Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book Review: Poor Mallory

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Poor Mallory (Baby-Sitters Club #39)

Author: Ann M. Martin

Date: 1990

Publisher: Apple / Scholastic

ISBN: 0-590-73451-2

Length: 142 pages

Quote: “It’s bad enough to lose your job. But it’s especially bad when you have eight kids, a wife—and a hamster—to support.”

At eleven, Mallory Pike may not really know what her laid-off father is going through, but she’s learned to express empathy. She even organizes her seven younger siblings into a money-saving club (money-earning, for the other middle schoolers). She’s just the nicest, sweetest, most supportive daughter a suddenly unemployed parent could hope for.

So her first reward is that her very good friend Kristy, president of the Baby-Sitters Club and stepdaughter of the millionnaire, sets Mallory up for a new, regular baby-sitting job with some of the richest brats in the richest neighborhood in Stoneybrook, Connecticut. She’s constantly reminded of how much her mostly lovable siblings would appreciate the toys the brats don’t seem to appreciate.

And then Mallory’s next reward is that some of her schoolmates (the type who’ve always resented the precocious big-sister cleverness that’s earned the respect of the thirteen-year-olds in the Baby-Sitters Club) start making snide remarks in the cafeteria about her father having been fired.

Even her siblings’ schoolmates start getting teased at school. If there’s anything sixth grade girls recognize as justification for violence, at this difficult time in life when so many girls feel that sanctimonious self-righteousness is the way to convince others that they’re grown up, picking on their little sisters has to be that thing.

Life is not fair…even in the Baby-Sitters Club world, the Enchanted Planet of Nice where Stoneybrook seems to be located. Only in the BSC world would an actual child react to this the way Mallory does: by acting nicer than ever, empathizing with the most poisonous little pill she baby-sits and helping the rich brat find out who her real friends are.

Anyway, in the BSC world a happy ending is guaranteed. Mr. Pike will find another job before his severance pay runs out, and the Pike kids will get to lord it over the school “friends” who’ve tortured them with the idea that he wouldn’t, and everyone will live nicely ever after. The real suspense in any BSC story is finding out exactly how the Baby-Sitters will solve a baby-sitting problem so I don’t feel that reassuring everyone on this point spoils the story.

If you like stories where profoundly nice characters get the happy endings they deserve, you’ll love Poor Mallory. It's a Fair Trade Book, as are all the other BSC books; from your $5 per book + $5 per package we'll send $1 per book to Martin or a charity of her choice, and you can probably fit eight BSC books into the package for that $5. Payment may be sent to either address at the bottom of the screen.