SVH #43: Hard Choices

24 Oct

Estimated Elapsed Time: 3 (hellish) weeks


Enid’s grandmother is coming to live with her and her mom, Adele.  Enid is really excited about this because her grandmother is totally spunky and awesome.  She and Adele bend over backward to accommodate Nana; Enid even moves her bedroom up  to the attic and they redo her old room to make it better for her grandmother.  But when Nana arrives, Enid is crushed to see that she’s not like she remembers at all: she’s frail and needy and it’s really hard to be in the same room as her.

Nana is making both Enid and Adele totally miserable.  She nitpicks about everything, harps on about how she doesn’t want to be a bother (usually while being the epitome of a bother), hates Enid’s friends and boyfriend Hugh Grayson, hates Adele’s boyfriend, and just generally blows.  Enid and her mother butt heads over the care of Nana, and Enid seems to get stuck taking care of her a lot.  The two women seem reluctant to leave her alone, and it isn’t long before Nana is playing into this and causing all sorts of problems.

Things come to a boil on the night of the big documentary party at the Wakefield’s house.  Enid is supposed to go and premiere the movie that she helped make, but Adele has to attend an awards ceremony with her boyfriend, Richard.  Nana insists on not being left alone, and when Adele leaves, Enid blows up at Nana, telling her how selfish she’s been.  After her teary confession, she leaves the house and goes to the party, where she and Liz talk and sort things out.

Upon arriving back at her house, Enid is stunned to find her grandmother making ginger snaps in the kitchen.  The two talk, cry, and hug it out.  Hugh joins them, and then Adele comes home and Nana tells them all that she’s going back to Chicago to work things out.  They are all, I think, quite relieved.

The B-Plot involves Jackson Croft, famed movie director, holding a short-film contest for students.  Elizabeth decides to make a documentary about how awesome Sweet Valley is, and she enlists the help of Jeffrey, Enid, and Jessica, who will narrate it.  The foursome trek all over Sweet Valley and cobble together an absolutely rip-roaringly hilarious look at how wonderful it is to live in Sweet Valley.  The premiere party is a rousing success.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “Mrs. Langevin looked toward the house and set her mouth in a grim line.  ‘So many steps to the front door,’ she murmured faintly.” (16) [Blogger’s note: We’re not even 20 pages in, and already I’m screaming, “PUT THIS WOMAN IN A HOME ALREADY!”]
  • “Near the lifeguard station cheerleaders Sandra Bacon and Jean West were practicing handstands and cartwheels.  Their boyfriends, Manuel Lopez and Tom McKay, watched admiringly.” (26) [This is creepy, right?]
  • “‘No, Enid.  There’s a program on after dinner I want to see.  But really,’ her grandmother continued, sounding wounded, ‘if you’d rather spend your time having fun with your friends, I understand.  I can see how your friends might be more important to you than I am.'” (96)

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • As if we needed any more evidence that everyone hates Enid: the first storyline she gets after being paralyzed in a plane crash involves her bitchy grandmother?  That’s the best they could do?
  • One of the most popular songs in the Droids’ repertoire is called “Meltdown.”
  • Enid wears a green halter dress with white sandals to the beach disco.  This bothers me for some reason.

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

You know what’s so annoying about this book?  The fact that I actually felt sympathetic for Enid.  Yeah, I know.  When I read a Sweet Valley High novel, I don’t want to feel sorry for Enid.  The situation with her grandmother, as overblown and improbable as it is, still sucks.  Enid is trying to be a good granddaughter, and she’s understandably upset and confused about her grandmother’s completely melodramatic, manipulative behavior.

But she’s also spent enough time with Elizabeth and Jessica that she should see the signs of manipulation.  Her grandmother’s manipulation is ridiculous.  Even Enid’s mom seems to see it (although she doesn’t seem to do anything to put a stop to it).  It’s easier for Adele to let Enid be manipulated and go on with her life than to deal with the borderline abuse happening in the house.  Whatever, Sweet Valley.  I’m over this book.


One Response to “SVH #43: Hard Choices”


  1. SVH Magna Edition: Jessica’s Secret Diary, Vol. II | A Critical Analysis of Sweet Valley's Most Famous Twins - August 21, 2015

    […] Enid might be grappling with generational issues in her family, but who cares? Jessica helps Liz make a documentary about Sweet Valley for an arbitrary contest and Jessica writes back to Todd for whatever reason.  Then, when Steven and Cara are sort of starting something up if only Steven can get over dead Tricia Martin, Jessica hears back from Todd.  This is seriously so boring.  Thank god for email, amirite?  Then Jessica reminds us that the Wakefields have a cousin who could basically be their sister, and she’s kind of effed up over some family drama. […]

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