Who’s to Blame…for this steaming pile of crap called a book

Jimmy really earned his paycheck on this cover. Love how Liz is wiping away the single tear.

Previously, Ned and Alice were having marriage trouble. Ned has moved out temporarily to try and work things out or something. They keep mentioning that it is temporary, so why is everyone all upset? On the other hand, I can see why they may be a little upset, because in Sweet Valley, if your parents are divorced or you do not have a hetero-two parent family, you end of as a raging slut, have ‘roid rages, have really bad self-esteem, are dirt-poor, are pathetically boring, are distrustful of men, die of some terrible diseasedrop out of school,  just to name a few. So yea, I guess I’d be upset.

This fight brings out the absolute worst in the twins. Shall we start with Liz? First, she thinks the break up is all her fault because back when the fam tried to take a ski weekend, she gave her mom’s secretary the number where they will be and when then the secretary called, it caused Alice to leave and make Ned mad. So Liz has the gall to think that she is so INFLUENTIAL that she is the CAUSE of her parents breakup. So she mopes about it the whole time in a whoa is me fashion. She totally martyrs herself and cancels all her plans to TAKE CARE of her mother, because forgot the fact that Alice is an adult that can take care of herself. And then, her parents breakup makes her GIVE UP ON LOVE and if a couple so perfect and in love as her parents can’t survive, how can any relationship survive? So she breaks up with Todd for no reason and pulls the histrionics all day. I can see her walking around, and when anyone approached, heaving a HUGE sigh and waiting for someone to ask her what is wrong.

I am not sure who is worse, Elizabeth or Jessica. Jessica doesn’t care about anyone in her family, and sees the separation as a good thing. When Jessica gets in trouble with her mom, she runs to her dad to complain and has her Dad call her mom to debate the punishment. And then she uses her Dad’s guilt to get money from him to buy a new outfit. But should we expect less from Jessica?

Finally Jessica and Steven find out she gave Alice’s secretary the number to where they were vacationing, and Jessica and Steven get mad and oh my god! How dare Elizabeth be so important as to ruin an adult’s marriage! She needs to get away from them! She doesn’t have the balls to pull a Jessica and actually run away, so she goes to stay with Enid, who of course is foaming at the mouth over the opportunity to have Liz stay at her house and get all of her attention. Liz doesn’t want her parents to find her, so she takes Enid’s phone off the hook without telling Enid or her Mom for the whole weekend. Wtf? And Mrs. Rollins doesn’t get pissed at that? Enid on the other hand, doesn’t care, and sleeps clutching the sheets that Elizabeth slept on.

The secondary storyline only serves to enrage me even more. Jessica has been calling a teen party line. Remember party lines? How trashy. She’s met a guy through one of them, Charlie, who has a sexy voice and who she has hit it off with.Although he is hesitant to meet her in person, but finally agrees. They meet at the roller rink, but the guy who meets her there is cute but boring. It takes like three more meetings for Jessica to realize that this is not the same guy that she has been talking to on the phone. Turns out he thinks he’s not that great looking. Despite being totally into him when they talk on the phone, Jessica doesn’t even CONSIDER meeting him and instead comes up with this brilliant plan:

Suddenly, a wonderful idea came to her. Amy had called this morning and said the guy in her tennis class had turned her down. So she didn’t have a date eithetr. Why not get Amy and Charlie, the real Charlie, to go to the dance together as blind dates? Jessica could go with the other Charlie, the handsome one. What was his name anyway? And the four of them could double-date. That way Jessica wouldn’t be mortified by being caught out in public with someone who wasn’t good-looking. And at the same time she would be able to enjoy the benefits of being with bothy Charlies and having both of them be in love with her! It was the perfect plan!

Seriously, I still can’t figure out if the ghostwriters are aware that Jessica is a pain in the ass selfish brat, or hope that readers will find Jessica’s actions endearing. It’s keeping me up at night.

