Love is blind or #60, That Fatal Night

Whoa boy. What an SVH. It’s like a combo of every other SVH story: an accident, a handicap, an unpretty brunette. First of, what the hell was fatal about the night? No one died. Someone was just blinded, temporarily. But I am giving it away.

Jimmy really likes this pose. See exhibits A and B. Can Ken make any other expression?

Amy Sutton is vile. She has her sights set on Ken Mathews and is all up in him during the big game and the after party at her house. Meanwhile, shy Terri has a thang for Ken. We know that Terri is a sad sack of shit because she’s brunette and not a Wakefield. Actually, she seems to have an okay life. She’s a statistician for the football team, and has a solid group of friends including Jennifer Mitchell and John Pfeiffer (okay, so this was BEFORE he was a rapist). But, of course she pines for Ken because of his DYNAMIC personality. So Amy’s party winds down around midnight (wtf? these kids are losers) and situations make it so Ken ends up giving Winston, Maria and Terri a ride home. Terri is in the car alone with Ken, and they say two sentences each and it’s the greatest moment of Terri’s life. Ter, you need to get out more. It’s also raining pretty hard, and Terri asks Ken to wait until the rain stops, but Ken decides to go. On the way he is hit by a drunk driver. (Was it Mr. Martin? He is the official town drunk.)

Who of course notices that Terri is pining during the party and takes it upon herself to go solve her problems for her? I don’t even need to tell you. In fact, Liz is LISTENING outside the bathroom door as Terri is crying.

Liz, Todd and Jess see the accident on their way home. Liz doesn’t seem all that upset considering she supposedly just ended her secret affair with Ken. Oh right, that was added in later, randomly.

He wakes up at the Joshua Fowler Memorial Hospital and it turns out he is blind, His life is over! God forbid you have to live differently-abled! Unless you’re attractive, of course. Amy freaks out and doesn’t want to see him. Ken goes to rehab and its a very Regarding Henry moment. In a month he is perfectly capable of anything and is ready to head back to school. No disrespect, but it prolly takes more than a month…but of course Ken has a magical rehab therapist that changes his life.

Terri wants to visit him while he is in rehab, but can’t decide what to do, so she decides to call Liz Wakefield, who practically wets her pants with the idea of helping Terri. So they go visit Ken at rehab. Later, Terri and Ken hang out and Terri helps him with everything. It’s all At First Sight, except this makes that look Oscar-winning. Ken doesn’t allow himself to feel things for Terri because…I don’t know. It’s not explained. Maybe because Ken is a complex guy. Pshaaaahh right.

So Terri wants to “see” what it is like to be blind, so she blindfolds herself for an hour in her house and stumbles around like a fool. ARGH. I hate this idea that visually impaired people are completely helpless and stumble around. In my work I do workshops on ableism and someone always suggests that we do an exercise where someone blindfolds someone and takes them around for a day, and I LOATHE the idea. Like if you are differently able, you are hopeless and not self-sufficient. What did Terri learn from the exercise? Being blind is HARD. And she appreciated the sound of chirping birds in her backyard, which she took for granted. Terri’s not too bright.

Then she and Ken have a random fight because Terri grows a spine and says she can’t do everything for Ken and then they realize they love each other and Ken takes the bus all by himself to their favorite beach and we get the magical end kiss that always closes a SVH dilemma. Just like Lynne, her self-esteem is restored by that one kiss. Oh, also, Ken starts to see the sunrise which indicated he is getting his sight back. They also never say what causes the blindness. Brain damage? Is it possible to be blind temporarily?

The whole storyline totally reminded me of my favorite Little House episodes. ‘Member when Mary goes blind and she sulks around and her parents are fed up and ship her off to a blind school in the city, where she still acts bratty but with the love and help of Adam Kendall, she takes over and helps run the blind school? The one that catches of fire and kills her baby? And then they have to move the blind school to Walnut Grove and Mrs. Olsen comes with them through the wilderness, hijinks ensue, and she learns to not be a racist? Then Mary thinks she can see light and dark and she thinks she is getting her sight back but she doesn’t? Damn, what a good show.

Oh, back to the point. What is the moral of this one? If you are not blond and beautiful, the only way your love will be requited is if the guy goes blind. Nice.

