SVH #46: Decisions

18 Nov

Estimated Elapsed Time: 2 weeks

Summary/Overview:

Robin Wilson has been accepted early decision to Sarah Lawrence.  The book goes on and on about how she has to have the perfect grades to get into college a year early, and I want to throw the book against the wall, because “early decision” does not mean that you decide to go to college a year early.  It means that you apply early in your senior year and you are locking yourself into attending that school if you get in.  OKAY?  At any rate, Robin’s aunt has pushed her into going to Sarah Lawrence, because she’s an alumna and will pay for Robin to go.  Robin’s mom also pushes her to go there, because it’s a full ride.  Robin isn’t sure if she wants to go.  She waffles about this without actually weighing the pros and cons for the entire book.

Things go from bad to worse when her boyfriend George Warren blows up at her about even thinking about going to college across the country.  Robin hadn’t told him, so she assumes that her best friend Annie Whitman did, and the two have a fight.  Robin feels terrible, and it’s affecting her diving abilities, which is bad, because there’s a huge competition coming up.  To add serious insult to injury, Robin’s aunt Fiona comes into town and freaks out when Robin says she isn’t sure about Sarah Lawrence.  She also disparages diving as a sport and acts like a total snob.  She tells Robin that if she doesn’t go to SL, she’ll never see another penny from her.

Robin’s not doing well during the warm-ups at the diving competition because she’s so depressed.  When she sees George pull her family into the bleachers, she feels a swell of confidence and totally rocks the diving competition.  Afterward, Robin and Annie make up, George and Robin make up, and Robin and her aunt make up.  Fiona tells her she’ll pay for college wherever she wants to go.

The B-Plot has to do with Jessica getting a babysitting job for the Kane family.  She ends up falling for Alex Kane, the little girl’s older brother.  Alex is a serious musician trying to work on his senior composition, and when Jessica can’t seem to get his attention, she decides to become a musical prodigy…using a plastic recorder.  The problem is, Jessica’s terrible.  She can’t get it to work right, and nothing seems to catch Alex’s attention.  When she fakes a fainting spell, he’s concerned, and then he starts to tell her that once he’s done with grad school, maybe they could date, she decides she’s no longer interested and that’s the end of that.

Also, Liz discovers that she’s really good at the recorder, but she doesn’t want to step on Jessica’s toes, so she angsts about whether or not she can take it up as a hobby.  Jessica doesn’t care though, so Liz decides to pursue it.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “‘Don’t worry,’ Robin said.  ‘Every time I go to diving practice and see myself in a bathing suit, I say, “Don’t eat–don’t eat.” So far it’s worked.'” (10-11)
  • “Obviously the way to this man’s heart was through music, she reasoned.  So it was equally obvious that although she had no ear for music, sang off-key, and had never wanted to learn to play an instrument, Jessica had to become a serious musician.  It was as simple as that.” (19)
  • “Sometimes she felt like living with her impetuous twin was like being part of a soap opera!” (28) [Did they just break the fourth wall?]

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • Robin has two little brothers: Troy (8th grade) and Adam (9th grade)
  • Aunt Fiona carries Gucci luggage and favors chunky jewelry with semiprecious stones

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

There are so many things wrong with this story that I feel overwhelmed every time I try to begin to analyze it.  Let’s start with the issue of Robin herself: her weight is still mentioned constantly, she lets people walk all over her, and she can’t seem to make up her mind about anything.  Is this the strong-minded girl who turned down PBA after they decided to take her once she was skinny?  I mean, she’s always been weird about her weight, but since when does she let George yell at her and make her feel like shit?  Ugh.

Also, the issue of Aunt Fiona: the woman is a caricature of what an overbearing adult is supposed to be.  The woman is like every bad stereotype pop culture has ever had of a wealthy, privileged woman who tries to enforce her own ideas about life onto other people.  She uses her money as a weapon and maintains her power by making everyone else around her feel stupid, small, and uncultured.  This is Sweet Valley, so we know that she’s going to have a change of heart by the end of the book, but she’s so obnoxious that the ending isn’t cathartic so much as disappointing.  I wanted Robin to push her into the pool or something.

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2 Responses to “SVH #46: Decisions”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. SVH #52: White Lies « A Critical Analysis of Sweet Valley's Most Famous Twins - June 10, 2011

    […] is learning to play the recorder is mentioned in this book, a rare moment of continuity from books 46 and […]

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

    […] her secret non-relationship with Todd.  Jessica reminds us about how smart Robin Wilson is (she got into Sarah Lawrence a whole year early despite that not being how it works at all).  Then Jessica gossips about Julie Porter and Bruce […]

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