A 30-something's lovingly sarcastic journey through all of Sweet Valley High, and then some (with lots of swears)

#43 Hard Choices

“BOR-ING!” ~Homer Simpson

Enid’s recently widowed grandmother, Nana/Mother/Mrs. Langevin, is coming from Chicago to live with Enid and her mom, Adele. Enid moves up to the attic and helps make everything ready, only to be astonished when her grandmother seems more like a old grump than she remembered. She finds that “Nana” seems less than pleased to have moved all the way to Sweet Valley, which shocks Enid and Adele. Well, y’all, you’re the ones who strongarmed her into leaving her own house to come stay with you in the first place.

Nana is a pain. She acts like a needy, demanding, critical, manipulative old bag. She can’t stand to be left alone in the house, so she sets things up so that Enid always has to break her plans with her friends at the last minute. She puts down Adele’s boyfriend until Adele finds herself putting off answering Richard’s marriage proposal. (By the way, Adele’s boyfriend’s name is Richard Cernak. That’s also the name of a gay porn star. I’m just sayin’.) She tells Enid she thinks Richard is an alcoholic just because he drank a glass of fucking Bourbon. She rags on Enid about her friends, saying they’re not good people for her to hang around. She says of Liz: “She seems very bossy to me, ordering everyone around.” I almost spat out my tea laughing when I read that. IT’S FUNNY ‘CAUSE IT’S TRUE.

Enid is already having problems with her boyfriend, Hugh Grayson. Who is Hugh, you ask? Well, back in book 39, Enid took him on a double date to the beach with Jeffrey and Liz. He hasn’t been mentioned since, but that’s the dude. Since he goes to Big Mesa High School, they really only see each other on the weekends, and now Nana is trying her hardest to split them apart. She throws a fit when she sees them kissing briefly. She talks Adele into not letting Enid go on an overnight (and chaperoned … although we all know that doesn’t mean shit) school field trip with Hugh’s class. Enid has to keep breaking dates with Hugh at Adele and Nana’s insistence, and he’s ready to dump her ass. Enid finally snaps and screams at her grandmother that she hates her, rather than just telling her straight up how she feels. Harsh, Enid. Harsh. But because this is Sweet Valley, her grandmother magically transforms back into her old self. She explains that she just had a hard time following her husband’s death and announces that she’s going to go ahead and uproot herself yet again to move back to Chicago. Then Hugh comes over to apologize to Enid for throwing some flowers that he’d brought her earlier on the ground (yes), and Enid introduces him to Nana and they all eat ginger snaps and play charades, and then Adele comes home and joins in the fun, and it’s all laughs and giggles and shit. Yawn.

Enid looks much prettier on this cover than she did on that of book 20. But what the fuck is she wearing? Did she just come from playing basketball? I don’t even want to get into it.

The sub-plot is all about a documentary contest that Susan Stewart’s absentee stepdad is holding. Liz gets the oh-so-brilliant idea to make a documentary about Sweet Valley, called – natch – This Is Sweet Valley. I’m sure a famous director is going to decide that the best entry he’s received is a film about some high school kids running around a little town that nobody cares about. Jessica stars as the narrator and they go and interview the mayor and Jeremy Frank and show scenes of kids clowning around. Winston chases Jessica with a fake arrow through his head and it’s left in the film for laughs. Ken actually asks him how he got the arrow out of his head, and I don’t think he’s kidding. Ken is so the stereotypical dumb jock. I hate to validate Suzanne Hanlon and her family, but come on. There’s another scene of Prince Albert getting water all over Jessica at the beach that is left in for laughs too.

Other stuff: At one point, Liz puts her hand on Enid’s knee. I swear these two have something going on. Are they going to get together in Sweet Valley Confidential? I’m not even half-joking.

Steven is described as “a freshman at a college not far from Sweet Valley.” More evidence he’s mysteriously not at SVC anymore.

We never hear if the SV documentary won the dumb contest, or if Adele ever told Richard if she would marry him or not. Not that I care, but I can’t help but notice shit like that.

I don’t like this title. I don’t see what the hard choices are. Is it about Enid being torn between her grandmother and her social life? Because that’s not really it; it’s about her being too big of a wimp to fucking say anything and stand up for herself. Her grandmother might be acting ridiculous, but holding it all in until you explode is hardly the best way to deal with it. I kind of wish Nana had slapped her in the face and called her a hussy. Ha ha!

Coming up next: Steven might be cheating on Cara with some chick. It’s probably because the chick reminds him of his dead girlfriend.


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