Monday, July 20, 2009

“Cooties, cooties, Mallory has the cooties”…..BSC # 69: Get Well Soon, Mallory!

Memory Reaction

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.

Revisited Reaction

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.


Sadako said...

If I were a senior citizen, I would so want toys. Especially super soakers.

Ashlee said...

I had mono (though here in Australia it gets called glandular fever), in my final year of high school. I missed 5 full weeks of school, then could only go back for a couple of days at a time for the next month. I don't ever remember being too weak to sit at the table though!
Oh, and the other *great* thing about mono is because your immune system is shot, you get everything else too. I scored tonsillitis, hepatitis, psoraisis, and some kind of other rash. Plus losing almost 2 pounds in a week and a half.
Yeah, it's AWESOME.

HelenB said...

Yeah, I got glange (aka mono) in my first year at uni... it really did drag on for months. I missed most of my end of year exams and didn't really get well again until after Christmas. I spent most of my time lying in bed watching DVDs and trying not to throw up :/

I never read this book, but it sounds pretty boring, even by BSC standards. I mean... the main plot is just Mal lying around feeling shitty? Riveting!

Happy said...

A classmate if mine in high school had mono and she missed a lot if junior year but somehow manager to pass. But then senior year she got sick again and was out for several months. She didn't get to graduate with the rest of us! I remember when she told me she had mono my first thought was "Mallory has mono!"

Also thanks for recapping this book. I have all the ones before and after so rereading them now there is a lot about Mallory being super tired and not working - I remembered she had mono but didn't remember the rest.

MsJess said...

Man I really would love for there to be a book where Mallory wasn't AMM's butt monkey.

Janet said...

I had mono my first year of college. I had it during Christmas break, so I had to get special permission to go back to school a week late. It wasn't as bad at Mallory's case, I just felt pretty crappy and I wasn't allowed to exercise because I could damage my spleen.

In other fun news, in 7th grade, we had to do reports on communicable diseases. I picked mono, and I think I was the only kid who had heard of it. Thanks, BSC!

Emily said...

I totally think that the rest of the Pikes should have gone to New York without Mallory. Not because I hate her or anything...I just don't think the rest of them should have had to miss out on the parade because Mallory was sick.

HelenB said...

MsJess - I would pay good money to read a book wherein Mal is totally awesome and has awesome things happen to her. Maybe "Mallory and the Nobel Prize for Literature", or something.

Anonymous said...

I also remember Vanessa's explanation of different types of waving. I may or may not have practiced them.

When I got mono my senior year of high school, I totally thought of Mallory and wished I could find my old BSC books so that I read this one again.

Anonymous said...

Or Mallory Pike, Karmic Supersitter.

Heh, I the only other person here who got a soundclip fo Xander in their saying "How come I always have to eat the bugs and get the funny syphilis?"

Yankees Chick said...

Emily, I 100% agree! Why couldn't the rest of the fam go to NYC? Certainly one of the other BSC-ers would have let Mal hang at their house for the day (Jessi? BFF? Hello?). Plus, they always say that NYC is only a couple hours by train, they easily could have made it a one-night trip and barely been gone for 24 hours. It seems beyond unfair on the part of Mal's parents, especially considering how excited the rest of the kids were.

Also I really do appreciate all the "community service" type of stuff the BSC tries to do - its a great lesson, great example, blah blah blah - but ENOUGH ALREADY, ANM! We get it! They're freakin' heroes, alright, we get it. Don't they ever wish they had some sit-at-home-and-veg-out time... ya know, like a NORMAL 11/13-yr old?? Sheesh!

Amy Lynn said...

... So I tried out those different types of waves just now when I was reading the summary. >_>

nikki said...

I also had a pretty severe mono the summer between freshman and sophomore years in college. I managed to make it to my finals that May, but barely. Then I missed a month of working at the bookstore before going back on a part time basis. Needless to say, I was fricking POOR for the start of my Sophomore year.

But yeah, once my fever broke, I had no problems sitting at the table for dinner.

Anne said...

I had mono when I was working on my Master's degree... thankfully during a semester when I was taking 3 research classes, so I didn't have to miss much, but I scrambled like mad to do my 40-page papers.

I was out for 6 weeks, and even after that I would get really tired when I would do too much. And the first 3 weeks I did nothing but sleep, and didn't go downstairs.

I remember my bf brought Sim City over for me, and I was too tired to play, because it involved sitting up, so I can sympathize with Mal...

MsJess said...

HelenB - Yeah you have to hope that she could reall make a go of it as a writer.

Incidentally if you google Mallory Pike you get hilarious emo fanfic about her, a twitter acount (comedic gold, for sure) and also a picture of one of the actresses who played Mal (I think in the tv show) all grown up and she's quite stunning, albiet with straight hair and no glasses.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

Mallory actually told her parents they should still go to NY and she'd stay alone, but they refused. They wanted the family to spend the holiday together.

I guess there is one book where Mal gets that award for a story she writes. But that is just one part, the main story is about how annoying her siblings are.

Unknown said...

I'm super belated on this, but it really depends on your case, your immune system before hand, etc. I had mono last year, I was out of work for over a month and only worked half-days for the next two weeks after that and then spent a further two weeks limited to lifting less than twenty pounds (I work a stocking job at Walmart). during the height of the mono, the third and fourth weeks, I barely had energy to sit up in bed, much less at a table, and if it had been over Thanksgiving instead of in the dead of January for me, I probably would not have bothered with the holiday at all. Seeing as I was sleeping between fifteen and twenty hours a day.

Blogger Beware Lover said...

"BSC #69"

Heh. 69.

elektra said...

One of my cousins had mono and when they didn't know what it was, my aunt saw leukemia as a possibility.

RilianSharp said...

This book is why I knew "mononucleosis" in a whizquiz competition in 8th grade.