If book covers could talk: #61 Boy Trouble

Elizabeth: Oh Patty[pat, pat] I’m so sorry that you are black.

Patty: That’s ok- wait, WHAT? That’s not why I’m upset. Why would you say that?

Elizabeth: well, you know…uh…. I mean, you’re not blue eyed and blond-haired. Isn’t that what your trouble is all about?

Patty: [SIGH] GEESH! Don’t you know this useless and uneventful book was created for the sole purpose of the creators to say that they did have positive black characters? And to say that they even HAVE black characters? So after this book they can go back to you crazy bitches going to dances and being chased by serial killers and feel okay about themselves.

Elizabeth: Oh, yea! That makes sense. So that’s why I am conveniently doing student profiles for The Oracle and I picked you to write it on, so I can conveniently be part of the plot even though this book is really about you.

Patty: Yea, so anyway, do you want to hear about my boy trouble?

E: Yes, wait. Let me get into position. My hand should go riiiiigghhhht here. Ok.

P: So, my boyfriend is supposed to come home last weekend, but my sister came home and announced she is getting married. So I called my boyfriend Jim to see if he could come home another weekend and he got mad and we had a big fight. So then I was at the movies the next night and saw him with some girl and then I got mad. And then my sister got all bridezilla on me and I yelled at her and then she was mad at me. It was all a big mess but it all worked out in the end.

E: Really? No dance was involved? No serial killers? No cults, vampires, or cheerleading competitions?

P: Um, no.

E: Wow, I can’t believe that was it! And you got a whole book out of it? Soooo, what does this have to do with you being black?

P: Dammit Liz! Nothing! The authors wanted to show that black people are just like white people and have the same petty issues! In fact, we ourselves don’t even seem to realize we are black!

E: Yea, but it did mention your “pretty dark eyes” and “dark hair” and called you a “pretty black girl” every other paragraph.

P: I know, but I don’t write the thing.

E: True…uh, I guess I gotta go, Mr. Collins called me and asked me to wash his car for him, and he asked me to wear a white t-shirt, and I gotta swing by home to get it. This was a great interview! I’m so glad we will finally have a picture of a black person in The Oracle! Btw, I love your pearls. Very country club.

P: Yea, love your barrettes, I guess. I am really unsure why our breasts have disappeared.

Elizabeth: Kay, bye! Here’s my card, call me if you need to talk.

Patty: Good riddance. I REALLY need to ask my parents if we can move.

Family Secrets: a play in no acts


Ned: Well family, gather ’round! I have an announcement. Your cousin is coming to live with us. Her parents are divorced, so you know that means she is on the fast track to whoresville. Her mother is getting remarried too, that trollup.

Alice: Oh Ned, that’s horrible.

Ned: I know! That’s why I’m having Kelly come stay with us for a while. It’s up to us to show her what a perfect family looks like. It’s the Charles Ingalls thing to do.

Jessica: Omg! The three of us look alike. We should go to school dressed as triplets. That would be sooooo rad.

Liz and Kelly: ‘kay!


[Everyone crowds around the twins and Kelly and oohs and ahhhs for a good twenty minutes.]

Chrome Dome: [over the loudspeaker] Attention students! Classes are canceled this morning so you can all meet the new Wakefield.

At the Dairi Burger

Kelly: My Daddy is so wonderful! He is gonna by my a horsie! My Daddy! Goo goo ga ga!

Nicholas: You’re hot. I am going to take you to the Country Club Costume dance.

Kelly: Da da?

Kirk Anderson: Hey hottie! Let’s go dry hump somewhere.

Kelly: Ga ga?


Miller’s point

Kirk: Hey baby, how are you doin’

Kelly: Did I tell you my Daddy gave me a ribbon for my hair?

Kirk: Mmmmm hmmmmm

Kelly: Wait, stop! I only let my Daddy touch me there!


Alice: Kelly, your Mom’s on the phone!

Kelly: No! I hate her! She’s getting remarried! I want to live with my Dad in Sweet Valley!

