Jun 21

Look's like Mary Lou's exorcism went wellClick for larger image

Look's like Mary Lou's exorcism went wellClick for larger image

Ryan Comments: Front and back of this excellence.

Published 1981

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 3.43 out of 10)

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26 Responses to “Mary Lou at the Chalet School”

  1. Cornelius Says:

    The rest of the year, Santa smacked children over the head with sticks.

  2. fred Says:

    This cover gives me extreme Wicker Man vibes.

  3. A. R. Yngve Says:

    Was this book part of the 1980s “Satanic Panic”? Because it sure looks like it.

  4. Tor Mented Says:

    It’s a good thing the toboggan run was both sharp and keen. Imagine if it’s keen and dull.

  5. GSS ex-noob Says:

    Pretty sure this isn’t SF, but its sheer WTFery qualifies it for GSS.

    Is that Mary Lou being restrained by devil woman and St. Nick? Did she require restraint after her toboggan accident? Terrible head injury, I’m guessing, but you’d think they’d take her off the mountain — there can’t be many neurologist at a costumed chalet.

    Or was she, in fact, actually dead and has become some unholy revenant, torn between evil and good? Never mind the stick, Bishop Claus, make with the holy water! Get an old priest and a young priest and maybe a midget psychic.

    And what kind of name is “Emerence”? Did she hit Mary Lou on purpose, and is she the one in the devil suit?

  6. B. Chiclitz Says:

    This is the kind of cover that sort of makes me wish I still dabbled in psychedelics. Their faces are totally acid trip, able to trigger a full hour of sharp, keen laughter, enhanced by meditating on the name “Emerence.”

  7. Tat Wood Says:

    @GSS ex-noob: these books were the bain of my life, as the sixty or so Girls’ School books (plus the equally-interminable Enid Blyton ones) filled the school library in the 70s to the exclusion of anything anyone would want to read. This one is #34 in the series, from 1956. It wasn’t realistic then, either.
    I suspect that my teachers used them as anti-boarding-school propaganda (I was at a mixed Comprehensive, which is why I understand science and other languages and had spoken to girls before my thirties). Even girls who read ‘Bunty’ comic found them insufferable. I suspect Boris Johnson loves them.

  8. fred Says:


  9. Bruce A Munro Says:

    Mary Lou dies at least once in every book in the series but is aways brought back by her supernatural tormenters.

    “Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it” – Mephistopheles, “Dr. Faustus at the Chalet School.”

  10. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Tat: Eeesh. My school never got the endless series-type books, because that was trash that taxpayers shouldn’t be buying; the kids were supposed to buy their own Generic Extruded Juvenile Product. Closest to this was the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, which at least had mysteries and were rewritten periodically to keep them current and weren’t in the library once you got past age 12.

    @Bruce: GSS!

  11. Kendall Says:

    “. . . and then the men in white coats took her away to the loony bin. They were never sure why she kept asking Santa Claus to get rid of the Evil Elf. ‘Santa doesn’t exist, Mary Lou!’ they kept telling her.”

  12. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Kendall: Exactly. That head injury from the accident really did a number on Mary Lou’s brain. Notice how her hair’s all unkempt and there’s stains on her dress, too. Poor Mary Lou is going to need a lot of help… but she ain’t gonna get it in 1956.

    “The Insane Asylum of the Chalet School” was the least popular of the series. Kids were quite upset about the shock treatment.

  13. Hammy Says:

    Hello, Mary-Lou, goodbye…sanity?

  14. JJYoyo Says:

    @ Tat Wood: well fwiw I went to a non-mixed school and had to learn quite a bit of science as well as 2 extra languages. I have not yet spoken to a girl, though.
    I doubt Boris Johnson likes these books because that presupposes reading. Having perused his book on London I can confirm he does not write.
    @Bruce M: your comment made me think of this as a 1950s version of South Park: “Oh my God – they killed Kenny!” “You bastards!”

    @GSSxN: wouldn’t that be a whole separate Chalet Insane Asylum” series?

    I swear when I first saw this on my phone, the small picture made Mary-Lou’s hair look like a crown of thorns. That would make Santa into Pontius Pilate and the child on the left as Beelzebub. I thought I was looking at a Heidi version of the Last Temptation of Christ! And they were all *smiling*?

  15. Bruce A Munro Says:

    “And they were all *smiling*?”

    JJYoyo – Mary-Lou is looking forward to saving all mankind. [1]

    [1] Not “all humanity?” Not with the vintage of this book series!

  16. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @JJYoyo: I like your Biblical interpretation.

    “The Last Temptation of Mary Lou”.

    Which also makes sense considering the old trope about people in insane asylums thinking they’re Jesus..(Emerance is Beelzebub or maybe Judas.)

    There WAS going to be a whole spin-off series about the loony bin, but like I said, the first one caused such an uproar the publisher axed it.

    I wonder now, is “Chalet School” just a euphemism for asylum, and Santa and the devil are also delusional patients? Is there a kid dressed like Napoleon just out of frame?

    @Hammy: GSS!

  17. Emster Says:

    Yikes, I’ve never seen those before… part of a completely conservative 50’s childhood??? If not for Beverly Cleary’s bratty Ramona and a stack of Asterix and TinTin books, I probably would have spent more time jumping in cow pies and throwing clods of dirt and my brother than becoming a library nerd.

  18. Ryan Says:

    From my brief perusal in the Sedona bookstore where my wife handed this copy to me, it seems like this was a post-war Billy Bunter-type of book, with fewer descriptions of unsavory personal habits.

  19. Lars of Mars Says:

    Is that Sarah Jane Smith making a cameo appearance on the back cover?

  20. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Lars: Looks kind of like, but I think it’s Mary-Lou screaming at her music teacher.

    Dunno if it was before or after her head injury.

  21. Lars of Mars Says:

    Another awful cover on this site has a link to the Wikipedia article on Doctor Who and the Pescatons:
    Sarah Jane Smith on that album cover looks very similar to the arguing lady on the back cover here. Unknown Artist with a limited range for drawing faces?

  22. GSS ex-noob Says:

    I’ve sent in a cover which has plenty of things for us to make fun of. Guess what publisher!

  23. Lars of Mars Says:

    Sounds like “Brain”, but with a piece missing?

  24. Tat Wood Says:

    @Lars (21): so is the white-bearded Archimandrite singing ‘Hello Dolly’ like Tom Baker?

  25. Lars of Mars Says:

    Maybe it’s Elisabeth Sladen having it out with John Nathan-Turner.

  26. GSS-exnoob Says:

    @Lars: Now that I’d believe. Who didn’t want to have it out with JNT?

    Aww, you guessed.

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