The Fresh Prince of Sweet Valley, or #16 Rags to Riches

Just a warning, this one is so beyond ridiculous. Everyone’s annoying personality traits are magnified by about a thousand. And I want to fucking kill them all.

Jessica’s boobs look really weird. And Roger looks…not right. Like he has the smirk of an annoying sitcom little brother. On the body of a 35 year old. If his collar was popped anymore, it would turn into a display rack at Hollister.

If you remember, Roger is so poor that -gasp!- he has to work as a janitor after school to support his single mother. Apparently, at the end of the past book, Roger’s mother dies of cancer. After she dies he finds out he is part of the Patman family and heir to the Patman inheritance- his father was actually Bruce’s dad’s brother. So now he is living in the Patman estate. And the patmans are planning on throwing a big party at the Sweet Valley country club to instroduce Roger as a patman into a society. Almost like a debutante coming out thing, I guess.

How convenient that at the beginning of the book Roger is recapping the last few weeks’ events to his girlfriend Olivia. Ok,so his mother worked for Henry (Bruce’s dad) and Paul, his brother. Paul had an affair with Mama Barrett, got her knocked up and then died in a fiery crash. Unbeknownst to everyone, he left his inheritance to Rog. As he tells it,

“I guess my mother fell in love with Paul Patman, and they spent more and more time together, and-” Roger stopped, his face turning red. “I understand, Roger” Olivia said softly.

Mama Barrett was fooling around with Patman and gets knocked up. AND ROGER IS TOO EMBARASSED TO TALK ABOUT IT. Like 16 year old boys are embarassed to talk about sex. I swear, everyone in Sweet Valley has no genitals, like Alan Rickman in Dogma.

Jessica feels she lost her chance to hang around the Patman family when she struck out with Bruce, so she decides she wants to be Roger’s date to the big party, not Olivia. So they are at a BBQ at the patman’s and she sucks up to Mrs. Patman, Bruce’s mom and Roger’s aunt. Mama Patman likes Jessica’s je ne sais quoi (i.e., her Aryan good looks) and helps Jessica plot to get Olivia out of the picture. See, the Patmans don’t approve of Olivia, because-gasp!- she has frizzy hair! And wears flowy skirts and sandals! And likes poetry! How is she not stoned on the streets of Sweet Valley?

Meanwhile, Roger is having a hard time living at the Patman’s. Bruce is being a big dick to him, and Mama Patman hates him. Because he likes to run and not play tennis. Or some other dumb reason. He feels out of place at the Patman estate. His bedroom is large and wooden and has a large four poster bed. What? They don’t let him decorate? He has to live in a replica of a Tudor’s bedroom? He is at a dinner party for the Patman’s friends and he spills wine or something and Bruce and mama P act as if he killed someone. Papa Patman (who we are told is called Henry Wilson Patman) is the only one that is nice to Roger and tried to make him feel welcome. How is he not aware that his wife is a wicked old harpy and his son is a date rapist?

Meanwhile, Jess starts sucking up to Olivia and pretends to help her become someone the patmans would approve of. Liv continually feels like an ass and assumes she is embarassing Roger. For one, at a BBQ she feels like an ass because…she has a full plate of food. Yup, that makes her an ass because she eats more than 400 calories a day.

HOLD IT RIGHT THERE.

This is incredibly infuriating. If Olivia is supposed to be all independent and free spiritied, why should she care about changing her image and fall for Jessica’s manipulations? And if she and Rog are supposed to be so close, WHY DOESN’T SHE JUST TALK TO HIM ABOUT IT? Ugh. Way to make your semi-respectable characters act like shitheads.

Oh wait, it gets worse. Olivia is supposedly one of Elizabeth’s bffs, so you would think she would get suspicious of Jessica’s interest and I don’t know, maybe defend Olivia? But no, Liz decides she should just mind her own business and let Olivia suffer alone. What an asshole.

Jessica takes Olivia shopping at a trendy boutique, and Olivia remarks that she can’t tell which are the salesgirls and which are the mannequins. Apparently, she’s retarded.

Liz is busy being a total douche to another friend- Reginia Morrow, the rich deaf girl, has been leaving early from school. So, instead of just, oh, I don’t know, asking her friend if she is okay, she and Todd gossip like little girls about it and sneak around and follow her when she leaves after school. They see her with an older ma downtown. Lila is totes jealz of Regina because Regina usurped her position as the only rich brunette teenager in Sweet Valley, and also sees Regina with the older guy and spreads the rumor round that Regina has a sugar daddy. Obvs, this is juicy news over in SVH because they give a shit about the dumbest things.

Oh, so it turns out the older guy is the editor of Ingenue magazine (I guess it is like Cosmo?) and his job is to scout out young teenage girls to profile and model for the cover. Yup, that’s his job. Also, how convenient that the headquarters of a major mag is in SVH.

