Tuesday, January 13, 2009

“Time to saddle up your horse and head back to the corral”…BSC # 54: Mallory and the Dream Horse

Memory Reaction

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.

Revisited Reaction

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.

High/Lowlights

  • 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?

xxx

16 comments:

emaus said...

This kind of shows, again, how much the writers have it in for Mallory. When the others do extra-curricular they almost always win (or at least come second or third) but, no, poor Mal gets 6th. And isn't allowed to make any friends, either.

Molly said...

emaus, Mallory did went that best fiction thing in a later book, so at least she has that.

As a (former) rider, this book bothers me for a number of reasons. Lucky you, you get to hear all about it ;)

- I had my first fall when I was Mal's age, give or take a year in either direction. Yeah, it was scary. A bee stung my horse, and I fell under him and got kicked. I was freaked right out, but after my instructor ascertained that I wasn't in mortal peril, she ordered me back on the horse. I can't imagine ANY instructor not insisting on that when the kid is obviously fine.

- Who the heck takes their kid to the hospital for something as silly as that? I mean, okay, it's minutely possible that she'd have severe internal bleeding she didn't realize or something, but...it's more likely that she'd get struck by lightning twice in quick succession immediately after falling. I mean, horses aren't THAT tall.

- What instructor puts a beginner (especially one who sucks as bad as Mallory) on a horse that bucks?

- Mallory of all people should know that very few horses are considered "white." Pax was almost certainly light gray.

- In none of her horse books do they mention falling off? They name-dropped The Saddle Club a bunch of times, and those girls fall off a lot. Mallory never realized that it was a possibility? Also, the more you ride, the less scary it gets. Yeah, the first time is scary. By the tenth time, it's just kind of annoying - and often really funny :)

- Sixth place ribbons are green. Fourth place ribbons are white. How hard is it to look THAT up? (Also, on the cover, Pax's ribbon is pink. I know it would be hard to make a white ribbon show up against him, but still.)

- A horse as great as Pax? Probably wouldn't be a lesson horse in Stoneybrook Ct. Unless he's really not that great and Mallory's just a dumbass who romanticizes horses.

- A little complaint - Mallory says that her instructor looks like she stepped off the cover of Horse and Rider. Except H&R is a western magazine.

- NO instructor I have EVER met would wear a full riding habit to a lesson. Neither would students. And why is the girl whose family owns horses taking a beginner's class? Unless she rides Western and is learning English.

Anonymous said...

Wow thank you for that molly lol. we get it..your a horse rider.

nikki said...

Wow Molly. I'm vacillating between being impressed and not so much about your comment.

Never read this BSC Book. I think is was juuuuust after my time. Sounds like I didn't miss out on much!

Rachel said...

Aww, come on guys, give Molly some respect. I'm a former rider too and little was more annoying to me than reading kids' books that got it wrong, and this one was one of the worst.

The worst part is, an hour long chat with a real rider or even having one of them glance at the manuscript would have eliminated 99% of the errors in here.

To those of us who rode, the junk in this book is like having a BSC book on softball...and then saying there are 12 players on a softball team, and that a game lasts for 15 innings. It's just basic errors but they really grate after a while.

Molly said...

...a site run by "BSC Snarker" can't take complaints about factual errors in the BSC?

well, I'll show myself out then.

Susan said...

Molly, the person who runs the site didn't say anything either way about your (very funny and relevant, I thought) points about errors in the book. Just two readers. Come on back, I like knowing how things work in the real world...not in Stoneybrook!

Anonymous said...

And someone who goes to a snark site can't take a little herself? C'mon Molly, you can be better than that! I little ribbing about how much you know about riding really gets you?

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

Molly - I really loved your post...I never rode, so I couldn't spot all the inaccuracies in the book. But I like having people add on to the stuff I missed. The more snark the better.

Anyway, please keep reading.

Anonymous said...

I think I just felt like Jessi did because I've always wanted to ride..See? BSC doesnt always get it wrong! Just most of the time

Anonymous said...

Very few horses are considered white?...but...in the book Pax is a "pure-white Arabian." I don't know much about horses but if they are going to make a big deal about his color, I would think that yes, he IS white, not light grey.

And this book wasn't written in the 80s. Very few of the books were written in the 80s, actually. The series started in 1986. So, the majority of these books are certainly 90s.

Anonymous said...

(I'm a different anon btw!). I too thought Molly's comments were really interesting, I would never have known half the stuff she validly pointed out.

Mara said...

I was obsessed with this book way back when, which makes no sense to me now because I'm pretty sure it was mainly behind what became my gigantic grudge against horse people in general. Of course, I guess I got over it, because I ride now. In jeans, mind you. Whoever wears a full riding habit, including gloves, to a group lesson needs their head examined.

emaus said...

Very few horses are considered white?...but...in the book Pax is a "pure-white Arabian."

I'm no horse expert, but my understanding is that horses that are white are called grey. Yes, even pure-white horses. It's just a weird equestrian thing.

Molly said...

emaus has it right - and you know, I have no freaking idea why that is! If the horse has black skin, he's grey. If he has pink skin, he's an albino and therefore considered "white." I think it has something to do with genetics, but...

oh, wikipedia, you have EVERYTHING:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_(horse)


And apologies for overreacting. I was in a crap mood to begin with - which, I know, one should never visit snark sites when feeling prickly.

Haids said...

I remember this one! It was so awkward it makes me cringe! I love how Mallory is instant BFF's with everyone she meets, so of COURSE she expects the same treatment from snobby rich kids taking horseback riding lessons! Ugh.