Monday, April 23, 2012
Book Review of #1 The Wakefields of Sweet Valley by Francine Pascal
Author: Francine Pascal
Publisher: Bantam Books
Part of a Series: Sweet Valley Saga
Type of book: 1866-1973, immigration, potted version of American history, lost love, unrequited love, soul mates
Year it was published: 1991
Follow the riveting stories of the women who came before Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield:
Alice Larson, a bold sixteen year old from Sweden, arrives alone in America to start a new life- but with a broken heart.
Headstrong frontier tomboy Jessamyn runs away to join the circus, leading her sensitive twin Elisabeth, into a desperate search that ends in tragedy.
Spirited twins and rivals Samantha and Amanda battle for the love of the same boy during the glamorous Roaring Twenties.
Marjorie, stranded in France during Word War II, becomes a heroine of the Resistance.
Alice Robertson, child of the tumultuous sixties, makes a painful romantic choice she will hide forever- even from her twin daughters, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield.
The characters are cut out from cardboard and although the author tries to make them the same, she doesn't really succeed. The stories as well are cheesy, I mean, every other generation the failed love is an ancestor of the twins' and Steven's father. (Not kidding.) Until the meeting of Alice and Ned just the way their first ancestors met. (Him pulling her from the ocean.)
I have no idea what I should have learned from the book, that you never know if your ancestors' failed love is possibly your husband's or wife's ancestors?
This is in third person narrative from the women's points of view rather than the men's. I didn't miss the characters once I left them, and it was a relief to be finished with the novel. The novel also presented the simple version of American history and never really delved into psychology of the characters. A lot was taken for granted and it seemed more of a brain candy read rather than something to mull over.
Francine Pascal (born May 13, 1938) is an author best known for creating the Sweet Valley series of young adult novels. Sweet Valley High was the backbone of the collection, and was made into a popular television series.  There were also several spin-offs, including The Unicorn Club and Sweet Valley University. Although most of these books were published in the 1980s and 1990s, they have remained popular such that several titles have been re-released in recent years. (From Wiki.)
I'm being honest that I've read the four Sweet Valley Sagas, and this one and one afterwards aren't the best, really. There is nothing really memorable in personality to cause me to like the character, and it shows that this novel was written for teens instead of people in their twenties. This would also be good for those who would like to learn history without the depth and study it required. I admit that when I was a teenager I enjoyed reading this, but now at my age, no thank you.
2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)