Reginia is profiled because of her ability to overcome the struggle of being deaf. Okay, no disrespect to the deaf community, but….has Reginia really struggled? her parents are loaded and therefore have been able to get her every treatment available and even had her in a special private school for the deaf her whole life. Not everyone deaf child has that luxury. Also, she is lauded for being able to lip-read perfectly and speak “perfectly”. Again, isn’t that conforming to dominant society and seeing her deafness as abnormal?

In reading this I was already up to my armpits in ridiculousness, but here is the kicker. We learn why Regina is deaf. Her mother used to be a famous model, and when she got preggers with Regina, she was going to quit, but she got one more offer to do a swimsuit shoot, but was told she needed to lose ten ponds, so she took a lot of diet pills which ruined Regina’s ears in the womb. THE FUCK? This made mama Morrow have to give up modeling, and ever since Regina was born, she also had hoped that Regina could model omeday. EVER SINCE SHE WAS BORN? Isn’t that the most awful expectation for a child? Francine thought she was making a tragic background story, I guess.

So back to the Patmans. Jessica tells Olivia the dress she made for herself is fugly, and embarasses her while playing tennis with Bruce and Roger, and other stuid manipulative stuff. Olivia finally breaks up with Roger over it. Both of them are so fucking stupid about it. Jessica convnces doormat Roger to take her to the country club. When they are there he realizes his mistake and declares his love for Olivia in front of everyone, much to Mama Patman’s chagrin. Papa Patman sets her straight and says that Roger is part of the family, so fucking deal with it. Papa patman is the only bearable person in the story.

Other thoughts:

Roger really doesn’t ever mention his grief over his dead mother…

Mama Patman walks around is silk loungewear holding a martini glass. What is this, Falcon Crest?

The SVH cafeteria serves Hungarian ghoulash, in case you cared. Why is Lila eating school lunch anyway?

In his free time, Bruce heads up to the university to cruise on college girls. Do they really want to hang around with a high school boy?

Also, Bruce apparently wears a teeny tiny speedo. Todd says it looks like a band-aid. Gay much?

Contiuity error: is this really the first time Jessica is meeting the Patmans? When she was dating Bruce, didn’t she hang around with them at the country club?

Do these kids ever go to a class?

In every book, one of the twins thinks about how lucky they are to live in Sweet Valley and how they couldn’t believe anyone would want to live anywhere else. Except for the racism, close-mindedness and lack of bars, it sounds like a dream.

Starting a new tradition: a poll with each entry. Today’s question:

Who is more of a DILF?

a. Ned Wakefield
b. Henry Wilson Patman
c. George Fowler
d. Roger Collins

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30 thoughts on “The Fresh Prince of Sweet Valley, or #16 Rags to Riches

  1. Well, 16-year-old boys *are* embarassed to talk about sex that their *mother* had (and out of wedlock in Sweet Valley, gasp!)

    It’s even grosser that Regina’s mom wants her to be a model, because she’s deaf as a result of the fucked-up standards of modeling! Like, “Yeah, honey, you should a) fulfill my dreams, and b) become subject to the same industry ideals that gave you a birth defect!” Oh, the awesome parenting of Sweet Valley.

    I don’t know that any of those dudes are DILF’s–Henry Patman might be somewhat decent in this story, but remember, he spawned and raised Bruce.

  2. DILF by whose standards? You mean a dad WE’D like to fuck, or the dad all the characters are queuing up to fuck?

    If it was the characters my money’s on Pervy Collins, for me…hmmm, toughie. Pervy Collins = creep. Ned Wakefield = too nauseatingly perfect. That leaves the two rich dudes, and of the two I’d prolly go for Bruce’s dad. I don’t know all that much about Lila’s dad, apart from the fact that he’s a workaholic who Lila never sees, and it just reminds me of that bit in The Undomestic Goddess where she says that she and her equally high-powered boyfriend speed-fucked so they could get back to work quickly. Whereas Bruce’s dad sounds pretty OK from this book. (But like Kate said, he spawned and raised Bruce…)

    These polls are fun! Keep ‘em coming! :D

  3. Hmmm, it seems that Elizabeth is a pretty shit multi-tasker. I would have thought she’d have been into Regina AND Olivia’s business…Or maybe her busybody-ness doesn’t extend to looking out for her friends…

  4. On the cover there, Rog TOTALLY looks like Jason Hervy… remember him? He was Wayne on the wonder years.

    they oculd be twins.

    and Ned Wakefield as I’m sure he’s “attentive to the needs of others”

  5. Definitely Bruce’s dad, as in the early part of the series he is the only tolerable, semi-realistic parent. However, in the Wakefields of Sweet Valley (or whatever, the legacy book with the purple cover that focused on the maternal side of the fam) when Alice is dating Hank he is pretty much just like Bruce and a total douche. The complete and total lack of continuity in these books drove me nuts- and I mean, even just within one branch of the series- for God’s sake, does Todd have a brother, a sister, or no siblings at all?!

    Polls are sweet. Also, looooved the Falcon Crest comment. My mom once asked me why I liked SVH books so much, and I remember telling her, “Uh. It’s like, ‘Knots’ Landing: The Teenage Years.’” ha!