Here’s my favorite quote: Jessica says, “”I hate to admit it, but seeing Ken around school with his white cane makes me feel kind of strange.” Elizabeth didn’t know how to respond to her sister’s comment. It wasn’t like Jessica to be so insensitive.” Hello ghostwriters! Do you even READ each other’s books?

Grade: B-

next up: the return of Suzy D.

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48 thoughts on “Love is blind or #60, That Fatal Night

  1. christine says:

    i remember this one.
    i also remember that Little House- it was sad. i was hoping she would see again.

    The thing about all these SVH stories that gets me is how happiness and self worth are based on some dude wanting you. Sick.

    And as i read these hilarious and sharp recaps of yours, i remember feeling so disgusting at size nine, pining for someone to love me despite my big assedness & non-whitey-ness. Lawd, what an idiot i was!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Hee, this one is one of my favorites. So cheese dog. The only way you can nail a football player is if he can’t see you and the hot girls no longer think he’s hot. Ah, nerd romance! You inspire me, Sweet Valley!

  3. shelley says:

    I know this is off topic, but are they cousins in the movie? I always felt like there was something incestuous about their constant sexing of one another. And I loved how he got such an attitude problem and sulked and lashed out at her when she wouldn’t let him stick it in at first lol…such a man. Anyways, back to SVH 🙂

  4. ihatewheat says:

    I don’t know, I think they were conveniently not blood related. He also got pissed when she didn’t feel like doing it because she was preggers (but didn’t know it yet).

    The whole thing was just super creepy to me. Not sexy at all.

  5. kiwimusume says:

    I love how nobody in these books ever has to STAY disabled. Regina gets special treatments in Switzerland and gets her hearing back. Ken’s sight miraculously comes back as quickly as he lost it (and speaking of which, how the fuck do his other massive-car-crash injuries heal in the space of like a WEEK?!) Oh, but of course, disabilities, just like pounds, are something you must shed (preferably in a weekend) if you want to be a proper Valleyite. God forbid any Valleyite should have something “wrong” with them.

    Ugh.

  6. Count Tisiano says:

    It is true. Anytime something bad happens to someone (Elizabeth’s 20 page coma, vicious attacks by both British werewolves and Long Island dopplegangers, etc.) it takes them no time to get over it. Probably the result of having multiple ghost writers, and the SVHers beign well-adjusted to the dangerous SV streets; nothing bothers them.

    The only instance of perhaps dare-I-say “realistic” lingering trauma is after Lila was nearly date-raped by John Pfeiffer…she ended up going to Project Youth (like Amy is really going to be any help to anyone) and then saw a real counselor for a couple books…though I believe that she then accused him of assaulting her after the Jungle Prom.

    This issue was solved, of course, when Li’s long lost mother reunited with her asshole father who had banished her 14 yrs prior and, suddenly, all was well.

    (Poor Lila.)

  7. Hilary says:

    “Terri is in the car alone with Ken, and they say two sentences each and it’s the greatest moment of Terri’s life.”

    Sadly, I can totally identify with Terri’s pathetic elation. This was mostly the story of my high school years. Mostly.

  8. Club X says:

    Hilary – I completely identify with that, also….that’s probably why I spent so much time reading these damn books! 🙂

  9. Club X says:

    “They also never say what causes the blindness. Brain damage? Is it possible to be blind temporarily?”

    I think the doctor said that the blindness was caused by swelling in Ken’s brain. Ew.

  10. Fraser says:

    I think Matt Murdock took more than a month to adjust to blindness, and he had radar sense (fellow comics geeks, feel free to correct me).
    I never thought the point of the blindness exercises (which I did years ago) was to show blind people are helpless as much as to be aware how different the world feels when sight isn’t the primary gateway. But I agree about people stumbling around–I can get through my house in pitch-darkness pretty easily if I want (it’s the placement of the light switches, don’t ask), though I concede I’m not doing it while distracted with thoughts of Oh My God I Have Blind Cooties!

  11. Becca says:

    I love this site. I stopped reading the SVH books around book 40 probably, so it’s all new to me about Ken being blind. This one sounds hilarious.

    Also – John Pfeiffer date-raped Lila?! (or almost). Yikes. what book is that one?

  12. Eli says:

    Why does Ken always look so incredibly gay in these covers? The eleven-year old me was never like, OH look at the dreamy quarterback. I was thinking…wow, that dude would be awesome to go shopping with! (On the other hand, I was pretty hot for Bruce and Steven (I KNOW) based on the covers)

  13. megan says:

    Becca-That book is Don’t Go Home With John……nice title huh? lol.

