Stop it, horse!
The following transcript is computer-generated and likely to contain some errors.It's also incomplete at this time...working on fixing both of these things!
Marissa Flaxbart 0:00
Welcome to Sweet Valley diaries, the podcast where what happens in Kansas stays in Kansas.
Super edition number six, Spring Fever.
Hi, hello Gladiators and welcome back to Sweet Valley diaries. It's still the hiatus but you know, we got to we got to read these books. We've got a few books here that we are trying to get through super editions and spring fever is one of them. Have you read it? If you do? You might have thoughts about it. I bet you remember it. I'm here with a very special guest, Megan color. Hi, Megan. Hello, Marissa. So Megan, you are the latest in grand tradition on sweet Valley diaries of roommates as guests on the podcast.
Happy to be here. excited to read this book,
Marissa Flaxbart 1:03
easy to book... I said the word book right after you said the word book. So that might sound funny, but I mean book as a verb. It's easy to book a guest who lives in the room next door to you. Yeah, the very first guests on the first episode of sweet Valley diaries. Were my two roommates at the time.
I saw that and I was really excited when I looked up your podcast. I was like,, I know Kat!.
Yeah. There's a picture of those girls on our refrigerator actually. Yeah. So listeners, lest you think that I somehow have like a crazy rotating cast of roommates. It's just a normal rotating cast of roommates. I've lived in the same apartment for a long time. And you know, it's Los Angeles, people move. Things happen, especially pandemic things. But I'm very happy to have you as my roommate now for many months and as a guest.
Very happy to be here. I've never been in your room.
I didn't realize that! Well welcome. I should have cleaned more for you. So this is also exciting listeners that we are in the same physical space. That's pretty cool. I haven't had an episode like that in quite some time. Yeah, obviously,
I hadn't thought about it. Yeah, we can be in the same space.
Very special. We have a lot to talk about Spring Fever, like literally what happens in the book, and then also about how the book fits into the world of this sweet Valley series. But first off, do you have any prior experience with the sweet Valley High universe?
This is my first sweet Valley High book. I have read lots of the baby sitters club. But I don't know why I don't know how I missed these as a youth. So at this one, it was very interesting. I know, I know, you've mentioned that this book is different.
I probably said this every time we do a super edition, but they are kind of challenging from the podcasting perspective. And also from your prospective listeners. Should you be trying to read along which I have to say, absolutely not a requirement. But they are not available as ebooks, so we have to get physical copies. So I figured that we could share the book, which was also the case with the last super edition, the super Thriller I did with my dad, where we ended up sharing a copy of the book. So that means that I read it first. And I kind of warned Megan that it was going to be an unusual sweet Valley High book, largely because they're not in Sweet Valley.
No, they are not.
And that's something that you could gather just by looking at the cover of the book. I didn't fully grasp this. But do you see where they are?
Yes, like I where they didn't go there. I mean, maybe on their way back from the airport. They didn't go to a field.
They're in this... So we've got Jessica and Elizabeth on the cover of this book. This cover is just a really, really special one. I think they are not just in a kind of oil painting vague background. They're in a specific physical location. outdoors, in front of like a big field of hay or something. It's like a dried up hay field. Yes, or grasses. I wish I could remember the painters name but you know that that famous painting of the young woman in the field, and she's like laying down in a field sort of like reaching out towards something. That's that's what this that's what this field looks like, except instead of a young woman reaching out towards something. It is just too happy, happy California and girls looking very rosy cheeked and just thrilled to be in this field.
I was really excited when I was reading the book and when I can, like near the end, I could be like, This is Jessica This is Elizabeth. I think Jessica is wearing... I didn't I didn't even know this was a type of outfit. But it was a gingham dress is that dress Yeah. And it's described as low enough to be to be fashionable, but high enough not to not to alarm her and And uncle right
And alarming their aunt and uncle is like a major conflict point in the book spring fever like, will uncle Herman and Aunt Shirley be able to handle these Wakefield's and their crazy California in ways. Then we've got Elizabeth the super cute in a red neck scarf and she's wearing like a big old belt buckle. And I mean, these two girls, they look like they're ready to go to a hoedown or maybe a square now, which is absolutely what they're doing. That's this is the outfit that they wear toward the end of the book when like, you know, every single rally book does have to have some kind of big party or dance and this book is no different. It is a big square dance, because that's what people do in Middle America. Make sense? make sense. The Gladiators as we call our listeners may be wondering like, who are uncle Herman and Aunt Shirley? Why on earth are Jessica and Elizabeth front of a field? Well, as was alluded to in the intro to the show, they are in Kansas, we find out like right at the beginning. What did you think of the first chapter of the book,
the first chapter, well, they're just finally find out they're going to walkersville and I was like, I first googled walkersville Is it a real place? No, it is not.
