Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Whenever anyone caught a mouse in a trap, I felt sad, like it might be Stuart Little." BSC #80: Mallory Pike, #1 Fan (1994)

So last week was finals, and I was too busy writing papers (and tearing my hair out) to sit down and pay attention to much of anything. So this week, you get two Mals for the price of one, lucky you! However, I decided to read two of the doofiest Mallory books back to back, so unlucky me.

I've been making an attempt to read one books every month that I have yet to read. Some of these are going to be easier than others. For example, I have three Claudia books waiting on my shelf I've never read, but there's only one Mary Anne I've never read, so I'm hoping to get ahold of it. This is the Mallory I have not read yet for this month. And I never read it because I could just tell how much Mal was going to piss me off.

So Mallory has to do a project for school about a career she might like to have in the future. She decides to write a play for child actors and compare her experiences writing it to that of an author she enjoys--who just happens to live in Stoneybrook! Wow! What a coincidence! Mal somehow decides that authors can only write exactly what they know, so the author--Henrietta Hayes--must have lived the life of the character in her books, and Mal's play must be about her real life. But her play is unbelievably bitchy toward her siblings, and after she blows up at Henrietta Hayes, she learns that should write about what's real, but that doesn't mean you have to be autobiographical. Of course, she gets an A+ on her project and everyone likes the final version of the play.

Interesting tidbits

Oooh, the very second page mentions the time Mal met her favorite author, as mentioned in SS #11. And page five mentions #47! Let's see how many references to other books they can throw into one chapter. (Actually, that's it.)

Mistake! Mal says Claire is four.

Oh, Claudia. Time for some spelling: elumantiry, skhool, anchint, lerned, fuw, and aboot (is she Canadian?) She also uses two for too and grate for great.

Here's what I don't get. Why does Mallory think that most writing is autobiographical? Hasn't she ever read works where a male writer uses a female voice? Or read very different books by the same author? Or historical fiction? I know authors always put a little bit of themselves into everything they write, but I never made any kind of delusion that the authors had lived everything they write.

Also, how does Claudia know the word autobiographical?

Heh. The author Mal wants to interview for her project keeps sending her form letters. I don't even think she reads her fan mail at all, despite the fact that she later says she "gets to it eventually.") (I'm still reading the Alice books I mentioned before, and Alice got a letter from an author that basically said, "I'm glad you like my book, but this letter sounds like someone forced you to write it.")

Interestingly, Mal is reading a series of books by Henrietta Hayes with a main character named Alice in it, and she gets into the same types of scrapes that Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice does.

Mal tells her mother she's going to meet a complete stranger, and her mom doesn't even blink. What if Henrietta Hayes were a child molester, or senile, or what have you?

On the same theme, why would Henrietta Hayes let Mal into her house? She has no idea who she is. are such a dork. Remember back in SS#15 when she wrote a story about Mariel who lives in Stoneyfield? Her characters in her play are even lamer this time. The main character is named Valery Spike, and she has siblings named Myron, Atlas, Gordon, Ranessa, Ricky, Margarita and Delaware. Plus, she's a total martyr who does all the work for her parents, because that's how Mal sees her life. (Later, when Haley calls her on the family resemblence, she changes Ranessa to Jill.)

Mallory discovers that Henrietta Hayes had a rough life: her whole family died when she was young, she was a foster child, her marriage ended in a horrible divorce, and she lost her daughter to a hit-and-run driver. Mal is completely outraged that she doesn't have a house full of brothers and a set of loving parents like the character in her Alice Anderson books. She then calls the books lies.

This makes me wonder if AMM didn't get this kind of commentary from readers sometimes....

Kristy writes a fairly bitchy notebook entry regarding Mal's play. It's basically about how Mal made her bed and has to lie in it, because her siblings found out about the play. Vanessa claims Mallory is "deflaming" their characters, and the Pikes all threaten to picket the play.

This is actually pretty funny. Mal's sibs picket her bedroom instead, holding signs. Claire's is the best: she drew a picture of Mallory and put a red circle with a slash through it. When Mal opens the door, she yells, "Mallorybusters!"

When Mal changes the play, she makes her brothers and sisters initial off that they approve. Margo refuses to initial until Mal makes her Margo character's name Melissa. (Nicky's character ends up being called Ed, which Nicky thought was "the coolest name a guy could have.")

When Mal gives the actors the rewritten play, they only have two more rehearsals to learn it. The kids are all eight and nine. I can't imagine that would go well. Don't they usually give young actors like that a couple months to learn lines and blocking?

Mal says if that if she knew Matt Braddock would be at the play, she would have arranged for a sign language interpreter. Uh, Mal? Haley's in the play. Of course Matt is in the audience! (His mother interprets for him.)

GAG. Henrietta thanks Mal on the acknowledgement page of her book about Alice Anderson's family reunion.

Humorous. The book ends with Mal writing the first piece of a "book" about Valery. Here's the line that made me laugh: "Valery tended to be a complainer..." Truer words were never spoken.

I was trying to think of one good thing about this book, and I think I found it: Karen isn't in it.

No new characters or outfits in this sucker. Blecccccchhhhh!

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