Sweet Valley High

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Sweet Valley High

Post  big chicken on Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:18 pm

An essay from a ghost writer of the series on what it was like to write the books. I laughed when she admitted to not knowing what a lavalier was.

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Re: Sweet Valley High

Post  Author By Night on Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:02 am

Interesting. I never read SVH, but I did read SVT - the idea was basically the same anyway, although from what I do know of SVH, Jessica was a little more "evil" in SVH, and Elizabeth was more boy crazy than she was in SVT.

I have to comment on this quote (I hope it's not too OT):

I’d heard the arguments. Librarians hated series books. They kept kids from reading “real” literature

That argument bothers me. First, a lot of the "real literature" librarians recommend are things kids read because they have to or are supposed to. Not always (I can hear my librarian friends yelling at me), obviously, but often enough that I worry the point of reading is lost - both to whoever makes those lists and to the kids they're handing them to. Second, in a world with 24/hour television, I actually like when a kid is reading any book. Even if it's kind of a light read.


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Re: Sweet Valley High

Post  Instant Monkeys on Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:52 am

This is an eternal debate that I can see both sides of, but I tend to come down mostly on your side. I was a kid who LOVED to read, devoured library books, and became an English major. And I could barely get through many of the books they had us read in school, and then endlessly discussing and writing essays on them finished the job. I think introduction to "the canon" (what that is/should be is a whole other discussion: it's not the most diverse group just for starters) is important and should be part of an education. But I think forcing too much "hard" stuff on kids does risk turning them off of reading entirely, particularly if it's not something that comes naturally to them. And I think having kids (who grow up to be adults) who think of reading as difficult and boring and something to be avoided instead of as a way to entertain themselves and learn things about the world does far more damage to our society than having kids/adults who can't participate in a cocktail-party discussion about Thomas Hardy.

There's a lot of crap for sale in bookstores for both kids and adults, but to me it can be a "perfect is the enemy of good" situation. Plus, if you read enough formulaic crap you will start to tire of it. I was obsessed with Mary Higgins Clark -- kind of pulpy Lifetime-y mysteries -- when I was in high school, but after reading a few books of hers I realized they were basically all identical and I got bored with them.

That's not to say I think kids should be assigned Christopher Pike in English class, but at the very least I don't think a 13-year-old who reads a lot of SVH should be scolded and handed Jane Eyre instead, because she's not going to get excited about Jane Eyre, she's going to go watch TV.

That was a fascinating essay, BTW. I can REALLY understand the appeal of being given a "world" and characters and guidelines and just cranking out stories. Hell, it's like fanfic, which is a hell of a lot easier to write than an original story.
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