Perfect Size Six

June 20, 2016

#27 Lovestruck

 “Will Suzanne succeed in changing Ken?”

Oh, I love how pretentious this book is! (I mean, just to give you some idea of how hipster-rific it is, a college beatnik and an Ingmar Bergman movie serve as major plot devices.)

Sweet Valley’s star quarterback, Ken Matthews, is dating uber-wealthy Suzanne “Hands-Off” Hanlon, and every one seems to have a problem with it. Jessica hates Suzanne, presumably because she’s beautiful, smart, and rich. Liz dislikes her because she’s “aloof & snobby,” but she admits that she finds every one in their high school sorority to be like that.  (Um, every girl in Sweet Valley High except like 5 nerds/dregs/ poor people are in Pi Beta Alpha, so she must dislike most of the female population of SVH.)

What amazes me the most is that: 1) Some one who knows Jessica Wakefield in all her lazy, sociopathic glory still decides to put her in charge of the charity picnic. 2) Jessica easily convinces a non-concussed Elizabeth Wakefield to man the kissing booth! (first base all day!) and write poster copy (and probably do all the work). Jess gets Ken to man the other kissing booth. Seriously, the idea of kissing booths is so gross, both for the kiss-er and the kiss-ee.

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Well, the whole shindig might be ruined because Ken Matthews is failing English, and he might not be able to play in the big football game against Palisades High. Even Jessica is mystified at how stupid Ken must be to be getting an F in Mr. Collins’ creative writing class. Ken is embarrassed because Suzanne is extremely smart, so he doesn’t mention it to her. But the more time he spends with her, the more time he spends neglecting his schoolwork. It’s a vicious cycle of stupidity.

That night, Suzanne invites Ken to dinner with her family at their palatial,  southern-plantation style home (imagine Gone with the Wind). The décor is all white (think Miami Vice drug dealers.) They’re greeted by the surly butler, who Ken mistakenly thinks is Suzanne’s father, and the evening pretty much goes downhill from there.

Suzanne tells Ken not to mention football at dinner because her father hates sports, and he thinks schools focus too much on them. A-fucking-men, Mr. Hanlon! What will Ken talk about, though? The entirety of his thought process is the o-line or d-line or whatever.

tumblr_nfwx97TOJ81ql5yr7o1_500Meanwhile at the table, Suzanne’s family is busy quoting Shakespeare for fun. Dinner is ultra formal, with fine silver, china, etc.  Ken apparently eats like a savage, has an unrefined palette, and can barely hold even the most basic of conversations. Thank goodness he’s hot and can play football.

The next night, Suzanne and Ken go with her hipster friends to see The Seventh Seal at the Plaza Theatre. (It’s a black-and-white, existential Swedish film set during medieval plague times that serves as a meditation on life, death, and God.) Ken thinks it’s a total joke, while Suzanne and her friends are moved to contemplative silence. One of Suzanne’s friends is Sweet Valley’s own hipster beatnik, Mark Andrews, a pony-tail sporting film student at Sweet Valley College, who’s obviously trying to woo Suzanne. He’s a total asshole. (I hate when people use intelligence and culture as some sort of weapon.) Mark makes Ken feel like shit because he doesn’t understand the movie and confuses director Ingmar Bergman with actress Ingrid Bergman. (Yeah, what an asshole.)

The next night Suzanne and Ken are attending the literary evening that Suzanne has helped organize. It’s more like a glorified open mic night for bad teen poetry. Liz proceeds to shit talk 99% of the roster, while she is, of course, the star of the night.

Elizabeth is shady as shit: “Elizabeth was happy for Suzanne that there had been such a good turnout, but she wondered whether it was because of the readings or because there wasn’t much else to do on a Wednesday night.”
tumblr_magk2fKZyc1qiw26mAnd lest we forget, Ken is still failing his English class and hasn’t even written so much as his name on a sheet of paper. Liz, of course, decided to stick her nose in Ken’s business earlier in the book and offered to tutor him. Liz’s idea of helping Ken is to give him one of her stories (and its notes, rough drafts, etc.) for inspiration. Titled “The New Kid,” it’s five pages about a boy moving from New York City to Sweet Valley, who realizes what a wondrous utopia he’s stumbled onto. (*Gag*)  Liz makes Ken promise not to show it to anyone, because she’s shy about showing this side of her writing. Ken decides to totally disregard her feelings,  and he turns in the story as his own. To be fair, I guess, he feels really bad about it.

Well, the story is a hit with Mr. Collins, and he decides to publish it in the special edition Centennial edition of the Oracle. Elizabeth is furious but doesn’t rat him out. Ken decides that he’s going to make things right by replacing Liz’s story with one of his own. It plays out like creative non-fiction, and it’s essentially a confession to stealing Liz’s story.

Suzanne dumps him because she’s embarrassed that she told every one what a great writer he was, when in fact he’s a fraud. Every one else is supportive, and Mr. Collins even gives him a good enough grade to pass and play football. Sweet Valley wins the big game, and Suzanne comes crawling back. Ken dumps her for good when he realizes that she’s still an uber-snob, who wants to change him.

B-Plot: Jessica’s in change of the charity picnic, and everything naturally goes wrong. The hundreds of posters she ordered to advertise the event have the wrong date on them (her fault, of course.) She forgets to confirm the food order with catering, so now they have no food for all of the paying customers. She proceeds to make hundreds of PB&J sandwiches, which unintentionally cuts the food budget to almost nothing, meaning more money for the charitable cause. They actually publicly recognize her for her cost-cutting! And she proceeds to make a speech saying that this was her plan all along. Ugh.

hemingway_stamp_700English Major Moment: “‘I know you can pull that grade up, Ken,’ Jessica said brightly, ‘With old Hemingway Wakefield helping you, you can’t miss.'”

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