A canning factory in SoCal

Okay, I have forgot that I was doing this book in parts and half forgot on purpose because it was pretty boring. Okay, let’s get this done.

Helena and William’s baby dies suddenly, and Helena cannot have anymore children. Coincidentally, William’s new junior executive on Wall Street, Reginald looks very much like William, but somes from a poor family. Suprise! He’s really their son! They were switched at birth at the hospital. What are the odds? Just about as likely as their ancestors almost marrying each other at least eight times.

Then Katherine (the actress)’s daughter Cassandra becomes a doctor for the troops in World War II, but miscarries after she finds that her husband has been killed in battle. What’s with the dead babies storylines? Then she marries his bff Paul and they have a daughter Marie (Bruce’s mother).

Reginald has Henry Patman, which is Bruce’s father, who is engaged to Marie Vanderhorn but she finds out she has leaukemia and breaks it off with Henry because she is so selfless and wants him to live his life to the fullest! No regrets! So Henry goes off and canoodles with Alice at SVU and after she leaves him for Ned, Henry and Marie reunite and begat Bruce. Henry proclaims that the name Bruce sounds like “a strong , successful guy who knows what he wants.” a.k.a “date rapist”.

Meanwhile, this does not explain why Marie is a cold bitch towards Roger Barrett or why Henry wants to leave her. But it does answer a few of our burning questions. It does mention that Sweet Valley is outside LA and that SVU was once called Southern Calforinia University and is actually several miles outside Sweet Valley.

Patmans of Sweet Valley: cross-dressing, oil, and Wellesley

I found a scan of the inside panel, and I don’t mean to be a perv, but I am interpreting a lot of it in a sexual way. The large picture in the middle is obvs Sophie and her “as you wish” stablehand Henry Patman. From where her eyes are and how he is standing, it looks like he is letting it hang out for her. On the left is our friend James Patman who discovers an oil well on his land, but UPC bar is strategically placed. Looks like he is taking a good pee after holding it in.

Previously on….

We pick up with John Patman, who after losing Katherine, is now a rodeo champion in Texas. He meets a “boy” who seems to win every competition, but turns out to be Samantha Parker, who competes in drag. Well, that could have been an interesting story about her life. They could have mentioned the oppression she received as a result of her gender variance, or the struggles she had. But nope, she takes one look at John Patman and lets down her flowing blond hair and shows off her slender waist and suddenly wants to marry him and fornicate like rabbits with and have lots of babies. Because who can resist a Patman?

Also, this section is written in what I think the ghostwriter thought of as “cowboy” language, and it’s really obnoxious. “She reckoned he was handsome, with his unruly black hair and intense eyes. But she wasn’t about to let him know that. Every cowboy she’d ever met already thought he was the biggest toad in the puddle. They were all conceited as blazes. And she’s be crazier than a peeled rattlesnake to get herself involved with any of them.” Oh, shut up.

Skip ahead a few years, John and Samantha are living out on open land and running out of food and crops. Randomly one day John strikes oil. They get super rich and pop out more children.

Their youngest son, William, is about to graduate from Harvard in 1924. he has a thing for Helena Howard who is a senior at Wellesley, but at first she rejects him because he is a “hick” from Texas and not someone a well-bred girl like her deserves. He’s also “nouveau-riche” because his family just got rich from the oil. Finally she “gives in” and starts to date her. Wow, these Patmans have a way with forcing women into things they don’t want to do, don’t they? He rides into the Wellsley dining hall on one of those old-fashioned bicycle with a marriage proposal for Helena.

Jeez, this one is dragging.

The Patmans of Sweet Valley: Nice shootin’, Tex!

Previously on the Patman saga…

April 1886. Katherine Richmond is the granddaughter of Vanessa Saxton, who we last saw being randomly assaulted and taken in by men of London. She is also an actress and has just served as an understudy for the lead who had dyspepsia. That means heartburn, but they are trying to make it old-fashioned sounding. So, she gets asks to join the Royal Shakespeare Company who will be touring the US. They stop in Kansas City and Katherine is sweating and a strapping young lad offers her lemonade. And wouldncha know, it’s John Patman, the son of James Patman, our friendly slave-emancipator. And like in true Sweet Valley fashion, they are suddenly in love and want to make babies.