    This book is funny. Is Terri ever mentioned again? Cuz I sure don’t remember her. He must have gotten rid of her at one time, cuz the next girl I remember him with is Olivia.

    And didn’t Amy and Ken date in middle school when she was a tomboy? Amy needs to move on lol.

  14. Magenta Galaxy says:

    If Ken had swelling in his brain…shouldn’t he have been in, oh, I don’t know, the HOSPITAL???

    I also hate how the disabilities are only temporary! What a terrible message to send to teens about people with developmental disabilities!

  15. Eli says:

    Oh and also, the way Ken is drawn…it is like he is pretending to be blind but he sucks at it. He looks like he is using the Joey Tribbiani smell the fart method of acting.

  16. Galleta says:

    Terri gets mentioned again in #70 Ms. Quarterback, with Claire who wants to play football, a no-longer-blind (or… IS HE?!) Ken who wants to play football, and Terri the co-dependent girlfriend who sees Claire as Ken’s competition and does all sort of not-Jessica-worthy scheming.

  17. audrey apple says:

    Can I just join the chorus of thousands who are chanting “You Are A Genius”? I really hope you’re going to assemble all the recaps into a book at the end (in order). Then send a copy to Francine Pascal with a picture of a happy fat girl with a boyfriend. She’ll probably die of a brain embolism. Error! Error! Error!

    Meanwhile, how is that John Pfeiffer gets so lambasted for his rape attempt, yet Bruce gets away with it practically being his MO? Is it because John uses forces and Bruce just tries to get the girl to pass out? That way, it’s the GIRL’S fault for drinking and letting him untie her top in the pool.

  18. calico drive says:

    ah yes but Bruce is rich and privilaged and John P is only nerdy sportswriter. in SV world this means alternative reactions to the same act by diffrent guys…

  19. audrey apple says:

    Ah yes calico drive, that makes sense. Truly, I have never considered the wider social implications of these books until reading this site.

    Meanwhile, the tv show was so pants. I watched the first episode on you tube the other day. Amy Sutton isn’t even slutty in it! Also, Elizabeth’s dance with Winston is not only choreographed, it’s bordering on pornographic. Liz! Queen Chastity Belt!

    I could never understand why she made such a big deal of Todd wanting to sleep with her in the first SVU book. You’ve only been going out with him for about 50 years Liz. Give the man a little sugar.

    It was also dumb how SVT brought Todd in to be Liz’s boyfriend. He clearly does not have a place in the 12 year old Sweet Valley universe. Was it really too hard for them to think of another dork that could be madly in love with the most annoying girl in the world?

    God Liz sucks.

  20. calico drive says:

    i agree audrey apple – i felt a little sorry for todd. i mean he puts up with Liz’s self righteousness for sooo long and then he doesnt even get the benefit of Wakefield ass once they get to SVU. poor guy.

    and Amy S in the TV show WTF?? we saw her for like 2 seconds in the first episode (and she looked NOTHING like Amy is described) and that was it. no more Amy. wtf?

    Lila was awesome though – in the 1st season anyway. but Todd WTF he was not supposed to be blond.

    ok..rant over now..

  21. kiwimusume says:

    It was also dumb how SVT brought Todd in to be Liz’s boyfriend. He clearly does not have a place in the 12 year old Sweet Valley universe.

    Oh my God, really?! After the first SVH book was all about Liz mooning over Todd and thinking he’ll never ever ever notice somebody like her *emo tear*? Ye Gods.

  22. Kellie says:

    ***Meanwhile, how is that John Pfeiffer gets so lambasted for his rape attempt, yet Bruce gets away with it practically being his MO? Is it because John uses forces and Bruce just tries to get the girl to pass out? That way, it’s the GIRL’S fault for drinking and letting him untie her top in the pool.***

    Bruce’s actions at the end of Dear Sister were arguably worse than John Pfeifer’s… and there was never any mention of it again and certainly no reference to “attempted rape” or lasting trauma for Elizabeth.

  23. Sarah says:

    I think Ken needs to give Jessica her feathered, combed-over bangs back. I love how the blurb on the front cover implies that if you become disabled your life is “ruined.”

    Also, how many drunk driving accidents are there in this series?