Walkersville, Kansas. And they're like, well, Elizabeth is excited about it. And Jessica is jealous.
She packed a lot. She packed a lot of outfits to go to walkersville. And I had a really hard time fathoming how big this town of Walkersville was.
Yeah, yeah, I mean, and Jessica's not too psyched about going to Walkersville, Kansas, which I have to say, is a very relatable reaction to spending your spring break with your is this is one of these Spring Break books where it happens outside of schools, they can go on a trip. So spending that in a small town in Kansas with your elderly great aunt and uncle does not sound like a super great fun way. Whether you're a Jessica or an Elizabeth to spend your spring break.
10 days is a very long time when you think about it.
Also 10 days spring break, like, wow, wish I had a spring break.
Marissa Flaxbart 7:05
Yeah, I think what do we get like an eight day spring break? Right? Because you're eight, nine, or... 7, 8, 9? I guess we get nine days if you count both weekends. But that's not what's happened. They just I don't know, they just had an extra long spring break. And it goes right to the mystery time zone of the sweet Valley books because they've had several other spring breaks. And when this spring break is over, they're going to go back and it's gonna be junior year again. Junior year again.
Okay, so you gotta ask like, does this does this exist in a universe where Elizabeth and Jessica never went to France? Like they did? Oh, in a book, actually cat or a cat was my guest for that one is she have the first ever episode of the podcast. But Elizabeth is of course excited because she's Elizabeth and she wants to learn what it's like, actually, there's a passage here that I can read. I love it.
Okay, so this is when Elizabeth and Jessica have landed in walkersville. And they're wherever whatever airport they flew into, we don't know,
Their aunt and uncle are driving them. This is a great aunt and uncle. They just they clarify that at some point. They're more like grandparents age. All right.
The early spring fields stretched around them on all sides, a soft celery color here and there are groups of cattle graze together and pastures. The blue of the sky was soft and luminous. The landscape was so peaceful and lovely. Elizabeth thought she knew then what her mother meant about the magic of that part of the country. I'm so glad we've come she said impulsively. Jessica nodded around died. Me too, she said. So Jessica, also in transfer the beauty of the landscape. Well sit back and enjoy the scenery their uncle suggested because we've got a long ride I had to walkersville to Elizabeth though it seemed that the next hour flew by there was so much to catch up on. Though their uncle and aunt did correspond frequently by phone and letter. There was really no substitute for a visit. Just as long as we're reading. I'll just add that aunt and uncle are African but the girls a lot about their lives. And Charlie says, what about you girls? You must be too young to be worrying about boyfriends. Mrs. Walker said from the front seat. The twins exchanged looks. Well actually, there is a guy who is a special friend of mine back home, Elizabeth said slowly. His name is Geoffrey French. And he's she stopped and look uncertainly at Jessica, who's your animal understand how she felt about Geoffrey? It didn't seem likely her aunt was looking at her with the bemused expression on her face. But I have to you a little young to get serious about any one boy, her aunt pressed her. "Shirley," her husband said disapprovingly...
Anyway... and then Shirley is all like, oh, we're just the old fuddy duddies, things are a lot different than California that they were when we were raising children your mother's age here and loved Kansas. You know, it's that's the vibe.
Oh, yeah, that's totally, totally the vibe that she's lying down there.
So I know the reason that this passage stood out to me was that I, as a young girl, every year was on was drove to as a young girl, my family always took an annual road trip at the holidays pretty much every year from the Midwest, but like Chicago area through either Kansas or Oklahoma, to New Mexico. So we're driving right through the middle of the country, and with all due respect to any Kansans. And I thought Oklahoma was so much more exciting, but the drive through the highways of like rural Kansas was, I would just hope that we would go the other way, because it was just mind numbingly boring.
Just a lot of corn, a lot of fields. Yeah,
Marissa Flaxbart 10:52
it's very flat. I mean, you're going through Illinois, Missouri, you know, into through the middle of the country. And there's plenty of wonderful things there. But the drive down the highway is not really a super selling point. Although one difference between me and these girls is that I was living in the Midwest. So it was just more and more and more Midwest, whereas for them coming from California, they were seeing something that was novel to them.
Marissa Flaxbart 11:19
lots of fields, lots of fields. But then you are from California.