John comes to every one of her shows and sits in the front row. Creepy. Then he spends his earnings at the local saloon on an engagement ring which he plans to give Vanessa on her last night so that she will stay in Kansas City with him. He might as well pee in a circle around her. Right as he is closing up the saloon, two bandits come in and hold up the place. I think the ghostwriters did their historical research by watching Back to the Future III. So he never makes it to the play and Katherine heads off to New York, heartbroken. Somehow in New York, she learns about the hold up so she simply hops a train back to Kansas City to find John. She goes to his house where he finds his brother Brewster who is essentially, “John’s not here, but I’d hit that.” Katherine hops the train back to New York. Then she gets a telegram in New York that her parent’s theater burned down in London and her whole family was killed. What?? They really like to drop bombs in this one.

First of all, I love how Kathrine just hops a train back and forth from New York to Kansas City. Google maps tells me it’s 18 hours with modern cars, with trains it must take I don’t know, 2 weeks? Furthermore, the men in the Patman line get to do heroic shit like help slaves to freedom, and the women are all about lost loves. I know the times weren’t exactly ripe for women’s lib, but come on here.

Next up: John Patman joins the Rodeo. Think Gyllenhaal in Brokeback. Hawt.

This is surreal. It’s like I am relieving the early 90s. I am writing this as I am watching the My So-Called Life dvd box set that I just got. Angela went to the Buffalo Tom concert hoping to hang with Jordan but he totally snubs her. “By the way, I spell my name with one L!” Go girl.

Speaking of historical fiction, I thought I’d recommend the House of Elliot series. It is awesome. Two sisters start a fashion design house in 1920s London, and all sorts of dramatic Sweet Valley High-esque drama happens. Someone tries to sabotage the company, there are all sorts of romantic drama, etc. And amazing clothes, obvs.

The Patmans of Sweet Valley: a plantation in Georgia

Previously on…

Ok, so when I realized that the next segment would take place on a plantation during the civil war. I got super excited because I thought that the Patmans would be totally ignorant and the ghostwriter would be incredibly racist. Excited of course, because I love nothing more than hating on them.

You know what? It wasn’t bad. This is actually some of the better writing I’ve read. They must have gotten a special ghostwriter for this one. And they actually did their research and included some historical info. Anyhoo, James and Sanford are the sons of Henry Patman, who, as you know, was banished from England after he tried to elope with Sophie Edmunson. He later inherited a plantation and made a fortune off of it. It’s called “Enchanted Meadows”. Bwah! And, apparently, also became a crusty racist slaveowner. Their plantation has over 250 “Negroes” and the threat of the impending war will have an affect on that. James disagrees and challenges his father and asks about the rights of the slaves, and they debate about the rights of landowners and draw parallels to the rights of the colonies under British tyranny. I’m telling you, it’s deep. Jame’s father in law responds: “It’s admirable that you have this humanitarian instincts for these poor, inferior creatures. But all this talk about education and freedom from them…next you’ll be supporting rights for ladies, like those ill-bred, bloomer-wearing Yankee women!” Noyce.

James decides he’s going to side with the North and leaves his family. Three months later, he is smuggling slaves from safe house to safe house with the Underground Railroad. He takes notice of Hope, one of the slaves that has taken the lead in helping. “Her face and hair were so dark he couldn’t see her until he was a few feet away.” WE GET IT! She’s black. It mentions how beautiful she is, and I am surprised they didn’t mention that her “dirty rags emphasized her slender waist.” Seriously.

They deliver the runaway slaves to a farmer’s house and Hope goes with him to rescue more slaves. Then boom, it says they are married and Hope’s preggers. And we missed that part of the book? That would be the interesting part. Later on, he leaves Hope at the Darby’s farm with some other runaway slaves to go and help others escape, and when he comes back he finds that the Darbys have been hung in their field, and Hope has been shot and killed inside the house. WHAT? That is some intense shit, even in an SVH book.

Wait, it gets worse! After the war is over, James heads back to Enchanted Meadows. All his family has died, his brother died in battle, and the place is in ruins. He leaves and says he is “heading west.” Oooooo, I am hoping for a story about the Great Land Race, a la Far and Away.

What does this tell us about Bruce? Ummmmmmm…that even though he and his family employ lots of servants in demeaning roles, he has a special place in his heart for them?

