers aren't paid to be club sponsors in the district where I went to high school either. I don't know of anywhere that does pay club sponsors, although I suppose it is possible.
Hee hee, the first three letters of my word verification are AMM.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

bibberly I guess it is different everywhere, cause I know for a fact the teachers in my high school were paid to be club advisors, and I know people who are teachers now in other towns who get paid for it. This is in New Jersey.

Donica said...

Ack!! The ghostwriters screwed Charlotte's grade up.
The beginning it was nice and simple. She was seven and in second grade when we meet her , then she's in third grade.
When she's 8 she's in fourth grade. (She even SAYS So in #13)
SHE IS NOT DEMOTED BACK TO THIRD!

ack!

That always drove me nuts. I'll be calm now.

I always kind of liked this book because i'm a nerd like that... and because I was a cancer kid...so... yeah.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

donica does it actually say Charlotte is in fourth grade in book 13? I know it later books she was always 8 and in 3rd and it bothered me because she had skipped to 3rd when she was seven. I thought they just forgot they made her skip when they aged her....but if they had her in fourth and demoted her, that is just wrong.

I think they just invented Becca and then needed them in the same grade to be best friends. Lame.

Lauren said...

Man, I wish I could teach in a district where teachers get paid extra to sponsor clubs! I've taught in three school systems (all in NC) and none of them pay extra for clubs. Teachers who coach sports get an extra stipend, but you're out of luck if you're just the Drama Club/Key Club/Give-Kids-the-World Club sponsor.

I loved Mary Anne and the Memory Garden, but I wasn't much on all the "issue" books either. I always wondered why these clubs and things only lasted for one book, or if Becca and company stayed in their clubs/classes/whatever and we just never heard about it again.