When I was supposed to be working on Monday, I was actually surfing the Internet and came across this site: The Dairi Burger. It is essentially a book review site for all the books I read when I was very young and even more precocious. Specifically, they review Sweet Valley High, which was the only series I wanted to read when I was 9 and 10. Going back into these books and seeing them from a 28 year old’s perspective is disturbing to say the least.
I have always been proud to say that my parents rarely if ever censored my reading. And I think I would have had a tantrum to end all tantrums if they had, so that was for the best. But, now I’m thinking: if I could go back in time and see my younger self, I would seriously sit down with her and counter each and every stupid stereotype I internalized reading this crap.
“Younger Self,” I would say, “please resist the temptation to believe that all social awkwardness can be solved with the makeover. Just because Robyn in SVH #4 was able to become captain of the cheerleading squad and Miss Teen Sweet Valley after losing 100 pounds in about 2 weeks, doesn’t mean that everyone will love you if only you were prettier. Being a size six and 16 years old will not be the pinnacle of your existence.”
Because I remember what it was like, as if it were yesterday. I remember wanting to be Elizabeth Wakefield so much that it was painful. Now, I can see she was a sanctimonious, shallow puritan in an inappropriate relationship with her teacher. But back then, I would have loved to be pretty and popular and yet still smart and bookish just like her. I wish someone had set me straight.psyche