Marissa Flaxbart 11:24
have you ever driven through a Midwestern field
I have. It reminds me of South Dakota, which isn't it's not the Midwest, but just no quiet anymore. I just remembered the wide open the plains I just think of the plains. I think I drove through Kansas like the tiniest idi with tiny bit of Kansas on the way there. But yeah, I've never always kind of wanted to go to Kansas. But now I took just a
Marissa Flaxbart 11:50
journey. Ah, that's sweet. Okay, so I'm I was already pre-jaded by my Midwesternness, to be already bored in a way that the twins were not. I mentioned earlier that Jessica was jealous. That's a reference to she's talking about how Lyla gets to go to Rome or something like that. But that's that's it, like, that's all of this we valid that this book even has, like, then they go to walkersville. And that's where they are. And the whole story unfolds there. And that was the big thing. When I was warning you about like, this is gonna be different. There's none of the home characters.
Now. I don't I don't know them. But now I don't know them still.
We'll have to have you do a regular one. I have a feeling we can make that happen. So did you notice that it didn't actually play that big of a part? But uncle Herman was the mayor? Yeah, first of all, yes, it
really didn't play that much big of a part at all. Like I would forget that he was the mayor and then it would come up again. But he also owned the general store called What's it called? Walk the walker or was it just called walker
or maybe it was called walkers? That makes sense? Yes. Yeah. Because their last name is Walker. And the town is called Walkersville. So so this is like their town, which you think the book would make a bigger?
That's true. Like, who founded this town was founded by the walkers. Oh, I
have to wonder if this book was ghost written by the same person who goes to wrote the super thriller that I read with my dad last time double jeopardy, because once again, like they're hanging a lampshade on how they can't think of any more interesting last names for people because she points out that Stephen is dating Cara Walker. And it's like, oh, that's the same last name as you. I wonder if they're distant cousins. Now they don't say that in the book.
I guess I didn't hadn't thought about that. So are these books ghost written? Mostly? Or?
Marissa Flaxbart 13:45
They are? Yes.
Unknown Speaker 13:46
How did you find out? I mean, just in general, you just know that or like, how did I find out?
I don't know. Okay,
these books were coming out once a month? but they weren't Yeah, yeah. That's that's really hard to sustain
Yeah. So you have a bunch of different people that are working on them and Francine Pascal, the creator has this big like Bible and is the ultimate like arbiter of what what is going to happen in them but she's almost like the the Anna Wintour something
she has that she wrote, like, generally what would happen in this book, and then someone else wrote it?
Yeah. And all the character BIOS and things like that. That's my understanding of it. I know that there is a lot of information out there. And there's some people that I could probably talk to that could tell me even more about how it really worked. But part of me has always been a little bit hesitant to look too closely. Because it's like, how much do I really want to know how the sausage is made?
Because you enjoy it and
yes, I'm gonna keep eating that sweet Valley sausage. Yeah. guilt free. So they're in walkersville. And I don't know, it wasn't immediately clear to me reading this book, like what was gonna happen like what the book was gonna be about?
Yeah, well, I I certainly didn't know this was all a surprise to me. But I also I just really had a hard time so Walkersville had like a main street with with Walker's. The general store it says has a movie theater, but like I had a hard time understanding how big this this town was, like, I wish they would have told us the population.
Marissa Flaxbart 15:20
It's a very, like folksy small town. And the book even trades a lot in like, trying to compare it to something from a movie. No. So it's like, it's its own self sustaining little town. And it's very like 1950s to the point that it's almost like the people writing it didn't know that it was the 80s thought that nothing had changed in the Midwest, since the 50s. Like, okay, because there's an old timey soda fountain that the girls get jobs at, which we'll get to. There is the movie theater, like he said, there's the dimestore one of the funny things about how like, quaint and small townie walkersville is is that Jessica has brought like you said she's brought these many suitcases so she's got these crazy outfits. In fact, actually this passage addresses that very thing.
What an adorable town Jessica cried. One thing was certain she loved Main Street. It was a little like being a time warp. Everything looks slightly out of date, as if time had frozen and things remained exactly as they were 10 years. The styles in the clothing stores were out of date. And Jessica always ahead of fashion even in stylish sweet Valley couldn't help feeling a little bit like a movie star as they walked down the street. She could tell people were gazing at her and Elizabeth. And why not? She thought modestly. She knew she stood out in her tight black stirrup pants, bright raspberry t shirt and black man Taylor jacket she was wearing her pointy black sunglasses completed the look, though we're looking at him when she put them on. Jessica dear. Don't you think those sunglasses are a little? A little? Aren't they outrageous? Jessica filled in for her digging around in her purse for some chewing gum. She found a pack and offered it around much toolsets amusement. No, thank you. Her aunt and uncle said giving each other startled looks
so like even the chewing gum.
