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To think Mr Collins from the Sweet Valley High books was a tad creepy?

(230 Posts)
SamanthaBrique Sun 25-Sep-16 18:57:37

I found some SVH books in a free bookshop recently. I devoured them as s tween so thought I'd see how they stack up these days.

Apart from the twins being ridiculous (Jessica is a psychopath and Elizabeth sanctimonious) and the author's hatred of fat people, Mr Collins the English teacher was way too creepy. Why was he always hanging out with 16 year olds? Even at weekends he'd host picnics for them, he'd give up his free time to take them camping. Surely there was something dodgy going on??

HelenaDove Sun 25-Sep-16 19:01:27

I read these books as a teen in the 80s and i remember Robin Wilson the one who was picked on for being overweight but then lost the weight.

Looking back now the lack of diversity in SVH is quite shocking

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Sun 25-Sep-16 19:02:13

Was he the one who looked like a young Robert Redford?

SamanthaBrique Sun 25-Sep-16 19:04:03


HopelesslydevotedtoGu Sun 25-Sep-16 19:05:11

At SVU there is a plotline about racism, although in typical hyperbolic style there is a secret racist society and they try to throw pesky reporter Elizabeth Wakefield in an underground pit for uncovering them.

SamanthaBrique Sun 25-Sep-16 19:06:22

The later books got ridiculous, with the werewolves and vampires. I'd stopped reading them by then though!

Sancia Sun 25-Sep-16 19:07:49

Lack of diversity in 1970s/80s books? Not really 'shocking', I mean, the whole notion is a fairly modern controversy and movement. It didn't occur to people in the late 70s to be diverse. They're products of their time. I recall watching the original Ghostbuster's movies a few weeks ago and was really surprised at Winston's character - I'd not noticed the first time around how he was 'just' a janitor and got less screen time than the white stars. He himself has spoken of how he was treated differently. So, sure, modern attitudes now prevail and we aim not to repeat those sorts of behaviour, but it doesn't mean the old books/films change. They sure seem dated now, but 'shock' seems a bit strong.

The Babysitter's Club had a black character, but she was literally the only black girl in Stoneybrook and it was kind of laid out as a big deal. I'm not familiar enough with US culture to know if even as late as the 80s there might be a white town with a single black family - it would be shocking if so - but nowadays I think that kind of character would seem very old-fashioned.

Champagneformyrealfriends Sun 25-Sep-16 19:10:17

The Babysitters Club made a huge deal over how slim characters were-I remember being on holiday and reading about four of them and feeling as if maybe I ought to
lose weight hmm
I was about 12.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Sun 25-Sep-16 19:10:45

I read far too many of those books as a teenager.

I didn't understand why Francine Pascal got the cover credit for "creating" the series, yet was written by someone else. What did Francine contribute?!

Cactuar Sun 25-Sep-16 19:13:35 this website is really funny - has a critique of each book

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Sun 25-Sep-16 19:14:53

Oh yes the BSC!

And every single book had an entire chapter explaining everyone's character in detail (even if they didn't feature in that book much) and how the club worked and their Officer positions (even if irrelevant to the storyline). How many times did I need to hear that MaryAnn had two best friends and Claudia was the only one with her own telephone!

HelenaDove Sun 25-Sep-16 19:15:21

Champagne SVH made me feel similar.

Sancia yes i agree.

They also had a fair amount of misogyny in them reflected in the way Annie Whitman and Betsy Martin were treated.

alphabook Sun 25-Sep-16 19:17:45

I remember in the Babysitters Club they all had defining personality characteristics - Kristy was bossy, Mary Anne was shy, Claudia was creative, Stacey was "sophisticated" (eyeroll), Dawn was a hippie, Mallory was nerdy and Jessi All she was was black.

PaulAnkaTheDog Sun 25-Sep-16 19:18:09

I loved SVH. The Evil Twin was excellent. I was so looking forward to Liz being offed! Gutted it didn't happen. Did anyone read the follow up from SVH that came out a couple years ago? What a disappointment!

HelenaDove Sun 25-Sep-16 19:19:13

"Did Sweet Valley High screw me up?"

PaulAnkaTheDog Sun 25-Sep-16 19:20:21

Wasn't Jessi the one with all the siblings, so good with kids? Yes the diversity aspect was there but I don't think she was described as black and that's it.

HelenaDove Sun 25-Sep-16 19:22:03

Paul You mean Sweet Valley Confidential which came out five years ago........yes and it was bloody awful.

I would say it was the worst book ive ever read but that honour goes to Adele Parks for Men Ive Loved Before. ............reproductive coercion dressed up as romance.

HelenaDove Sun 25-Sep-16 19:23:56

I didnt read The Babysitters Club but i did read a few of the Cheerleaders series. I remember a character called Mary Ellen who was picked on for being poor

Grittyshunts Sun 25-Sep-16 19:26:05

I read SVH and yes the teacher was creepy!!! Did anyone else read Judy Blume's books? They were my favourite!! Ahhh the good old days!

Champagneformyrealfriends Sun 25-Sep-16 19:27:24

PaulAnka iirc that was Mallory. She was about 12 but she was still allowed to babysit.

Champagneformyrealfriends Sun 25-Sep-16 19:28:43

God yes helena-I found "Men I've Loved Before" so bloody tiresome.

HelenaDove Sun 25-Sep-16 19:28:58

Francine Pascal also did a series called Caitlin. It started off as a trilogy but was eventually 9 books in total so 3 trilogies.

There was a character called Diana in the early books who had anorexia and Caitlin had bullied her but then felt guilty about it so went to help out at the clinic where she was and discovered her biological dad was working there. the character was Caitlin Ryan Her gran who brought her up was Regina Ryan because Caitlins mum died when she was young. Caitlin had a boyfriend called Jed.

HelenaDove Sun 25-Sep-16 19:29:57

YY Champagne I was disgusted by it.

Fluffyears Sun 25-Sep-16 19:31:57

Mallory was the one with about 12 siblings in BSC. Jessica was also a ballerins probably cos they had to do something with her character.

Champagneformyrealfriends Sun 25-Sep-16 19:32:56

Helena with MILB I just remember thinking "why couldn't she just have not wanted children and that be that?! Why did she take him back? Wtf?

I was so disappointed in Parks.

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