My progress on The Favored Child by Philippa Gregory is crawling: I’d read 20+ pages, curl up in a fetal position and rock back and forth muttering “Oh God, oh man, oh God, oh man!!!! I need a break. I need to mentally prepare myself for the fresh onslaught of awfulness, I need to get in the zone, I need to find a leather strap to gnaw on because the pain is unbearable.
I decided to read a shorter book so that when I return to The Favored Child, I won’t have the prospect of Horrible Book 3 looming over me like a spanking session with my parent’s Chinese backscratcher.
Enter The Patmans of Sweet Valley High. 340 pgs. This fine piece of literature is billed as the “unforgettable saga of the men and women who made Bruce Patman who he is today!” Bruce Patman is, if you recall, the biggest douchebag in SVH. He’s the ‘fire’ in SVH #3 Playing with Fire.
1825. Idyllic English countryside. Sophie, the blonde and buxom Duchess of Edmonton is frolicking in a secluded lake when a rustling in a nearby bush reveals she is not alone. Enter hunky stable boy Henry Patman with the lamest come-on line ever. “I didn’t mean to startle you. For a moment, I thought you were a mermaid.”
If you’re not vomiting in your mouth already, it gets better. Stable boy elaborates: “If you’re not a mermaid, you must be a water nymph. You’re far too beautiful to be an ordinary mortal.”
WHO TALKS LIKE THIS????!!!!!
Sophie eats this shit up. Why? One reason: she’s an idiot. A kinder reason: Henry’s voice is “as deep and rich as mahogany”…kinda like Barry White’s soulful baritone. Add a sax solo. “Oooh, baby. I’m in looove.” I know this make me randy! On the flip side: I can feel the bile rising.
Everything’s coming up Care Bears until Sophie’s bratty little sister takes a dump on Henry & Sophie’s elopement plans. Cue Big Unfortunate Event. Henry is deported to America. Sophie is forced to marry an earl. And I just realize I’ve still got 150 years to go before Bruce Patman is even a twinkle in his rich parent’s eye.
Without further ado: The Formula. Mushy love affair + Big Unfortunate Event= Star-crossed lovers in Every Freaking Generation.
Events that deserves an honorable mention:
A woman is set upon by a gang of Cockney thieves until she is rescued by an Irishman named Paddy O’Sullivan. I know Francine Pascal’s ghostwriter is trying real hard not to stereotype or, in this next example, nab lines from Gone with the Wind: “Any Southern can lick a dozen Yankees afore lunch and still have time for juleps,” says the Confederate son of Henry the stable boy.
A pregnant woman is bayoneted. Sucks for her.
Someone strikes black gold and rides a rodeo bronco to $$$.
A baby DIES!
Flash forward to the ‘70’s. A summer fling between Bruce’s mom and pop. She moves back east for college, doesn’t call, doesn’t write. Months go by. She returns to Sweet Valley. Patman Sr. is all “Insensitive bitch. Give me the cold shoulder will ya?” Turns out, she had cancer. Well… uh, doesn’t he feel like a dick?
She heals really fast (this is Sweet Valley cancer, as in, cancer that is eliminated once it no longer serves the plot), becomes rich Mrs. Patman, and the book ends with the two doting parents standing over Baby Bruce’s crib. Little did they know Baby Bruce would become a black Porsche driving, preppy prig sex offender (didn’t he try to date rape Jessica Wakefield in #95 The Morning After?).
I hate Bruce Patman. I HATE how I love him!!! FYI, Bruce Patman has a twitter and I’m totally following him. Maybe, like Jess, I like playing with fire …