December 16, 2010

SVH #69, Friend Against Friend: This Book is So Depressing

Posted in books tagged at 10:18 pm by Jenn

I can't be the only one who thinks they look like they're going to make out

Summary: Neil Freemount (AKA Penny’s secret admirer) is friends with a guy named Andy, who’s black. (Yes, they have black people in Sweet Valley. Who knew?) A huge waste of DNA named Charlie Cashman starts harassing Andy because of his race, and though Neil finds his behavior appalling, he feels like he needs to be nice to Charlie because their parents are friends. (Oh, and their dads are both racist, too.) Even though Andy obviously doesn’t deserve to be treated the way he’s treated, he’s kind of annoying about it, telling Neil that he doesn’t need any support from white people, like, dude, there are only two black people in town who could support you.

Charlie keeps harassing Andy and they wind up in a physical fight at school. Then Charlie and his friends attack Andy in a parking lot, actually beating him unconscious. Neil’s so ticked at Andy for being annoying and rejecting his support that he hits Andy while he’s unconscious, but immediately feels horrible about it. Everyone knows Charlie was behind the assault, but they can’t prove it, and Andy won’t say who attacked him. He does, however, think that Neil actually chased the guys off and got him help.

Neil goes to Andy’s house to tell him the truth, but Andy’s ready to be friends again, and Neil doesn’t get the words out. Then back at school, Charlie threatens to tell the police that Neil attacked Andy unless Neil helps him with another assault. Ultimately, Neil tells Andy that he hit him, which drives Andy away again, and though Penny reacts the same way to the news, she realizes that she needs to at least listen to his side of things. Wait, no happy ending? Am I reading the right series?

The other parts of the book deal with how the seemingly perfect SVH isn’t so perfect after all. Elizabeth is surprised to hear that so many students are dissatisfied with various aspects of SVH, and many of them feel like they’re discriminated against. Jessica also deals with some discrimination during a class lesson about it.

Thoughts: Neil thinks stereotypes about black people “went out in the sixties.” Poor, naïve Neil. Wait till he finds out what things are like 20 years after this book was written.

Yes, Penny, your editorial for the Oracle will certainly end racism in Sweet Valley. Geez, she’s as deluded as Elizabeth.

Apparently when Ken’s eyesight came back, it brought a healthy dose of sexism with it.

1 Comment »

  1. Kate said,

    “Friend” (or a variation thereof) occurred four times in the last two book titles. Woah.

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