The main thing I remember from this one is how Mallory gets invited to a party that a girl in her riding class is having…and she goes all by herself. I would never have had the nerve to go to a party for someone I barely knew, when I didn’t know anyone was going to be there. However, I can’t recall if I was impressed or horrified by her.
Mallory’s love of horses has led to her wanting her own horse to ride. Since, that will never happen to a girl with seven siblings, she settles for the next best thing: riding lessons at some stable near Stoneybrook. Mal and Jessi both ask their parents if they can sign up, but only the Pikes agree.
So, Mallory starts her classes and sees this white Arabian horse that she loves. She also awkwardly tries to make friends with her classmates, but they all blow her off. After her first lesson she calls Jessi all excited about how great they are, but Jessi is jealous so she kind of ignores Mal. This confuses Mallory, because she isn’t smart enough to figure out why her friend wouldn’t want to hear about all the fun she is missing.
After a couple lessons, Mal falls off her horse. But instead of getting back on, like the expression says, she goes home and cries and her parents take her to the doctor. After this, Mal is always really nervous at class, and feels awkward on the horse. She also gets invited to the party of someone in her class, but stands out like a sore thumb and doesn’t talk to anyone. Eventually Mal tells Jessi that she is miserable, Jessi tells Mal why she was mad, and they make up. Then Mallory has to ride in this horse show where she takes 6th out of 12th place. Her parents are excited, and offer to pay for more lessons, but Mal admits that she no longer wants to ride. She still totally loves reading about horses though.
Meanwhile, the younger Pike kids are putting on a talent show and recruiting kids from the neighborhood to be in it. It is about as lame as when the BSC does it, only they laugh at it (in a oh, isn’t it cute way).
Also, Nina Marshall suddenly has a “blankie” that she insists on carrying around with her. This makes it hard to make friends at her nursery school, because even little kids can be clique-ey. Finally, it rips apart in the dryer, and Nina freaks out. Fortunately, Dawn gets the wonderful idea to give Nina small pieces of the blanket to stick in her pocket.
- If Nina Marshall had always insisted on carrying her blanket with her, why have we never heard about it before? Wouldn’t it have been in the stupid BSC notebook they all have to read?
- Mallory and Jessi make this big deal out of how to ask their parents about riding lessons. Like, they script out what they will say, plan to do chores first, etc.
- Mal is really a crappy friend. She keeps babbling excitedly to Jessi, without even figuring out why Jessi wouldn’t want to hear about it.
- Nina Marshall had her first day at preschool, and Mrs. Marshall tells Jessi that Nina wouldn’t really talk about. But of course, Jessi gets Nina to open up. She’s a baby-sitter and obviously knows more about kids than a parent!
- I hate when they try and compare Jessi being black to stupid things like carrying a blanket around. Kids at preschool are picking on Nina because of her blanket, and Jessi is all, “I know what it is like to be picked on, people do that to me because I’m black.” There is a major difference between kids teasing each other and out and out racism.
- Mallory thinks she will automatically be friends with her classmates at riding school, and they all ignore her. She actually gives her phone number to all these people, and then is surprised they don’t call her. This includes two guys, and I am thinking they thought she was hitting on them and ran away scared.
- Mal’s parents take her to the hospital after she falls off her horse, and call their family doctor to meet them. Even in the eighties, would a family doctor show up at a hospital on a Saturday? The guy shows up in a golf outfit, so it is not like he was working.
- A girl in Mal’s riding class invites everyone to her birthday party, and Mal goes even though she doesn’t really know anyone and the other people in class already know each other. I have to give Mal credit, because I wouldn’t have done that in middle school – but then she stands around by the punch bowl all night, not talking to anyone.
- Mal doesn’t know what to wear, so she opts for conservative: “A brown-and-gold kilt, a matching gold sweater, and penny loafers.” Mal should give up this dream she had of being cool.
- The girl who invited Mal to the party doesn’t even remember her name. That hurts.
- Mal calls Jessi to blab about how “awful” the party was, and you can tell Jessi wants to slap her or something.
- When Jessi finally tells Mal why she is mad, Mallory can’t believe it came across like she was bragging. She usually isn’t that clueless is she? I think I figured it out, even as a kid.
- So, Mal talks about how there are six kids in her riding class for most of the book, which confused me because I remember it ending with her in 6th place – and Vanessa telling her that meant she was better than half the class and worse than half the class.
- During the show, Mallory does start saying there are twelve people in the class. It makes me feel good to know I wasn’t totally making things up.
- There is this part where Mal says that Charlotte and Becca refused to be part of the talent show after their experience with Little Miss Stoneybrook. But, um, Becca was not in the talent show. Only Charlotte. And why does the BSC keep being surprised about Charlotte and Becca declining to perform in something?