Adrienne BoettingerFriday,22 March 2013

The Snap:

You know how everyone has that one embarrassing thing they were into when they were young? The thing they can’t or won’t completely shake off? For some, it’s a certain game requiring the 20-sided die. For others, it’s small highlighter-colored ponies. Well, I have more than one such embarrassing thing and in a moment of extreme weakness, I succumbed. I read the sequel to the Sweet Valley High series.

The Download:

Sometimes when I get sick I like to reread books. Unable to handle the rigors of delving into a new literary world, I turn to the classics when I’m unwell. By classics, I don’t mean Austen, Dickens or Fitzgerald; I mean the classics I enjoyed in my youth. Typically this takes the form of the Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery. I admit I still love those.

During a recent stomach virus, I dug into Sweet Valley High Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal. Of course now I have to admit that I actually bought the book before I started feeling queasy. I couldn’t resist; it was in the bargain section for less than $3.00.

Spoiler Alert: If you were/are into SVH, skip the next paragraph. Just think about the Sweet Valley gang: main characters, twins Elizabeth and Jessica, and their various boyfriends, best friends and rivals.

**For the rest of you: shit gets real in Sweet Valley! First, they’re all having sex. I don’t remember that from the series but maybe my Catholic-schooled mind blocked it out like I blocked out Penny’s abortion in Dirty Dancing. Anyway, Jessica gets hitched to some dude but then cheats on him with Todd Wilkins, aka the fiancée and high school sweetheart of her twin Elizabeth. Elizabeth hates Jessica, seeks vengeance and has random sex with some writer. Winston possibly offs himself. Steven is married but gay, eventually hooking up with Aaron Dallas. And the book ends with Elizabeth having crazy sex with Bruce Patman and Jessica marrying Todd!!**

The problem with staggering down amnesia lane is that you’re different than you were when you first loved whatever it was. You can’t recreate that kind of magic. I can reread books like Anne but catching up with the SVH gang 10 years later made me incredibly sad, for their lost innocence and my own. Although this was emotionally healthier than becoming a 30-something NKOTB groupie (at least not yet), I sort of wish I hadn’t read it. If I ever want another hit of the SVH magic, I’ll check out this blog or read about a ghost writer of the series who wrote the books while earning her PhD.

Nostalgia has its place but not everything ages like a fine wine. Sometimes the sweet turns sour. Next time I’ll just watch Girls Just Wanna Have Fun or the volleyball scene from Top Gun. I can hear Kenny Loggins now…

Hat Tips:

SlateSweet Valley High ConfidentialIMDBKenyon ReviewShannon’s Sweet Valley High Blog, Image Credit: Flickr


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  1. […] in 19th Century Prince Edward Island. Basically, I either want to explore my feminine rage or be Anne of Green Gables. But this past week, it’s as if I’ve woken up in a different era. If it wasn’t sexual assault […]

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