She wore that on the plane!
That's what she wore on the plane.
Yeah, seems so uncomfortable for air travel.
Black stirrup pants. I don't know it doesn't seem so bad.
It's the funniest part to me. Like comfort is key.
Marissa Flaxbart 17:38
Oh yeah. But you know, that's I feel like that's kind of a novel notion. Like for a long time you got dressed up? Because it was such a special occasion. I don't know if that was still true in the 80s. But as the book just said itself were frozen and
frozen in time
Marissa Flaxbart 17:54
It's rare that the books admit it, but here's here is admitting it. I'm picturing Back to the Future. Oh, yeah.
No, totally see that. That's what I see now.
Marissa Flaxbart 18:04
Yeah, like that little like, that's that Town Square. That's like the centerpiece for all those movies.
I see that park. So that's however big that town. Yeah. So early on, we get a glimpse finally of what is going to be the big excitement.
I'm just laughing because I'm excited. I'm excited.
Yeah. Is that how you felt when you when you read about what you read
it I was like, I also they were so excited to see boys that I was just like when when they saw they saw some Dennis that we don't know. boil them down. I saw the Jessica saw Dennis across the street and she was just like, wanting to go talk to him. So I just can't imagine being that boy crazy. Yeah, to be like, Hey, I'm only here for 10 days, but I see something I like and she immediately gets in trouble for it actually,
just being Jessica and like standing with boys looking at her draws the ire of some chick who comes up with her little girlfriend and it's like "come on, Dennis, we're leaving," and that we find out is Annie Sue. Annie Sue... what's her last name?
Yeah, that seems right.
I didn't even realize her last name until the end and then like they said like everyone knows this is Annie Sue.
But anyway, the big excitement of the carnival is coming to town. Yeah. This was interesting because like the aunt and uncle don't think it's really that great shakes but just with our super
excited, so I love how excited they are.
Mr. Walker is reading the paper.
Girls you're in luck. He declared the carnival will be in town for the next week. carnival. Elizabeth and Jessica said raising their eyebrows at each other Mr. Walker nodded, still scanning the Sunday paper. It's right here in the paper, he said smiling. I knew it was gonna be coming, but I wanted it to be a surprise for you. I don't know what toys This is, but I'm doing whatever I can. So this is just the kind of a we'll be in town for a week starting today at five o'clock. today. Jessica exclaimed. That's wonderful. They're at laughter they excited looks on their faces, much like we're laughing right now. It doesn't take long for you girls to get caught up in walkersville traditions. She said affectionately. The Carnival is fun, but don't get your hopes up too high. She added. It's just a small town carnival. Nothing elaborate.
Oh my gosh. Okay. I got to keep reading because this is...
I hope it's the reason.
But the twins didn't hear her. They were too excited. A carnival. Here we go. Tonight. Jessica asked jumping up from the breakfast table. She was already imagining how great she would look strolling casually up to the first step. All the guys would think when they saw her in her nude jumpsuit with the rhinestones that she had never been to a real Carnival before. And she was sure it would be fantastic. So she's really excited
That part is very important, but I thought you're gonna read the part when they describe carnies.
we'll get to that part. So it doesn't come up just yet. But yeah, so we bought like, I guess it's important to note like, as we've alluded to, the boys of walkersville have somehow become like off-limits to Jessica Elizabeth, because of Annie Sue, because Annie Sue, and they're getting lots of cold shoulder from all of the girls in tech.
And their aunt and uncle, like keep saying how great Annie Sue is at the same time. Yeah, like Annie Sue is the best you guys are going to be such good friends. And it is not going that way.
No, not at all. So Jessica, I have to say does wear this ridiculous jumpsuit to the carnival. And Aunt Shirley doesn't know what to do with herself. She's beside herself about it. But she she goes with it like, Okay, if that's what you want to wear.
Imagine like I mean, just like wanting to wear this like outfit to something where it clearly doesn't fit in to what? Like, yeah, like, it's just it's too it's too much for the small town. What?
Yeah, I mean, I think that's Jessica's feeling a little bit too, right. Like she gets there. And it's kind of like this is not quite as much as I was hoping for. Plus, they can't socialize, really, oh, and they're an uncle or like, trying to stick to them like glue, they cannot shake them. And these girls are not used to being kept on the short of a leash. And it's I thought it was pretty clear. Like before I say what I think like what did you think of their aunt and uncle's protectiveness? Like, what did you think that was about?
