SVH #52: White Lies

10 Jun

Estimated Elapsed Time: 3 weeks


John Pfeifer is upset about the fact that his friend Jennifer Mitchell is dating high-school dropout and all-around douche canoe Rick Andover.  The fact that John is in love with Jennifer comes into play here as well.  Anyway, Elizabeth notices that he’s distracted and moody, and when she presses him, he tells her how worried about Jennifer he is.  He thinks she’s planning to run away to New York City with Rick, and he wants to stop her.  Liz and John follow Rick to Mellow Music one night and see him rob the store.  They call the owner, who calls the police, and Rick is arrested.

Jennifer finds out about Rick’s arrest and is pretty upset.  She refuses to believe that Rick would do anything as pedestrian as robbing a store, and she convinces herself that her father overheard a phone conversation with Rick and framed him for the robbery as a result.  She decides that she hates her father and cries a lot, and when he ends up sick in the hospital, she refuses to go see him.

John is distraught and blames himself for being the reason that Jennifer is so angry with her father.  This plot makes absolutely no sense.  He confides in Elizabeth, who urges him to come clean with Jennifer.  It takes a really long time, but he finally does, and Jennifer FREAKS THE FUCK OUT and pretty much blames him for being the reason her dad needs bypass surgery.  What?  Liz drives her to the hospital, but Jennifer’s dad is already in surgery.  There’s a lot of crying.

Jennifer’s dad comes out of the surgery just fine, but Jennifer is still really pissed at John.  Liz goes back to the hospital and pretends that some flowers and a card are from John.  Jennifer almost throws them out, but then doesn’t.  Liz convinces Jennifer to talk to John.  The two make up, and I think we’re supposed to believe that they start dating.  This part is unclear, as there is absolutely no chemistry between the two characters.

The B-Plot: Jessica and A.J. are having some troubles making their relationship work.  Jessica wants to go to Dana’s party, but A.J. had made plans for them to have dinner at his family’s house.  She wheedles him into agreeing with her at every turn, about the most mundane, stereotypical things.  Liz shakes her head disapprovingly whenever she thinks about how different Jessica and A.J. are, but she keeps her mouth shut about it.  Jessica denies that there’s anything wrong with her relationship with A.J.  Is…is this really a plot?

Memorable Quotes:

  • “Pushing herself up off the bed, Jessica sauntered over to the mirror and critically examined her face.  ‘My theory about men is that you have to make them do what you want,’ she explained.” (46)
  • “Not having an older sibling to turn to for advice and friendship had to be a lonely way to grow up, she thought, especially for an underprivileged child.” (110)  [Blogger’s Note: Man, FUCK YOU, Elizabeth!]

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • Elizabeth’s idea of a perfect Friday night in is reading Hemingway’s short stories while drinking a cup of cocoa.  I’m a total bibliphile, and even I want to shake her for that one.
  • Rick Andover steals a Fender Stratocaster and a bunch of money from the music store
  • The fact that Elizabeth is learning to play the recorder is mentioned in this book, a rare moment of continuity from books 46 and 47

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

What I’m realizing, you guys, is that the books about tertiary characters are not very compelling for me.  I much prefer the books that focus solely on the twins themselves.  That being said, getting through these books about characters like Jennifer are made worse by the fact that we’ll never see these characters again (except for a cameo at the Dairi Burger or something).  This book is particularly awful for two reasons: Jennifer is an incredibly annoying character; and John Pfeifer’s personality will change so drastically from this book to one about 40 books from now that it’s hard to take it seriously.

Throughout much of the book, Jennifer complains about the fact that her parents treat her like a baby.  The problem is, she acts like a total diaper baby.  She snaps at her parents and bursts into tears at the slightest provocation.  She lies and refuses to see reason about Rick, about her father, and about John.  While we’re supposed to believe that her delusions about Rick come from naivete and blind infatuation, so little time or care is given to the storyline that it’s hard to care.  It’s like the ghostwriter didn’t care about it at all.  If the author doesn’t care about a plot point, how can the reader be expected to?

We’ll deal with John later.

Next up: Kristin Thompson is a star tennis player.  We’re supposed to care.


3 Responses to “SVH #52: White Lies”

  1. snarkvalley June 10, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    Great recap! I agree that these books about the secondary characters are tiring. I hate that we’re supposed to give a damn about who Jennifer Mitchell or Kristin Thompson et al are. I remember the 50s books as being particularly bad.

    • Clementine Bojangles June 10, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      As a motivational tool, I keep reminding myself that the faster I slog through these books, the sooner I get to read “Who’s Who?” which might be my favorite SVH book of all time.

      OF ALL TIME.


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

    […] the stories of C and D-list characters (Ronnie’s gambling issues, totally-not-a-rapist-yet John Pfeifer and his jealousy over Jennifer Mitchell, Kristin Thompson and tennis).  Jessica recounts cheating on A.J. with some dude and subsequently […]

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