Tuesday, February 24, 2009

“But his job is important”……..BSC # 39: Poor Mallory!

Memory Reaction

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.

Revisited Reaction

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.


Kait W. said...

For kids to be able to swim during the school year in Connecticut, it'd have to be a very warm September (or August-September if it's not exactly a month) or else June. In May there's still a chance it could be 50 degrees out.

I love how these girls think their babysitting money will feed their families. I think that happens elsewhere with Stacey. Wouldn't it make more sense, though, for Mal to keep the money and use it for clothes or hot lunch or whatever things she's trying to cut back on?

Sadako said...

I always thought it was kind of weird to get paid to watch your own siblings. Did Mrs. Pike pay her even if it was just a situation like, "Running to the store, make sure the kids stay out of trouble"? Then again, Mal had so many of them, I could sort of see why.

And yeah, didn't they only get paid something like 3 dollars an hour, plus snack privileges?

Cari said...

I know in one early Super Special when the sitters are returning from a trip, the triplets are holding up a welcome back sign that was printed out. The exact line was something like, "Apparently their computer did graphics." Oh, the 80s.

nikki said...

I gotta say, allowing your kids to swim in the pool while only an 11 year old is there (with a next-door neighbor at home) is redonkulous. I babysat some kids who had a pool when I was 15 and 16, and those parents didn't let their kids swim with me there!

Which I totally understood.

Sada said...

That pool sounds like a death trap. A season-defying death trap.

Anonymous said...

Pity noone ever invited Karen over for a nice, long, permanent "swim" in the neighbours pool. Or Charlotte Johannsen, or Jamie Newton. Ooh, that's mean hey. But of course I don't really mean it!

I think I must have stopped reading after #36 or #37, cos I didn't actually know until now what "dibble" was supposed to mean.

Anonymous said...

Claudia could keep the record book, but nobody would be able to read it. "Kristee sofbul" and "Stacee Nu Yrk" and all.

Devika said...

Ann M. Martin's bio says that "I Love Lucy" is her fave show, which I guess explains the numerous references, although I still think it's kind of contrived.

zanne said...

I am most likely going to be laid off next month. I should read this book! Yeah, I agree that it is pretty ridiculous to think a few dollars from babysitting is going to help the family that much. If I get laid off, I am getting a severance package and I plan on sitting around on the couch watching tv for at least a week or so! Nothing wrong with that! ha.

SJSiff said...

"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."

Do you mean kids would pick on any other kid for lots of reasons, or that they would find other reasons just for Mallory?

Sadako said...

Well. Keep in mind, this is Mallory. The 8th graders didn't need much of an excuse to start calling her Spazz Girl after they did that project where the kids taught classes.

maria said...

Ann M. Martin's influence is so obvious in parts where the Babysitters and the kids all seem to be very interested in things like I Love Lucy and movies like the original Parent Trap.
Okay, no kid or teenager is really going to know about these shows and movies that old people watched.
Totally unrealistic.

Anonymous said...

It's really not that far-fetched. I knew about a lot of old tv shows/movies when I was their age.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

Susan - I sort of meant both...I think kids in middle school are often mean for the sake of being mean. Mallory is not exactly portrayed as cool, so I can see people being mean to her.

But I think they would found other reasons.

MsJess said...

I had a summer job working as a nanny and I had to watch kids in the pool but I was in college by that point and typically it was just a one on one with a kid wearing a life jacket.

You forgot to mention my favorite part of this book which was when the BSC prank call all the mean bitches that were rude to Mallory and they do all the classics.

Jordyn said...

I actually doubt Claudia could do Mary Anne's job for some reason. I mean, she can't even spell "little" correctly, how's she supposed to actually schedule things? (What IS her job anyway? Is it just to have plenty of candy around at all times? Because it sounds like a very wonderful job. I could probably handle that one.)

The Kitten Temp said...

If I'd written BSC the kids would talk about Star Trek all the time.
I feel that this would be cooler.
I remember this book very vividly because it was one of the ones we had with us when my family went to Hong Kong, and my sister and I both got the terrible, um, vomity-diarrhoea-from-not-realising-you-shouldn't-even-brush-your-teeth-with-the-tap-water, and although my sister and I were thirteen and eleven my mum read to us a lot. I don't know why we were so fond of Mallory at the time, but we had both Mallory and the Trouble with Twins and Poor Mallory.
I guess reading about Mallory is one way to feel that your own problems aren't so bad.
Oh, I can tie in a Star Trek reference by saying that there appears to be a 'Mallory Must Suffer' rule in the ghostwriters' office.

Anonymous said...

I've never been fond of Mallory's narrative style, and yes, her constant use of dibble was absolutely annoying in this book.
I am rather surprised the baby-sitter's were allowed to watch over kids swimming at the pool, even if the neighbor is right next door. Of course, I recall in a future book (Mary Anne to the rescue, book 107 or 109) that the neighbor just happens to slip inside his house for a minute when a kid almost drowns in the pool, so maybe they should make the neighbor come over?
And as for everyone stating Mary Anne's job is the most difficult, well, what jobs do the other people have? I think Mary Anne and Stacey actually do legitimate things every week (Kristy, saying "Order!" and being bossy isn't exactly a job).
And I think it's unusual to get paid to watch your own siblings. My brother never got paid for watching me. Come to think of it, we never got allowances or got paid for doing chores...
And is it totally hilarious that I didn't know what "I Love Lucy" was? I started reading the books when I was five, and never did figure out that "I Love Lucy" was a TV show until I was fifteen.

edkchestnut said...

I had this book and actually liked it for some bizarre reason. The overuse of "dibble" is incredibly annoying though it didn't bother me, then. Also, Claudia's job was to supply the meeting place and the phone and feed everyone. It says this in every chapter 2.

Haids said...

I remember at the end how the mom makes a comment about how much she appreciated the extra money from the kids. Are you fucking kidding me? My parents would NEVER accept money that we kids tried to give them, ever! What kind of snarky ass parents are the Pikes, anyway?!