This has totally given me the urge to read some good historical fiction. Anybody have any recs? I don’t want mass-market-supermarket paperbacks, but it doesn’t have to be intense. I’ve read the Red Tent and basically all of Phillipa Gregory’s novels….

The Patmans of Sweet Valley: All the world’s a stage

Previously on our epic Patman saga…

So Emma Elliott, in 1846, who is Sophie’s daughter, who is now sixteen, wants to be an actress after seeing one play. Her father does not approve but her mother gives her a wad of money and tells her to follow her dream to London. She says that it is because she has too many regrets in life and tells her daughter about almost eloping with Henry Patman.

So Emma changes her name to Vanessa Saxton and tries to get jobs with theater companies in the “big city”. To show she is a naive, stupid woman, and to illustrate to all of us that women who venture out on their own deserve what they get, she goes to an audition “after hours” at a theater company and the guy tries to full on rape her. She runs out the street and uh oh, is basically raped by two thugs on the street. Seriously, women should know better! They need to stay in their place!

Some nice “bobby” rescues her and takes her in the live with him and his family. He is an Irish man named Patrick O’Sullivan, and he embodies every stereotype of an Irishman. I’m surprised they don’t have him walking around with a freaking cauldron of gold coins and a little green hat. And also, let’s talk about the improbabilityof that happening- I hate when that is used as a plot device. In reality, when does anyone just take someone in and care for them? It just happened in Enchanted, it happened in Showgirls, and in countless other movies I can’t think of at the moment. Bobby Patrick is of course in love with Vanessa and she agrees to marry him because hey, he’s there and has a pulse. A little while later she meets Grady Phillips who runs a theater company and after a three-second interaction invites her to join his company and tour the world. They end up falling in love later and getting married. Patrick O’who?

This segment was boring and pointless, and annoyed me because Vanessa’s success was due to incredibly lucky situations and others swooping in and rescuing her, and nothing she does for herself.

What does this tell us about Bruce Patman? He was a flair for the drama? I don’t know.

After this it gets really good, I promise. We get into civil war politics and the underground railroad. For reals.

The Patmans of Sweet Valley: An English country estate

Have you been up at night wondering about the accomplishments of an incredibly privileged and hateful family?

Look no further. We get to meet the people that have built the Patman social strata. This one is a magna edition, which means it is over two hundred pages. I am going to split it up because the drama is so overwhelming!

So we start in an English country estate. Sophie is the daughter of the Duke. She is going swimming in her underwear. TROLLOP!! JEZEBEL!!! I am not even sure what trollop means.

So while she is swimming around, reflecting on her privileged life, a guy pops out of the trees. They have a convo that I am gonna summarize for you:

Sophie: hey, who are you?
Henry: Oh, I was just perving at you behind this tree. You look like a mermaid.
Sophie: well maybe I am
Henry: well I can see your shoes and stockings over there so you’re prolly not
Sophie: yea prolly lol
Henry: I’m Henry Patman
Sophie: I’m Sophie Edmonson
Henry: oh you’re the duke’s daughter, cool
Sophie: yea
Henry: ok gotta go, ttyl
Sophie: k bye

And from that stimulating conversation, Sophie decides she’s in love. They really really throw the word love around too much in these books. Sure, lust at first sight, but come on. I’ve had more thrilling conversations with my dentist.

The next day, the fam learns they are getting a new stable boy. Sophie’s sister Mel is swooning over him. Turns out it’s Henry Patman. Fast forward a few months, and Soph and henry are having a torrid, secret affair. When her father announces her marriage to Lord Elliott. So she and Henry decide to elope. Melanie is still jealous, reads Soph’s diary and tells on her. Lord Edmonson stops Sophie and threatens Henry and he leaves, and apparently is deported to America. Sophie ends up marrying Lord Elliott.

Then Henry Patman is in New York City, living on the streets among beggars, thieves and gangs. And it’s totally all Gangs of New York-y (awesome and underrated movie, btw). He vows to make something of himself and maybe one day finding Sophie again. He gets really good at gambling, and ends up winning a whole plantation. So he heads off the be a slave master. Great.

Whoever wrote this tried to write it in Jane Austen-esque language, and it is really embarrassing.

What does this tell us about Bruce Patman?
That his desire to see women naked in water is genetic. Now we know why he untied Jessica’s bikini top. It wasn’t his fault! It was a biological imperative!