Saturday, December 5, 2009

The one book that can save your marriage

Yesterday (Friday), the plan was this: Junior, my brother Ted, his fiancée Holly and I would meet at 5:00 p.m. and go on the Saybrook Stroll (Chuck would be busy ghostbusting). There would be free hot cider, free horse-drawn carriage rides, free caroling, and free holiday badabing badaboom.

At three, I called Ted to see if he and Holly had left Boston yet to meet up.

“Bad news,” he said. “I told Holly I need the month of December off.”

“From what?

“Our relationship.”

What? What about working it out? What about the fricken Saybrook Stroll?”

“Relax. She’s on her way.”

“You dumped her and she still wants to hang out? On a Friday night? With me?”

“I know. Weird.”

You know how just this week I said: “I swear, if my brother breaks off the engagement, I will date Holly myself”?

Well, we officially had our first date. I, a haggard woman with a toddler (seriously, by Friday I’m toast) and she, a 22-year-old buxom blonde, carted Junior around Old Saybrook for four hours. She cried. I tried to navigate Junior through crowds of people cradling hot cider, a free toothbrush and a bobbing red balloon.

I don’t know who needed my ear more: poor Holly or Junior, who was having a meltdown because the wind was blowing his balloon to the left, when he wanted it to blow to the right. I swear, you show a kid majestic Clydesdale horses with bells and he obsesses about the direction his balloon is floating in.


Over dinner, Holly cried into her pizza. My heart broke for her. She really loves my stupid, flatulent brother. The more she talked, though, the more I realized that Francine Pascal covered the exact problems Holly and Ted are having in #22 of her Sweet Valley High book, “Too Much in Love.”

(Laugh if you will but I went through a hardcore Sweet Valley High stage in middle school and for some reason, this particular book stayed with me. In fact, it may explain why Chuck enjoys such free reign—that lucky bastard.)

As per the back cover of the book:

Bill Chase and DeeDee Gordon have been happy together for a long time. But lately DeeDee has become too dependent on Bill. She wants to do everything and go everywhere with him. Bill feels that he doesn't have any room to breathe and decides it's over between them.

Elizabeth doesn't know why DeeDee is acting the way she is, but she knows DeeDee's strange behavior is killing her relationship. Can Elizabeth help DeeDee regain her strength and independence before it's too late?

So, perfect Christmas gift, right? But now, the questions.

Do I give Holly #1-#22 so she can get acquainted with the series and my intentions aren’t glaringly obvious? But the poor girl only has a month. What if she's a slow reader? What if she only makes it to #6 Dangerous Love—about a motorcycle tearing a couple apart—and she becomes even clingier? Do I just give her #22 and a cheery card along the lines of "Hey, you should totally read this book geared toward awkward teenage girls. It's, like, awesome"?

Or maybe I'll just see how our second date goes.

Damn you, farting brother. Damn you.

P.S. Special thanks to this site for making this post possible. The noggin was a wee bit rusty.


Jenni said...

Dude. I read every ever loving one of those books. Remember how Jessica's room was the color of a chocolate bar and how they mentioned that in the first chapter of every single book? And wasn't Elizabeth's room lavender?

Frogs in my formula said...

OMG I am so happy I am not alone. Yes! Yes!

kyooty said...

keep the almost kind of not quite SIL ditch the brother. :p

Shana said...

Yay! I read all of those too!

Keely said...

I never got to read those. I think I wasn't allowed, or something, though I read a lot of totally inappropriate Stephen King books instead.

Possibly this explains a lot about me.

Your brother is a tool. All brothers are. Poor Holly.

FoN said...

I totally forgot about Sweet Valley High! I LOVED those books. Honest to god, I named my oldest daughter Jessica. I was 19 when I had her - give me a break.

Zoe - Man Killer said...

Nobody likes to have their clinginess pointed out almost directly. Occupy her otherwise. No talk of the farter and let her see naturally that he is nice to have around and not a necessity.

She is lucky to have you, teen drama books not withstanding.

And Nosy Parker comments are incomplete without... MEN!

Zoe - Man Killer said...

Nobody likes to have their clinginess pointed out almost directly. Occupy her otherwise. No talk of the farter and let her see naturally that he is nice to have around and not a necessity.

She is lucky to have you, teen drama books not withstanding.

And Nosy Parker comments are incomplete without... MEN!

Jeanne said...

Maybe you SHOULD give her the book, because what if someone else gives her that episode of an old sitcom (ANY old sitcom) where the girl decides to teach the guy a lesson by making him jealous? And then all hell breaks loose and, sans the talents of a Hollywood writing team, their entire relationship would be down the tubes permanently.

Sweet Valley sounds the safer option.

Sara said...

I too love Sweet Valley girls. As for the brother's girlfriend, what a bummer. I have three brothers and I usually really like the girls, but my brothers always do a bonehead move and they move on.

Working Mommy said...

Poor Holly...I definitely think you should give her the book, though. It is a great one!!


Rachele said...

I'm not familiar with the books. Am I too old? Brothers and girlfriends turned into brothers and wives. Both my brothers have been married and divorced...twice. I swear it's because I always wanted a sister and it's just not meant to be.
22 seems a little young for marriage, now that I'm over 40, but I totally remember those feelings. I'm sure everything will work out as it should. even if it means you get a friend instead of a SIL.

Pricilla said...

I have never heard of these books. Maybe I am too old. I read Nancy Drew.

She is young. How old is your brother? At that age you do get a bit clingy....I know I was. What am I saying! I was freakin' married at 22. *sigh* But the male person was MUCH older than I was and he had sown his proverbial oats.

Fortunately none of them took root.

If she is too clingy she will drive him away.

Mad Woman said...

I looooved those books. There was always a copy of one of them in my backpack to read to and from school. They were fantastic. I always wanted a room the color of chocolate.

Poor Holly....I think if anyone is going to point out her clinginess, it should be your brother. And in the meantime, you can keep dating her :-)

SLColman said...

Sorry about all the tears and meltdowns. Sounds like a fun thing to do though... The stroll that is!

mannequin said...

Oh pish posh. I'm interested in #6, the motorcycle that tore that couple apart.
I say ix-nay on the books honey, Holly seems to be the intuitive type.

Buggys said...

Give her the book, just #22. Look, you have a pretty serious relationship with her, date #2 after all. She's changed your child's diaper!

Brandy said...

sounds awkward. sweet valley high was my sister's book. I was all up in the babysitter's club.

heather said...

I live in fear of my brother getting a divorce since then I'd have to break up with my SIL!

VandyJ said...

I loved the Sweet Valley books too. There are some great websites out there that list a synapsis for each book, some of which get pretty snarky. They are still fun and I totally wished that my high school enperience was as cool as theirs was, but alas mine was much more boring.

kel said...

omg.. I was a sweet valley addict!!!

Mammatalk said...

Well, as they say, you can lead a horse to water....

Poor girl.

The Mother said...

Oh, man, I'm glad I don't have to rely on dime store novels to keep my marriage working.

We all have our vices. Mine are just...bulkier

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