I remember two things about this book. The first, is how the Pike kids all went out and tried to earn money for their parents, when Mr. Pike lost his job. I was probably younger than Mallory when I read it, and I still thought they were idiots for thinking baby-sitting money, or paper route money, or whatever, would be that much help to her parents.
The other thing is that there is this subplot about how Mallory is picked on in school because of the situation. Like, girls in the cafeteria sat around making fun of her for it. I know teenager girls can be bitchy, but I didn’t (and still don’t) think sixth-graders would use that is a reason to pick on someone. There are many, many other things that they could use as an excuse before that.
Mal’s dad gets laid off. They keep saying he got fired, but he actually gets laid off. When a hundred people are let go from the company for financial reasons, it is not the same is being fired.
But anyway, after he loses his job, the Pikes are all worried about what to do for money, and Mal decides to give all her baby-sitting money to her parents. She also encourages her siblings to earn money somehow, and to try to use less electricity. The BSC helps out by giving Mallory a regular month-long job for the Delanys (Max and Amanda), these rich snobs who live near Kristy. The Delanys have a pool, so their house is a popular one for neighborhood kids to hang out in. Unfortunately, most of these kids don’t actually like spending time with Max and Amanda. When the Delanys start to realize this, they get upset. But Mallory comes up with a plan, where they tell kids they can’t use the pool, then see if the friends come. Only one bitch-in-training doesn’t show up, so the Delanys figure out who their real friends are.
In the meantime, Mallory is getting made fun of in school about her dad. These students at SMS must be kinda lame if that is the only thing they can think of as an insult for Mal. Or for anyone, really. By the end, Mal stands up to them and tells her “friends” they suck, and decides her only true friends are the BSC. Oh, and her dad gets a new job, so there is a happy ending.
- This book takes place during the school year, but the kids swim in the pool all the time over a month long period. I want to know what month this is taking place in, that it is warm enough to swim so much.
- When Mallory and her siblings tell their parents they were worried about money, Mr. Pike is all, “You do know I was getting severance pay, right?” So the triplets get annoyed at Mal for telling them they could lose their house
- And really, why didn’t Mr. and Mrs. Pike tell the kids that?
- When Vanessa hears that her dad might be getting laid off, she is all “But Dad’s job is important. No one could fire someone who is important.” Well, is the company wants to save money, they are going to get rid of people making the most money.
- My company just laid off a bunch of people (thankfully not me), so this book was a little depressing.
- Apparently, Claudia thinks eleven is a hard age, because your parents can’t decide if you are a baby or not. I guess by thirteen they will decide you’re an adult?
- I must have known this subconsciously, but didn’t remember it: “Dibble” is short for Incredible.
- Speaking of the word dibble, Mallory uses it more times than you would think possible.
- Why does everyone say Mary Anne’s job is hard? She is responsible for the record book, but she doesn’t actually have to remember everyone’s schedule. She just writes it down. Even Claudia could do that.
- Mallory decides she has to study extra-hard so that one day she can get a scholarship to college. Her parents have eight kids, she’ll probably need one no matter what.
- Vanessa makes money by styling hair on the playground. And apparently makes a decent amount.
- Mrs. Pike starts temping when Mr. Pike loses his job, and tells Mal she might have to sit for free. I guess that two-sitter rule isn’t always enforced, huh?
- The Delanys have a rule that if a baby-sitter is there, the kids can only use the pool if one of the next-door-neighbors is home. How much good is that really going to be? Unless the neighbor is outside, they won’t be able to do something during an emergency.
- Stacey takes a job at the Delany’s and wears her bikini because she is watching them in the pool. That seems…unprofessional or something.
- Apparently, Mrs. Pike likes computers and knows a lot about them. Now, remembering this book was published in 1990, how much experience could she really have with them? She hadn’t been working since she had kids (which is 11 years), and they don’t have one in the house.
- So, Mallory comes home from school one day and her dad is on the couch watching TV. And her reaction is, “I hope he wasn’t watching all day. The electricity bill will be too high.”
- What’s the obsession with I Love Lucy? David Michael wants to play “job agency” because he saw it on an episode of I Love Lucy.