Confessions Of A Bookaholic – Guilty Pleasures Edition #33 – Sweet Valley High #43 – Hard Choices

Will Enid be forced to give up what little life of her own she already has? Find out in “Hard Choices”! 😉

“Hard Choices”


Sweet Valley Scale: 3.5 out of 5 Twins

Enid Rollins can hardly wait for her grandmother to come live with her and her mother in Sweet Valley. But when her grandmother arrives, Enid is dismayed that the kind and sprightly woman she remembered is now burdensome and demanding. Since Enid’s mother works long hours and is often out with her boyfriend, Enid finds herself making all sorts of sacrifices to please her grandmother. Enid skips school events and even stands up Elizabeth Wakefield, her best friend. Even worse, she never has any time for her boyfriend, Hugh. It is beginning to look as if Enid may have to say goodbye to someone she loves…

Okay, so I am going to say it because it is the first thing that comes to mind and the thing that keeps popping up as I try to write this post: How did they make this into an entire book? So, Enid and her mother are excited to have her grandmother (her mother’s mother) move in with them. Enid’s grandmother (Nana) has been living alone in Chicago since her husband died a few months ago. They are busy making preparations for Nana and Enid gives up her pretty room to go live up in the unfinished attic. But she doesn’t mind because it is for her Nana…

Meanwhile Elizabeth Wakefield hears about a documentary showcase Jackson Croft, a Hollywood big shot, is having in Sweet Valley (his daughter is Susan Stewart from Confessions Of A Bookaholic: Guilty Pleasure Edition #25 – Sweet Valley High #37 Rumors). Elizabeth wants to enter, but is not sure what she should make a documentary about. While she ponders this, and for the next several pages, she admires how wonderful Sweet Valley is and the reader knows what is going to happen before Elizabeth seems to, which makes me question if she really is the ‘smart twin’. She is going to make a documentary about how wonderful Sweet Valley is! Yay… gag.

Back to Enid’s problems: When Nana arrives something is immediately wrong. The Nana who has arrived is far from the woman either Enid or her mother remembers. She is constantly complaining, whining and being a total bitch in her passive-aggressive, ‘oh woe is me’ way. First she is rude and even vicious with Enid’s mother’s boyfriend, Richard, who works at the local television station. Then she is the same way with Enid’s friends. Nana keeps treating all of their guests terribly, putting Enid and her mother down not with what she says but how she says things (we all know the type – right?) and deliberately interferes with any plans Enid or her mother tries to make.

But since Enid is ‘the child’ she is the one constantly making sacrifices. Nana seems to be intentionally sabotaging her relationships, especially the one she has with her boyfriend, Hugh. Mind you, this is the first time we have heard that such a boyfriend exists. I am not sure if Nana tries to hurt this relationship the most (though she is certainly the most direct with this relationship in terms of her actions) or if this was simply the most vulnerable relationship before she had anything to do with it.

I like Enid, and despite her ‘boring’ and ‘goody-goody’ ways she seems to land all the hot and interesting guys, but Hugh is really a disappointment. He goes to another high school so they only see each other on the weekends, but when they make plans Hugh makes other plans with his friends who he is able to see every day. Sometimes he breaks dates and other times he’ll hang with Enid for a mere half hour before going to chill with his boys. Then he turns around and accuses Enid of not trying to make time for him or their relationship, and she just takes it! Ugh. He isn’t rich, he is cute but not a stud that screams sex appeal, and he is not particularly talented or smart… so what is the appeal and why does she put up with it? If it were me, I would play TLC’s “No Scrubs” and be done with it.

The documentary is going really well, except that Enid has to keep canceling on everyone so she can’t help make it. I would care more if I understood what her purpose was supposed to be. Elizabeth is the writer, Jessica is of course the star, and Jeffrey is the camera guy. The best I could come up with is that Enid would be moral support in the background, and this is never clarified in the book. But Enid is upset that her Nana keeps guilting her into giving up her plans to stay at home with her because heaven forbid she be alone (Nana clutches her heart at the prospect). Nana also convinces Enid’s mother not to allow her to go on a school fieldtrip with Hugh and that causes a big fight.

Richard, Enid’s mother’s boyfriend, arranges for them to edit their documentary at the station, but Enid has to bail again and Jessica runs when she sees that editing the film might involve actual work, so it is just Liz and Jeffrey. They overhear Richard and Enid’s mother arguing on the way out. Richard has proposed to Enid’s mother, but she told Richard she can’t right now because of her mother (Nana). Elizabeth is worried about Enid, but Enid refuses to talk to her about what is going on at home.

Elizabeth and Jessica plan a big premiere viewing party at their house so everyone can watch their documentary. I don’t know why but this causes me to shake my head, it’s like a twitch or something. Enid puts her foot down about attending the premiere and finally her mother sees she needs to let her daughter have her own life. Richard has a big awards dinner; however, so they tell Nana she just has to deal with being home alone for one night. Nana acts like she is dying, so they ask a neighbor to come over and stay with her. Nana acts like this is fine until Enid’s mother is ready to leave and then she refuses to allow the neighbor to come over. After Mrs. Rollins (Adele) calls their neighbor to tell her ‘never mind’ Nana says, “You’ll have to stay home, now, Adele. I can’t be here alone. I might get sick.”

Yes she is this transparent the entire time and reminds me of a spoiled child. So, Mrs. Rollins sticks Enid (once again) with Nana duty and bails. If I was Mrs. Rollins I would have the neighbor come over regardless of what ‘my mother’ wanted. If she was truly worried about being alone, then a kindly neighbor who is more like a family friend has to do once in awhile. Seriously, I am not sure what Enid’s or her mother’s trepidation is. They are the caregivers, which means that they’re in charge – period.

Enid is furious and it gets worse when Hugh arrives to pick her up for the premiere party. When he finds out she is bailing again, he is furious and essentially breaks up with Enid. Enid is in tears while her grandmother says she is better off. That does it. Enid lays into her grandmother about what a wretch she has been and how Enid wishes she never came to live with them and would just go back to Chicago. Enid also tells her that she hates her for good measure. Then Enid storms out and goes to the premiere party. But Enid can’t enjoy herself at the party and after she confesses to Elizabeth what she said, she rushes off to her house, certain that something horrible has happened to her grandmother.

When Enid gets home, she smells something in the kitchen and finds her grandmother baking. Her grandmother sits Enid down and thanks her for everything she said because it made Nana realize the way she was being. Now Nana is determined not to feel sorry for herself and has decided to move back to Chicago until she is really ready to leave her home. Hugh stops by and apologizes to Enid and they make up. Everything is right as rain again. 😛

About my previous comment above… it doesn’t actually rain in Sweet Valley. So no worries, you’ll OD on sunshine in the best place on earth! 😛


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