Tag Archives: rod sullivan

SVH #89: Elizabeth Betrayed

9 May


Estimated Elapsed Time:  3 weeks


Penny Ayala gets picked to be a Washington correspondent for some arbitrary contest and needs someone to take over her editor duties on The Oracle in her absence.  She chooses Elizabeth, because reasons.  Everyone is stoked for Elizabeth, except for Olivia Davidson, who feels like she does a lot of work for the paper as well as her visual arts magazine Visions.  Further adding salt to the wound is her boyfriend Rod Sullivan’s CREEPY AS HELL obsession with everything Elizabeth Wakefield.  He brings her up constantly and keeps talking about her “special talent.”  It is seriously, seriously weird.

But then Elizabeth mentions that she has some poems to contribute to Olivia’s Earth-focused issue of Visions, and Olivia decides she’s happy for Elizabeth after all.  The two over a shared love of poetry and swap poems with each other.  Both are in total admiration of the other’s poetic abilities.  It’s a regular old lovefest.  If I were Enid, I would be super, super nervous.

At any rate, Liz struggles to run the paper as half the school is out with a flu that’s going around.  She ends up enlisting the help of Rod, who offers to write a piece for the paper.  Olivia is stunned that he’d want to write anything, because apparently he’s a pretty terrible writer, but whatever.  He writes a piece.  So does Jessica.  The paper goes out as scheduled.

Elizabeth is really struggling with an essay for Mr. Collins’s class about art, so she asks Rod to help her one day after school.  He comes onto her pretty strongly, but Elizabeth brushes it off and just feels vaguely uncomfortable.  She uses Rod’s ideas in her paper but doesn’t have time to write a second draft.  She’s ASTONISHED when she gets it back and Mr. Collins has failed her–and accused her of plagiarism.  It looks like all that stuff that Rod had told her was actually the work of a famous art critic.

When she confronts Rod about it, though, he’s super nonchalant.  He takes no responsibility for not citing the critic in his own ideas and basically is like, “too bad, lady.”  She’s distraught, especially because Mr. Collins kicks her (temporarily) off the staff of The Oracle.  She cries in her room a lot.

Jessica finally confronts Olivia about what  douchebag Rod is, and Olivia realizes she has to do something.  He’s not talking, so she digs up the article he wrote for the paper and realizes he lifted entire sections of famous people (like Jefferson) for his article.  She brings the evidence to Mr. Collins, who calls a meeting with Rod and Elizabeth.

Rod is completely unable to take the blame for any of it, but whatever.  It hardly matters.  Mr. Collins and Elizabeth have a heartfelt about plagiarism, and she’s reinstated on the school paper.  She and Olivia make up.

The B-Plot involves Jessica deciding that total brutal honesty is the only way to live life.  She tells everyone exactly what she thinks, which obviously pisses off a lot of people.  Lila decides to give her a taste of her own medicine and has everyone tell Jessica the absolute truth one day, including reminding her of every dumb thing she’s ever said or done.  I guess it works?

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • Lila straightens her hair and adds plum-colored streaks to it.  It sounds awesome, but everyone hates it.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield buy a set of crystal glasses with a matching pitcher for Ned’s (?) parents.
  • Enid and Liz joke about being Lucy and Ethel from I Love Lucy because they are 100 years old

Memorable Quotes:

  • “She was paying so little attention to everything for the last day or so that she probably wouldn’t have noticed if her classes were completely empty. ‘Of course I’ve noticed,’ she fibbed. ‘I’m a journalist. I don’t miss anything.'” (20)
  • “That hairdo makes Lila look like a Transylvanian,” she admitted. “A very expensively dressed Transylvanian.” (33) WHAT?!
  • “His eyes met hers. ‘Thank you will do just fine for now,’ he said softly. ‘Especially if I get another hug when I turn in my piece.'” (53)

A (Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

You know what the weirdest part of reading this book was?  How weird Rod is throughout it, and no one ever really calls him on it.  It’s not even clear if Olivia and Rod break up at the end of this one (unless I missed it somewhere?), which seems like a gross oversight.  I mean, he was CLEARLY HITTING ON LIZ, and everyone seems okay with this?  She does tell him “We need to talk,” but it doesn’t feel very resolute in my mind.

And Olivia is such a doormat throughout the entire book!  What is that?