Thursday, March 08, 2007

Karamu, Fiesta, Forever, Come On and Sing Along...


When I was in third grade I started reading the Sweet Valley High books. I've talked about them here before. Actually, Mark's one guest entry was about the magic that is Sweet Valley High. The SVH books were all numbered, and being the inflexible taskmaster that I am, of course I had to read them in order. By the time I was a devoted fan there were already a bunch of them out. Unlike the Sweet Valley Twins series (same twins, only younger); I'd eagerly look for the latest Twins book every time I went into Evergreen Books. I can still remember the JOY!!! I'd feel rounding the corner and seeing a new one. What color would it be? What would the picture on the front be? Oh my gosh! This one's about Elizabeth and how she's helping someone! And it's PURPLE!

Back to Sweet Valley High. I don't know why my parents let me read a book that was blatantly about high schoolers when I was a child, but whatever, maybe you're just happy your kid is reading. Anyway, I finished number four (Power Play, if you're interested) and was ready for number five (All Night Long, shown above). My dad and I were at the bookstore. I picked it off the shelf. He read the title, saw the man (!) with the mustache embracing the high school girl and that was it. It was a no go. I can't blame the guy, but I was stricken. I had to skip number five and move straight on to number six (Dangerous Love). Which was not really that dangerous, as it was about that vanilla kiss-ass Elizabeth.

I never really moved past All Night Long. It became my obsession. I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep... no, just kidding. I was eight. I was probably distracted by something shiny and forgot about it two seconds later. But still. I never found out if Jessica stayed out all night long, or if she was as grown up as she thought she was. And I wanted to know.

Which is why I was delighted to go through the pile of rejected books donated for my school's used book fair today. The librarian pointed me in the direction of books that didn't make the cut. Turns out censorship can be really fun! There was a book about a horse being dissected (?!) and... All Night Long! Had my dad gone through the stack and taken this one out, still trying to protect me from it?

Thinking this would be a hilarious anecdote from my childhood, I called my dad at work.

Dad: [First name, last name] [By the way, this is a totally unfriendly way to answer your phone.]
Me: [First name, same last name]
Dad: Hi.
Me: What's up?
Dad: I don't know. [I love my dad. He ALWAYS answers "what's up?" with "I don't know." It's because he's waiting for ME to tell HIM what's up. I can't explain why it amuses me, but it does.]
Me: Guess what I found in my school library!
Dad: What?
Me: Remember that book you wouldn't let me read? The Sweet Valley high book?
Dad: You had all of them.
Me: I had all but ONE. It was called All Night Long and you decided it was too scandalous. You wouldn't let me buy it. Remember?
Dad: No.
Me: Oh. Well, this isn't quite as special a moment as I had hoped.


Darren McLikeshimself said...

You passed up a book about a dissected horse for a story about a high school girl who stays out past curfew?!

stefanie said...

That is hilarious.

Would you believe I never actually read a single one of those books? I remember seeing them in the book order fliers we got at school, but I never even tried to order one. I think I knew my mother would confiscate it immediately anyway. After all, this is the woman who forbid me from watching "The Facts of Life" and "Gimme a Break" for a brief period when she was trying to shield me from all mentions of s-e-x.

-R- said...

The picture on the cover on the book is so pervy!

Wavemancali said...

Don't you hate it when your live defining moments never register in the minds of those so close to you?

Similar thing happened to me at a reunion of friends that I had hung out with since grade 3. I am recounting the story of the time they put my bicycle in a tree and only one of them vaguely remembered it.

3carnations said...

I never read any of those, either. I liked teenage thrillers more than teenage romances - Christopher Pike was my author of choice.

Too funny that your dad didn't remember...I guess it just goes to show that the things that seemed like they were oh-so-important to us in our teens were just another blip on the radar to our parents. Oh well.

Paisley said...

EEW - the stash is GROSS. What was Jessica thinking?

My parents let me watch The Shining, Prom Night (decapitation!), some movie about grizzly bears eating people and all sorts of crap. But The Exorcist? Nah - too violent! (I was 8)

:) Yay to your dad. I think that's cute.

Single Jen said...

Oh, you brought me back to my childhood. SVH rocked, but I wasn't aloud to read ANY of them. I had to sneak them.

But then again, I wasn't aloud to have a Ken doll either. My parents were afraid I would make my barbies have sex. I did it anyway. And that made them lesbians. They should've just let me have Ken.

kate said...

OMG, I love a happy ending. And a man with a full moustache. I was flat-out banned from that entire series, and Judy Blume books.

Can you get me a copy for Forever if it comes in the reject pile? I still need to find out what this sex business is all about.

don't call me MA'AM said...

Ohmigod, that had me laughing so hard! (again, at my desk.... not a good thing).

The mustache reminds me of one of the Village People.

I didn't read SVH, but I sneaky-read all the Judy Blume books. SOMEONE had to tell me the facts of life. Judy did a pretty good job. Oh, and Paul Zindel. Let me know if you find "My Darling, My Hamburger." That is a teenage essential that I will probably force my kids to read. haha

Rosie Mack said...

I was just talking about the Sweet Valley High books the other day with a friend! Do you remember how the author (Francine Pascal?) always used the same line in every book to describe Elizabeth and Jessica: they were blond, blue-eyed twins who were both a perfect size 6. They each wore an identical necklace with a comb charm. Don't ask me why I remember this?!?

How much do you want for the book? Ha, ha.

Greg said...

Yeah, that book totally looks like porn. Ha ha ha.