  6. I never understood why Elizabeth could still love Jessica after all the times Jessica has tried to ruin the lives of Elizabeth’s BFFs. It[s perfectly fine to hate your siblings, even if she is your twin and you have matching blue-green eyes and perfect size 6 figures!!!
    :-)

    I’m going to have to go with George Fowler, mainly because no one picked him, but I think he turns out to be OK after he re-marries Lila’s mom. Also, I would totally bitchslap Lila up and down Fowler Crest. Hee, hee.

  7. Yeah that Regina stuff was maddening. Of course the only disabled person in all of Sweet Valley manages to assimilate with absolutely no problem. And eventually completely regains her hearing. Ugh. And what kind of mother takes diet pills to lose 10 pounds WHILE SHE IS PREGNANT?? I know not as much was known about pregnancy back then, but come ON, Skye. Sheesh.

  8. wow – hard choice. i think maybe i’d go with george fowler. i know he’s a huge workaholic, but most of the issues we’ve seen with him have been Lila’s issues with him moving on from her mom.

    i just found your site today – i love it. i was addicted to svh as a tween/teen. such a guilty pleasure now to go back and look at all those books again.

    at one point in 6th grade, i actually owned an svh slam book. i wish i knew where that was now.

  9. “Also, Bruce apparently wears a teeny tiny speedo. Todd says it looks like a band-aid. Gay much?”

    BWAH!

    “Contiuity error: is this really the first time Jessica is meeting the Patmans? When she was dating Bruce, didn’t she hang around with them at the country club?”

    No, she never met his parents. Which is one of the reasons she’s so frantic, and was stone jealous of Regina when Bruce hooked up with her.

    Now, one thing I wonder. Since Olivia is such a tree-hugger, does she shave body hair? Because if so, THAT would be a reason to feel awkward at that pool party.

  10. I love this blog and it’s inspired me to get out my box o’ SVH books (which is hidden on a VERY high shelf, by the way).

    There was actually a quote in this one that made me laugh out loud, compliments of bitchy Jessica. After her evil plan succeeds and Olivia is dumped, Liz runs into her in town. She tells Jess that “Olivia looks terrible!” Jessica: “What was she wearing?” Har har.

    Anyway, this one was truly ridiculous. I can’t believe Liz didn’t suspect pretty much ever that Jessica’s motives were less than pure. Her blind spot for that witch is unreal.

  11. DILF?
    Well, anyone that has to do with spawning Bruce is out of the question.
    Ned Wakefield seems like he’d be too vanilla to me.
    The only reason I would pick George Fowler is to add to Lila’s daddy issues.
    I’m going with Roger Collins because in high school there was the new young English teacher that was HOT. That’s how I picture Roger Collins.

  12. Roger Collins all the way.

    On the topic of SVH collections still owned … I have all 188 books. In a SECRET BOOKCASE that is hidden inside my wardrobe.

  13. Papa Patman! Yes, he did spawn Bruce but are you forgetting Bruce was hawt? And Mister Patman came across a nice guy didn’t he? So he’s like a nicer, older, more mature Bruce! Yeah!
    I need to stop answering these polls.
    I’m so glad I found this site.
    I’m so glad I kept my SVH books.

  14. this book is so fricking annoying! at the 2nd chp, it was mentioned (along w/ the blondhairblue-greeneyesperfect6size blah blah blah) that ned was described as having “wavy dark hair and broad shoulders (why does the ghostwriter mention this all the time?) and rugged good looks (reminds me of a cowboy:P) and of course steve is a young version of him. alice- petite, blond and blue eyes.old sister 2 twins blah blah blah. easy 2 see where the wakefield twins good looks came from. GOD! THIS FAMILY IS SO DISGUSTINGLY PERFECT!

  15. I THINK THE GHOSTWRITERS ARE THESE OLD UGLY GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES.

    THEY WRITE THIS TO MAKE THEMSELVES FEEL BETTER, PROBABLY!

    IM GUESSING MOST OF THEM ARE BROWN HAIRED AND BROWN EYES AND NOT TANNED!

    IM ALSO GUESSING SOMEONE NAMED ROBIN (WILSON), SUZANNE (DEVLIN) ETC. WERE REALLY MEAN 2 THEM IN HIGH SCHOOL.

  16. i really liked Olivia. I was sad when they killed off in the major earthquake that hit Sweet Valley on the twin’s 17th birthday. She was finally dating a hottie (Ken Matthews) though, so obvi they had to kill her off. Because good things can only happen to the twins.

    • The poll:

      Roger Collins: OUT because I’m 30 years old, which is about 15/16 years too old for him.

      Henry Patman: OUT because (let’s just beat the horse to death) his sperm produced Bruce.

      Ned Wakefield: OUT because he always seemed kind of pervy since he brought Betsy home; that and he’d probably be a dead lay; and his sperm produced Jessica and Elizabeth.

      George Fowler: DILF because he produced Lila, isn’t a pedophile, and is just generally the hottest of the choices listed.

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