By Ann M. Martin. Published June 1988.
|Nice bitch-face, Claud|
Y’all, I love Mallory. There’s just something about her dorky, underdog self that my heart just loves. I’m firmly in the “Ann hates Mal” camp.
So. The BSC has asked Mallory to come to a meeting. She is totes nervous. But she gets distracted from her nervousness at school, because there’s a new girl. And omg, she’s black. There are no other black kids in their grade, and only about six in the whole school. That’s Connecticut, though. I don’t think I knew a black person the whole time I lived there. I did know a girl from Peru. And another from Poland. Catholic school was very multi-cultural.
The new girl’s name is Jessica Ramsey. And Mal decides she needs Jessica in her life. You see, poor Mal has never had a best friend before. Everyone is pretty much taken. So she’s just waited for a new kid. She keeps an eye out for her the whole day. At lunch, Mal sits with some girls she’s friendly with. But they turn out to be racist bitches, making fun of Jessica. I can see why you’re not BFF’s with the assholes.
They do have a couple of classes together, but Mal doesn’t talk to her. She starts getting nervous about the meeting again.
It’s pretty awkward at the meeting, with Mal there in Stacey’s place. But she gets to see how the club runs, and sets up a trial job with Claudia at the Perkins’. And then she gets to brag on herself, telling them how she got to watch six of her brothers and sisters that weekend, when Nicky broke his finger and had to go to the hospital. But instead of being impressed, the girls pretty much blame Mal for letting Nicky’s finger get broken. It’s super unfair. And Kristy decides they need to give Mal a formal test the next day.
She leaves way too early the next day, so she decides she’ll go be a creeper. Mary Anne had said she saw a black family moving into Stacey’s old house. Mal figures this must be the elusive Jessica’s family. And she turns out to be right. Jessica is out in the front yard with her little brother and sister. Mal actually goes up and talks to her. She says everyone calls her Jessi. The girls bond over their love of horses, books, and horse books in particular.
Then it’s time for her test. It’s ridiculous y’all. They ask her absurd questions, like what’s the difference between creeping and crawling. I’ve never even heard creeping used in this context. And then they have her draw the digestive system, which of course she gets wrong. Kristy says they’ll discuss the results at the next meeting after her trial job.
So the third Perfect Perkins has been born, Laura, but she’s not home from the hospital yet. Myriah and Gabbie are very excited, though. Mallory doesn’t do that well. She spills, breaks glasses, and lets the dog in when she’s not supposed to. She says it’s because Claudia makes her nervous.
At the next meeting, Kristy tells her flat-out that she flunked the test, and Claudia gives her a three out of ten on the job. They say she’ll have to take another test to get in the club. Mallory gets mad and leaves.
Mallory mopes all weekend and at school on Monday, until she runs into Jessi, who is also moping, because she doesn’t fit in. The girls cheer each other up, and they come up with the idea to start their own baby-sitting club.
They have their first planning session at Mal’s that afternoon. They decide to call themselves Kids Incorporated.
This is the only Kids Incorporated for me:
Shit yeah. Fergie before she was Fergie.
Anyway, other than the name, they run just like the BSC. And they can only sit afternoons and weekends, and they’re going to sit together. But they get the first job with Mrs. Pike.
Dawn is sitting for the Barretts when she sees the girls sitting for the Pikes. And she sees one of their fliers at the Barrett’s. She goes crying to Kristy right away. I don’t get why they’re so surprised Mrs. Pike would use her own daughter. Of course she would.
Kids Incorporated has their second meeting. Jessi’s mom calls and sets up a job for them. Then Kristy calls, pretty much just to harass them and call them copy-cats, which Mal admits they kind of are.
The job at the Ramsey’s goes fine. Jessi and Mal talk about how the Ramseys still aren’t being accepted. But then Charlotte comes over to make friends with Becca, and to invite their family over for dinner. So yay for the Johanssens.
Back at BSC headquarters, the girls are having a big problem with being too busy. They start remembering all of Mallory’s good points, and they realize they were maybe unfair to her. They didn’t even know the answers to the test before they looked them up. So they call Mal up to give her another chance. Mal says she’ll only come if they invite Jessi, too. Kristy invites them both to the next meeting.
This meeting goes a lot better. The girls are all happy to meet Jessi. But she points out a possible problem. She worries that families won’t want her to sit for them because she’s black. The girls consider this, but decide they don’t want to sit for anybody like that themselves. Suck it, racists. They do want each of the girls to go on a trial job, so they get those set up.
Mallory is with Claudia again, this time at the Newton’s. But this time Claudia stays totally out of her way, and Mallory does an excellent job. Claudia welcomes her to the club, and she just knows Jessi will have passed, as well.
o When did it go from Mallory having brown hair to red hair? Damn it, now I’ll have to pay attention to Chapter Two’s.
o I know I don’t usually do clothes here (others have already done that better) but here’s Mallory’s outfit for her first meeting: a red jumper with Mallory across the front, a short-sleeved white blouse, and white tights with little red hearts all over them. Mallory, you’re adorable, seriously. Never change.
o Gah, again: “…and the club members earn pretty much money.” What is the fucking deal with that? Has anyone ever heard that phrase before, outside of these books?