    In terms of Bruce and rape, I think Francine and the crew became more aware of the gravity of certain issues as the series progressed: see Robin Wilson’s miraculous weight loss from #4, Power Play, being recast as anorexia in #75, Amy’s True Love.

  24. Melody Powers says:

    You said “They also never say what causes the blindness. Brain damage? Is it possible to be blind temporarily?”

    The answer is yes. I had a terrible concussion in an accident and suffered almost total loss of vision (I could see blurry dark shapes btui thats it) but I have completely recovered. So yes its possible.

  25. Melody Powers says:

    And one more thing I forgot to mention – Magenta, brain swelling is whats known as a concussion – and they don’t keep you in the hospital for that, for long. Not with HMO’s these days.

    Ansd it can cause total vision loss, and itsa not unrealistic that Kens sight returned within a month – although it took mine about six weeks to return. SVH gets so much wrong, but this at least was reasonable.

  26. Amber Tan says:

    “SVH gets so much wrong, but this at least was reasonable.”

    Oh.My.Dawg. This is the first time that I’ve ever heard “SVH” and “reasonable” used in the same sentence. Props to Melody Powers! 🙂

  27. Naomi says:

    In the SVH universe date raping is not a sexual crime, but a form of endearment, like annoucing your intentions to a girl you like.

  28. Naomi says:

    Conversely, in the SVH universe a girl will announce her intentions towards a guy by tearing her clothes and saying he tried to rape her (a la Jessica and Todd in No. 1, and Suzanne and Mr Collins in No. 11 I think it was).

    What is it with these Sweet Valley kids and their rape/attraction dynamic. They’ve got some serious psychosexual issues going on here. Freud would have had a field day with these books

  29. Alicia says:

    So I just finished this book, and there’s a contest in the back that tells readers to write an essay on New Years’, and how they want their new decade to start (the 1990’s). And the winner receives… their favorite SVH book, signed by Francine.

    I think that alone makes me love “That Fatal Night” just a little bit more.

  30. Anonymous says:

    i just looked at the cover and started laughing my head off!
    I dont know how to describe it lololol
    Its like ken has gone all weird or somethign and she is looking at him like Ew You Freak.
    Funny

  31. Vanessa Saxton says:

    Yes, it is possible to go temporarily blind. I didn’t believe it either but it happened to me (slightly) due to a medication I was on that caused my brain to swell. I wasn’t completely blind but I had lost a good amount of my vision.
    Ken looks like he has Steven’s face with blonde hair on the cover.

  32. Rio says:

    “Anytime something bad happens to someone . . . it takes them no time to get over it.”

    Count Tisiano, I have three words for you: Tricia fucking Martin.

  33. penny ayala says:

    Bahaha…BEST. BOOK. EVER. The zombie on the cover, classic meddling Liz Wakefield, totally misleading title [granted, most men who tap Jess end up 6 ft under]. Ihatewheat, congrats on this blog! And please see the request section for the idea of “Sweet Valley Medical Marvels”. As a Dr, I can tell you Ken”s blindness is is absolutely ridiculous and would be right up there with Suzanne Devlin’s “MS” to challenge for the title.

  34. penny ayala says:

    Ok… may have to retract my ridiculous comment – I just reread the hospital scene where they explain [sort of] about Ken having a concussion – it is plausible that a post-concussive cerebral oedema could cause swelling around the eyeball and some visual field defecits. But for just one month? And to go from full blindness to complete recovery without any defects in the peripheral vision? Ghosties, I object. But dont hire a medical writer any time soon – this stuff is just toooo gold. Love my SVH

  35. Neek1981 says:

    The cover of this one and the cover of Lovestruck are the two worst Sweet Valley covers I’ve ever seen. Ken looks so dead on the cover of both. Can anyone think of a shitier (is this a word)cover? I guess he’s supposed to be blind here, but on the cover of Lovestruck, he’s not blind and he still looks terrible. I think one of my fave Sweet Valley covers was from the Unicorn Club series. It was called Maria’s Movie Comeback. Anyone remember that one? I loved that they had not one, but TWO cute minority girls on the cover. Also, Jess and Lila looked cute on that cover, but then again, I always thought the twins looked better as middle schoolers than high schoolers, probably because they looked like high schoolers on the middle school covers. On the SVH covers they sometimes looked like they were in their 30s.

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