This book is where I learned what Mono is. In fact, it is where I learned it existed. As a result, every time I was over-tired in high school I thought I had mono (although I never actually did have it). It also made me think that mono was some horrible disease. And, not that it is a great one, but I don’t think it was as bad as it was portrayed in this book. At least, not typically. No one I actually knew had as bad a case as Mallory. I remember her not being able to baby-sit for multiple books…which must have been months BSC time. The few people I knew who had it missed much less school.
Mallory has been sick a lot and has been extremely tired, and she finds out that she has mono. She starts to feel a little better, but the doctor tells her that she has a serious case, which may drag on for months. She is out of school for weeks, and is barely allowed to get out of bed. I think she only leaves the house twice in the whole book….both times to go to the doctor.
Her parents tell her that even when she goes back to school, she won’t be allowed to participate in extra activities like archery or baby-sitting. Mallory tells Kristy she has to “drop out” of the club. I am not sure why they have to be so official about it, but I guess it is in character. Even though this is right after Dawn went to California, the other girls decide not to “replace” Mallory.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t make Mallory feel better, since the BSC is in the middle of planning a Thanksgiving charity event where they bring kids to visit the senior citizen home. So, when they ask Mallory to help out by making phone calls from home, she blows it off. She is hoping that if she is rude enough, they will replace her. But, the BSC doesn’t let her get away with it. Then, after the senior event, recreate it to show Mallory how much they love her.
Meanwhile, the Pikes were supposed to go to New York City for Thanksgiving to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. But since Mal is still sick, the whole family can’t go. Her siblings are pissed about it, but by the end don’t seem to mind. Mainly because they didn’t see the relatives who invited them on TV (meaning they didn’t miss their own shot at being on TV).
- This book takes place between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Which makes it yet another Halloween that the BSC celebrates.
- I actually remember this part really well. Vanessa is practicing her “waves” for the parade and explains that there are three types, “the windshield wiper,” “screwing in the light bulb,” and “the flap.” I think I may have practiced the different “types” myself when I first read it.
- Mal’s doctor tells her she might have “mononucleosis.” I know that is the official name, but does any one really call it that? Even doctors? (At least when they are talking to kids).
- Awe, I feel bad for Mallory. Her brothers keep teasing her for having the “kissing disease” and she is worried kids at school will think she kissed Ben Hobart. It is pretty normal for eleven, but at the same time, I think the whole exchange sums up everything about Mal’s character.
- This book is short on outfits, but we do get to hear about Mal’s pajamas: “They’re made of white flannel with tiny pink rosebuds printed all over them, and pink lace at the collar and cuff.”
- The BSC actually changes Mallory’s status to “honorary member” since she isn’t allowed to sit. It is even changed on the back of the book where they list the girls names – I think it stays like that for multiple books. It just seems so unnecessary. Would it be SUCH a big deal to keep calling her a “Junior Officer”? It is not like she has to act as president or anything.
- So, the BSC is doing this charity thing for a senior citizen home. It seems…. convoluted. They raise money to put baskets together as gifts, so they ask for sponsors. But they don’t make enough money, so the kids all promise their parents they’ll do chores in order to get the extra money. Then on top of this, they set up some kind of carnival for the senior citizens to give them something to do.
- Mrs. Pike’s cousin is the one who gets them tickets to the Thanksgiving parade. Now, these are tickets to bleacher seats. Now, I can see someone getting a few extra tickets. But getting ten tickets to just handover to the Pikes and all their bratty kids?
- When they make baskets to give to the senior citizens, the BSC encourages the kids to pick out toys as gifts. I understanding the thinking, and the wanting to do something different, but it also seems a little…. insensitive.
- I know people eat dinner early on Thanksgiving, but the Pikes eat really early. They eat their appetizers (stuffed mushrooms and vegetables and dip) while watching the parade. Which starts at about 9:00 am on the east coast. Not only is that early…but how early did Mrs. Pike wake up to have things done that early? Maybe my family is the weird one, but it seems unrealistic.
- On Thanksgiving, the BSC stops by the Pikes to visit Mallory. Now, this is nice of them, but I wonder how realistic it is that all of them were allowed. I mean, when I was a kid we went to my grandmothers for the day…and it was not in town. Are we supposed to believe that none of these girls had plans like that?
- So, we do have one regular outfit, another Mallory one: “A blue velvet skirt with a matching bolero jacket and a white silk blouse.” Not as fun as a Claudia one, but not as embarrassing either.
- Mal’s parents almost make her eat dinner on the couch because she is too weak to sit up at the table. Okay…. seriously? It is not like she would be running a marathon, she would be sitting at a table eating dinner. How much energy could that take? I mean, this is almost four weeks after she was diagnosed. Is she really so sick that after all that time, she can’t even sit up at a table?
- Dawn calls from California on Thanksgiving, and says how it doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving there because it is seventy degrees. But I distinctly remember her complaining about seventy-degree weather when she was back in Connecticut. There is just no pleasing that girl.
- This book is actually kind of boring, because we get everything second hand. Mallory lies to Jessi and Claud about not doing work for the carnival/charity/thing to get them mad at her. But we don’t see them fight. We just hear them tell Mal she made them fight. It is sort of lame…the fights between the girls are always the most fun.