June 17, 2014

SVT #10, One of the Gang: I Don’t Think These People Know What a Disability Is

Posted in books tagged , , , at 8:20 pm by Jenn

Apparently having a heart condition ages you, because Pamela looks 30

Apparently having a heart condition ages you, because Pamela looks 30

Summary: Steven thinks he has ESP, or at least has been telling people he does, and the twins are fed up. First they pretend that he really is psychic, then plan to scare him by telling him that some people with ESP see spirits. One night, Jessica climbs a ladder outside Steven’s window and pretends to be a ghost. But Steven’s reaction makes her fall, and she hurts her ankle. This means a few weeks of Jessica hobbling around on crutches and complaining about being in pain while enjoying the attention everyone gives her.

Jessica has been picked to help organize SVMS’s Mini Olympics, in which the fifth and sixth graders compete in various sports activities. Jessica takes this honor very seriously, which makes me respect her a tiny bit. I mean, when else has Jess ever shown any kind of responsibility? Lila’s also on the planning committee, and she and Jessica are getting competitive; she thinks Jessica’s going to add in more competitions that she could win. When Jess hurts her ankle, we get what’s known as irony – she can no longer compete in the Mini Olympics.

Elizabeth has befriended Pamela, a new girl at SVMS who transferred from a school for “special” kids. I’m not sure why Pamela needed to go to a “special” school, though, since she doesn’t really have any physical disabilities. She has a heart condition that keeps her from being very active, but it’s not like she uses a wheelchair or needs help to get through her day. Anyway, Pamela’s parents aren’t sure she should be attending a “regular” school with kids and teachers who don’t understand what a special little snowflake she is. (Seriously, they act like she’s dying. She is less disabled than Jessica currently is.)

Liz wants Jessica to make some accommodations so Pamela and other less-than-athletic kids can have a fair chance in the Mini Olympics. Jessica’s like, “Sports. These are sports we’re doing. Take that weak crap out of here.” But after she gets hurt, she starts to see how hard it is for people who have physical limitations. Lila takes advantage of Jess’ injury to try to make it seem like she’s disabled and can’t do as much planning for the Mini Olympics. This allows Lila to take over and make some changes she wants.

But Liz’s campaign to make the Mini Olympics less focused on physical activities rubs off on Jessica, who especially likes the idea of getting credit for organizing events that everyone can participate in. Plus, if the events are less physical, Jess herself can compete. Elizabeth also takes her cause to Pamela, who’s getting more and more distressed about not fitting in at SVMS and possibly having to go back to her old school. Liz wants her to get involved with the Mini Olympics to show her parents that she’s fitting in, and to help the committee come up with ideas for less physical events.

Jessica’s ideas for the new, improved Mini Olympics are so popular that the teachers want to give her an award for helping out the disabled. Yeah, that’s right. Lila freaks out. The day goes really well, with a bunch of activities that you would probably do at summer camp. It sounds like a lot more fun than what they’d originally planned. Jessica rigs it so she gets to participate in Crutch Croquet, since her weeks on crutches give her an advantage. Pamela wins a wheelchair race and secures a victory for her and Jessica’s team. Plus, her parents see how well she’s doing at school and let her stay at SVMS. Happy endings for everyone, as usual, and Pamela is barely mentioned again, now that she’s served her purpose.

Thoughts: Pamela’s father pushes her to get involved in school activities so she can make friends, but when she gets involved, he says she’s overexerting herself. Make up your mind, old man.

I read these books multiple times when I was a kid but I didn’t remember that Pamela and the often-mentioned Denny Jacobson were siblings.

A bed-making race might be the lamest thing I’ve ever heard. Didn’t they do one in a BSC book, too? You know that was Kristy’s idea.

On the other hand, an egg-in-spoon race while walking through water is pretty clever. And pineapple bowling sounds hilarious.

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