Thursday, 3 January 2008

I gave into Sweet Valley Nostalgia

Possibly the fluffiest, most unrealistic and most forgettable set of books I read part of the series of, I rememebered recently, and I admit I started googling references to today.

I don't know if any others out there will have heard of or remember a series called Sweet Valley High created by Francine Pascal, but it's a world somewhat like the Beverley Hills world in "Clueless", without the comedy. The stories are based on two impossibly beautiful twin girls, who are not meant to be rich, but somehow have every material comfort that they wish for and loads of makeup and can afford to go to parties all the time. Oh damn, the downside is they aren't the kids in school to own their own personal Porsche, but life deals everyone its rough cards.

The twins are called Jessica and Elizabeth - You're suppposed to think of Jessica as the bad twin and Liz as the good twin, but in reality you often want to kick both. Jessica is selfish and scheming, and Liz, for all her supposed smartness, gets taken in by her sister and plays her fall girl. Liz also is annoyingly passive. Their parents don't show signs of aging, and the many people in the book seem to be stunningly good looking. The stories are often sensationalised and extremely soap opera stupid.

There's a class clown, a set of jocks (that's sports crazy guys, not underwear, though they can be easily mixed up by women), the richest babes and men in town, and a parade of airbrushed hunks to keep Jessica amused. Schemes and tricks as they try to sneak off to parties, bail each other out of terrifying accidents and situations, and steal boyfriends. And have wardrobe malfunctions!

For some reason, though these were fun to read, perhaps because you knew you didn't have to think or care. You closed the book and wondered ..."Oh ... something happened to ... Jess ... right ... actuallly, who cares?" and comfortably went to sleep.

However the books were hugely successful, and caused a lot of speculation, and probably people like me guiltily googling them. They followed the twins from first grade to University. And there is even some talk about some series about them into their twenties/thirties. Now, that mightn't be quite beating the success Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are set for, but it's close. And who knows who will last?

One such site is this, The Lint Ball: SVH where the author ponders whether the twins were actually lesbians.

What I am waiting for is "Sweet Valley Retirement Village". Jessica steals that handsome hunk of a ninety year old from the loyal Elizabeth who stayed by his side since ... first grade? Their parent haven't aged a bit, so they now look younger than the twins. Instead of worrying over their boob jobs and mascara, it's their haemerrhoids and whether their dentures will stay in place to attract that gorgeous mortician that visits for the weekly rounds that's the hot topic for conversation - that is, when they can get their voices above a croak.

And Bruce Patman has abandoned his Porsche for the hottest suped-up electronic wheelchair with all the features. Come on Francine Pascal - you know this series will work.


nailpolishblues said...

I recently discovered a blog devoted to trashing The Babysitter's Club - book by book. It was fantastic. And funny.

I love it when people turn on books from their youth.

Maria said...

Hmmm, the blog I mentioned in my post devoted quite a bit of its time to The Babysitter's Club too!

I'm quite attached to some of the books from my youth and not to others. SVH is an example of not others. Even the ones I'm attached to, many I realise is a foolish attachment.

I think it has something to do with "I spent all my pocket money on that junk to furnish your beach house - now take THAT!"

Maria said...

I read some of the comments on Amazon about some of the Sweet Valley books "This was the saddest book ever written - FIVE STARS! - I cried!"

I think they were devoted to ... errh, the book when Elizabeth takes a bike ride home without wearing a helmet (majorly stupid after being warned several times not to, and her cousin had died before doing the exact same thing) and she goes into a coma after an accident. Of course we know Liz is going to survive - it's only about the seventh book in the series! (I think!)

And then I think the same sort of reviews were about a rare, earth shattering devastation of inane proportions, emotions and a situation the human mind can hardly conceive of, when Elizabeth might have to leave College to pursue a writing career in another city and say goodbye to her friends and her boyfriend. But she doesn't go in the end, she stays.

Gee, I bet that book had a really tragic chapter about how she got ripped off with low-quality mascara, too.