Perfect Size Six

August 1, 2010

#4 Power Play (or Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels)

Power PlayThe Wakefield twins have taken sides ——against each other! (This cover has a bit of a twincestuous air. Like, I expect making out in 1.37 seconds.)

Eventual Moral of the story: If you can’t beat ’em, get really skinny, beat ’em, then join ’em.

If you weren’t drinking the “perfect-size-six” kool-aid before, let me pour you a drink, for it’s time for#4 Power Play. Robin Wilson has set her sights on becoming a member of Pi Beta Alpha, the most exclusive sorority at Sweet Valley High (and the only one ever mentioned. How awesome would it have been to have some some sort of upstart sorority rivalry?)

Robin is somehow under the delusion that she and Jessica, the president of Pi Beta Alpha, are best friends. This could never be because Robin is a fat, fat, fatty. There are literally dozens of catty references to her size. Even Liz isn’t above commenting on her weight. I especially wanted to vomit when Liz notices, for the first time, that behind all the layers of fat, Robin had a “pretty face.”

The reason for her obesity is obvious to the  perfect size sixes around her. She doesn’t have a metabolic or thyroid disorder, and she’s not big boned. Our girl Robin just likes to eat and always has the equivalent of a dessert buffet in her bag. In fact, if you were stranded on a desert island with Robin’s purse (much like Jessica in #56 Lost at Sea), you’d probably survive an extra week on all the food that appears to be in there. To make fat matters worse, she wears tent dresses. The horror!

To get into Pi Beta Alpha, Robin has to accomplish three might-as-well-be-Herculean tasks. 1)Run laps with the entire Sweet Valley High populace looking on 2) Wear a bikini to the beach and play a spirited game of volleyball and 3) get Bruce Patman to take her to the dance (!!!) It’s as bad as it sounds. It’s like a several-chapters-long exercise in embarrassment.

Illustrative quotes:

“Don’t fall down, Wilson. You’ll dent the track!”

“Don’t you think dear Robin looks très chic in her gray sweat shorts and tank top?” Lila contributed. “So perfect for that round body, n’est-ce pas?” Et tu, Lila!!

“Way to go, Wilson,” Bruce jeered. “Anyone into blubber would call your moves awesome.”

Of course, Liz interferes at every turn, in the guise of “helping” Robin. She bribes Bruce into accepting Robin’s invitation to the dance. His price: an article in the Oracle (with picture, natch) detailing his exploits on the tennis field.

We all know that this is not going to end well, which is quickly confirmed when Bruce ditches Robin at the door of the dance and says to everyone:

“OK, that’s it. I brought you to the dance, Tubby. I’ve got better things to do now. Hey! Anybody want to steer the Queen Mary around the floor tonight? She’s all yours!”


Seriously, Robin is just continuously shit upon for 3/4 of the book. After passing the PBA hazing ritual with flying colors, Robin is still blackballed from the sorority (by Jessica, of course). Seriously, if any Sweet Valley book should have had a Carrie ending, it was this one. Instead of taking revenge on the sorority girls, Robin goes on the most exhaustive, physically insupportable diet ever. It involves engaging in continuous exercise and enjoying meals of lettuce, two slices of tomato, and a hard-boiled egg. Subsequent editions should have had a warning: Do not try this at home, kids.

Finally, she reaches a satisfactory weight and instantly transforms into one of the most popular girls at school. Now, she’s Miss Sweet Valley High and co-captain of the cheerleading squad, and she gets to tell Pi Beta Alpha to shove it (so to speak). She’s also dating one of the only nerds in Sweet Valley, Allen Walters. Happy ending? Apparently not, because Robin develops a wicked eating disorder in #74 The Perfect Girl.

B plot line: Lila is a klepto! Liz suspects that something is rotten in Sweet Valley when Lila keeps giving Jessica expensive presents. Lila is wealthy, and Jessica is her best friend. I don’t really understand why this would be a matter of concern. Well, Liz’s school reporter’s instinct is never wrong, so it turns out that Lila has been pilfering expensive, imported goods from the Valley mall. How déclassée, Lila! Cue the poor-little-rich-girl defense. Daddy Fowler is always away on business, so Lila’s stealing is a cry for help. I snark, but this is probably one of my favorite B plots of the whole series.

Nerdy English major moment:

“Robin, I know it’s none of my business, but how are you doing?”

“Fine. In fact, super. Do you remember when we had to read The Iliad? Remember the part where the Greeks and Trojans are under the spell of one of the gods?”

“Excuse me?” Elizabeth stammered, wondering if Robin really was falling apart.

“You should read it over again,” Robin said. “Especially the part where the person comes out of the spell and finally sees clearly.”

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