Molly McGinty Has a Really Bad Day

Molly McGinty Has a Really Good Day

In this book by Gary Paulsen, Molly, a sixth grader, has a seemingly bad day.  She’s lost her notebook, which she cannot live without because it keeps her life in order; her eccentric grandmother is coming to school with her; she gets a black eye before school; etc.  Molly’s grandmother is very popular and wins over everyone at school, much to Molly’s horror.  She would must rather have her head buried in her lost notebook and let school continue the way it usually does where she is basically left alone except for the Marys, her three closest friends.

Molly endures a lot during her day, so it’s not hard to see why she’d be in a bad mood.  BUT she never started with a good one.  She sees the negative in everything.  She knows her grandmother’s coming to school is going to be a disaster, she doesn’t want to get to know the detention kids her grandmother befriends, and she would rather learn about the US government than about how government and baseball compare.  Eventually, though, after speaking with her grandmother, she quickly (perhaps too quickly?) realizes her bad day was actually really good.  We’re left assuming Molly will be less uptight from now on.

You may have done a double take when you saw the author was Gary Paulsen.  I did.  He has a forward at the beginning of the book explaining that most of his books have had boys as main characters, but since half of all stories come from girls, this story is about a girl.  Because this note was at the beginning, I couldn’t help but look for instances where Molly’s perspective didn’t seem very girl-like.  I would have prefered the note at the end, where it wouldn’t have distracted me from the story.

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