Elizabeth: Now Kelly, parents are an important part of our lives. You should forgive your mother. Parents are our future. It would behoove you to converse with your matriarchal partner.

Epilogue, spoken by Greek Chorus:

Well, folks, that is the legend of the girl who has Daddy issues. Cousin Kelly finally remembered an incident in which her father threw plates around the house and that is why her father left her, which she was suppressing and secretly hating her mother for. And that’s why she was attracted to asshole Kirk, because he reminder her of her violent father. And so goes the fable of Sweet Valley, do not attempt to sleep with men who are like your father.

Ok seriously? Kelly sucks. And has some serious problems and talks about her father all the time. And I think she is kind of developmentally challenged.

Her father also cheated on her mother and Liz is all “that’s the WORST thing anyobe can ever do”….Um, have you READ your own diary?

Also, the three girls dress as the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil for the biig costume party. And Kelly goes as “See No Evil”?! Get it? She can’s see the evil that is right in front of her? Omg! Do you SEE the symbolism? SOOOO DEEEEP!

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.

This patterned jumsuit will make you feel as pretty as Linda Ronstadt! or #28 Alone in the Crowd

Raise your hand of Elizabeth’s all-knowing, demeaning look (plus her baby blue polo and matching barrettes) makes you want to punch her in the face! Also, Lynne is not bad looking. Those glasses…yikes. Although, take a trip to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. You’ll see some of the hipster kids wearing those.

Wow, Lynne Henry is a sad sack of shit. And the author really wants us to know that. This girl is actually someone that should be on suicide watch. And I’m not being fecicious. She wears dirty old clothing, has frizzy brown hair (because anything other than sun-streaked blonde is FREAKISH) and has glasses (THE HORROR). Plus, she looks like a stringbean, because she is tall and lanky and awkward. Wait, hold up, now that’s a bad thing? Of all the modeling that goes on in Sweet Valley, SHE should be the one who actually does the modeling. To make matters worse, her mother is head of a beauty salon and always trying to tell Lynne to take care of her looks. Could it get any worse?

She realizes what an unloveable loser she is when she hears Mr. Collins reading an Emily Dickinson poem: “I’m nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too?” She feels like Mr. Collins is saying this directly to her.
Check out more of these deep lyrics: “I never thought I’d be the one to say/A day is something more than just a day”. Wow…deep?

Ugh. Check out what Lynne thinks when she sees Jessica:

She couldn’t get over how grogeous Jessica looked in that shiny red sports car. She looked like an actress in a movie- her tanned skin, her perfect skin, her perfect hair, her sparkling bluish-green eyes. Lynne would have given anything in the whole world to be Jessica Wakefield just then. It just wasn’t her beauty, either, Lynne thought, Jessica was confident [I like to call it sociopathic].

Can it get worse? Yes it can. Guess who has taken an interest in Lynne? Yes, Liz “God complex” Wakefield. Liz bites her lip worrying about Lynne most of the time and thinks about how she can “save” her. Shut up and just go back to your privileged life.

The Droids are sponsoring a song writing contest. They don’t say why, but I am pretty sure that it is because since they play at every fricking school dance and they are running out of material. Lynne totally lurves Guy Chesney, the keyboard player, who lives in her neighborhood. They walk to school together and talk about music a lot. Lynne loves music and songwriting, but doesn’t tell anyone. At LEAST the girl has something she enjoys. I wanted to kill myself by proxy just reading about her. However, they talk about Linda Rondstadt and Lynne thinks Guy only likes attractive singers. [Checking date of book: 1987? Did teenagers seriously like her then?] I can see her wanting to look like Samantha Fox, Madonna or Susanna Hoffs, but Linda Ronstadt? Omg, remember Samantha Fox? Anyway…

Lynne secetly enters the singwriting conrest with a song about Guy. I seriously want to make fun of the song, but it is seriously so pathetic it hurts to laugh.

Day after day I’m feeling kind of lonely,
Day after day it’s him and him only.
Something in his eyes
Made my hopes start to rise.
But he’s a part of the world that doesn’t include me.
Nothing he says could ever delude me.
I’ll never win.
This is how it’s always been.
I’m on the outside…looking in.
Night after night I’m saying a prayer
Night after night…hat somebody will care!
Somebody to hear me,
Somebody to stay near me…
But nothing’s going to change. Dreams can’t deceive me.
I’m all alone. You’ve got to believe me.
I just can’t win.
This is how it’s always been…
I’m on the outside- on the outside…
Lookin’ in.

Oh, get a load of this. Jess and the cheerleaders need new uniforms, so they are sponsoring a fundraiser. (Why not give the money to the needy families of Sweet Valley? Oh yea cuz they are gross and deserve whatever they get.) So she decides to have a rock-a-thon at the gym where people will pledge the cheerleaders for each half-hour they rock. They turn it into a party and have the Droids play. (Won’t the dance cost money therefore eating their profits???) The Droids are going to annouce the winner of the contest at the dance.

Of course they are BLOWN away by Lynne’s song, and Guy practically goes insane with lust for the girl who wrote it. I think he actually puts the cassette down his pants. Lynne doesn’t want to reveal herself because she thinks Guy will be disappointed.

Elizabeth is at the guitar store (for no fucking reason) and hears Lynne giving lessons and realizes that she is the songwriter. She of course, gives Lynne the pep talk that only Liz can give In fact, Guy ALSO confides in Liz about his obsession with the singer. Why is Liz always the patron saint?

So, obviously, all the plot twists can only point to one thing: A MAKEOVER! Lynne decides that she needs to start taking care of her looks and puts on some stylish clothes- which includes a patterned jumpsuit and her mother’s earrings. HAWT! Her mother then takes her for a day at the salon and they do her hair and makeup. Lynne has “never felt closer to her mother”. Thanks Ms. Henry for withholding your love until Lynne wants some finger curls. Also, they have the requsite “self-esteem comes from the inside, not the outside” speech. So why the hell do we need this makeover montage? (Not that there is anything wrong with makeover montages. I happen to love them).

So finally, mentoning Linda Ronsdtadt to guy makes him realize it is Lynne Henry. Okay, random: he has a POLICE SKETCH artist sketch what he thinks the artist looks like and of course it looks like Lynne and she knows that he knows and BOOM! They fall in love and of course, everything is sealed with one big kiss. Isn’t that magical? [VOMIT]. I wonder if he would have kissed her pre-jumpsuit.

You can probably predict what I am going to say. Lynne’s happiness and “success” should be because she wrote a great song and won a contest, gained some self-respect, and finally connected with her mother. Instead, the ultimate end result is kissing the boy she likes. It seems that Guy’s and Lynne’s relationship is based on something deeper than most relationships, but it is so not going last. Lynne has dealt with serious depression issues and the second Guy doesn’t call her back right away or says something that she interprets wrong she is going to freak out and get seriously clingy. You can’t “cure” the years of depression and self-doubt with one kiss. She needs to be okay with herself before she is able to love someone else. I hate to sound like Dr. Phil, but that’s the reality. And I hate that this is sending the message that getting a boyfriend cures all ills. But am I really surprised at the lack of social accountability?

Other thoughts:

Guy actually seems like one of the more interesting guys at SVH. And thats not saying much.

Jess dances with Ken Matthews at the dance and Liz doesn’t blink and eye. Isn’t she supposed to be crazy jealous? Oh, that’s right, the writers put in that story AFTER THE FACT! CONTINUITY PLEASE!

Aside from her stupid rocking chair dance, Jessica actually did not do anything manipulative or assinine. it was kind of weird.

In case you care, the team DID raise enough money for the outfits. They bought ones that were super-slutty.

Classes are canceled on a Friday so the school can play a softball game in the park. You can guess who the members of the team are- the same ones on the volleyball team. How does the school allow this? The school board is probably in the Soviet Union again.

Grade: B