I thought that, obviously, it's small town. I'm not sure why they were so protective of them in this small town where everything seemed really safe. But then also their uncle didn't plan anything for them to do. Yeah. So like, they were just supposed to sit there all day and not do anything. I mean, it's they drove at least an hour from the airport. So I mean, there has, there has to be something within an hour. Yeah, cool. Like I hate. There has to be like, I don't know, something for them to do.
The activities are solely like, you can work at the ice cream shop. Yes, which they do a few times. And you can Oh, you can go to this carnival. And like you'll make friends with the local kids. And we learn that aunt Shirley has been talking up the fact that these they're her beautiful grand nieces are coming to town from California for a long time. And that this has built up a certain resentment in the local girls. And that's what that's what the cold shoulder is all about. And they suspect that it's a while before that's confirmed. It's not till the end of the book. But getting back to the carnival. I guess I just kind of am thinking that it is all about boys. Like it's all about protecting these girls and protecting their reputations. Like that's true. Yeah, like in bridgerton or something where it's like, oh, we can't let you be seen alone with a stranger man at night. You know? Of course this is in broad daylight. So Jessica like schemes to get them as this is how I'm recalling. So correct me if I'm wrong because you read this one recently. But Jessica schemes to like break them away from their aunt and uncle. And then like from a ferris wheel or something. She spots this cute boy who's down by the horses? Yes.
This is Alex. That is correct. And then she they both go over to see Alex and then any Sue comes over with Dennis.
Yes. So like, I thought this was so weird. Like it's not just the Annie Sue dislike Jessica Elizabeth and is afraid of them stealing her boyfriend. But when they're going to talk to some other boy and she doesn't want that to happen either she's got to insert herself
She's so cruel. Like later on I like she like, it seems like she's going to physically hurt them, like in a really bad way we'll get there. But like
We'll get there soon. Okay, here's the part where so this boy Alex is a cute older boy. He's like a college boy. I remember other things about him.
Well, I just remember he was in college, and I just can't imagine like when you're in college, he was not a freshman. It was uh, it was. It was like a no, it's spring break. So it was
he's in college somewhere in Kansas City, I think.
Yeah, but just to think about as a college student, attract like going out with a 16 year yeah, it's like...
it's like important to note that the book and the characters find it important to just make the distinction that while he is a technically a carny. He's he's okay. Because he is a college student and like his father owns the horses and they they like go around to carnivals, or he owns the carnivals
the whole carnival!
Yeah, so he's like the king of the king or the prince of the carnies. So he's okay. But there's this horse whose name is midnight. That is also an important subject here. This is a cute so Dennis walks up to Jessica and asks if this rhinestones on her jumpsuit, are diamonds and any fucking idiot Of course not.
An uncomfortable silence followed. Jessica was trying to decide whether it would be better to let Annie Sue habit or try to think cool and unruffled in front of Alex. He was so cute she thought she decided to let any Sue's comment pass. My name is Annie Sue. The girl told Alex who smiled politely introduced himself to her and Dennis and tried to turn back to the twins to resume their conversation. But there was no stopping any Sue, she wanted to know all about Alex's job. his association with the carnival. Horses at school has interest in horses. She seemed fixated on the subject of horses, and one her lengthy description of her own expertise in the saddle didn't seem to hold anyone's attention. she proceeded to clamor up onto the fence. Then lean forward to pass the Jet Black Stallion tethered by himself near the stable. Hey, Alex cried seeing what she was doing. He jumped over to hold the force pipe bridle. Don't touch me. He says certainly. He's not completely broken yet. He's really not ready to be written or touched by a stranger.
She's just like "I'm gonna touch your horse!"
She is there with her boyfriend. Why? Why does she need to obtain Alex to
it seems like she's gathering Intel and also she wants to like prove that she's the best horse girl. And this is a funny thing about how like Elizabeth is interested in horses but Jessica is not really this seems like it's doing some kind of trying to square itself with some stuff that happens in the sweet Valley twins series because there's a references to when they were younger, like things that happen when they're like in middle school.
Yeah, it's it's Well, I mean, it's it's all interested in knowing what's to come.
Right. So then Alex asks, Jessica if she wants to meet later Oh, we find out that Alex has a twin as well Brad?
What are the odds?
Yeah, he's busy with stuff and he's not he's not as quite as into horses he's more of like a he's less of like a working with like salt of the earth like working with your hands kind of guy and more of a thoughtful like studious fellow.
Did did the twins meet a lot of other twins in the book?
Marissa Flaxbart 28:47
No, not really, there are some kids that were twins that they were like caring for once? I really struggled to think of any other twins that they've met in the series so far, and it's been 50 bucks. Wow. So they were really excited to meet twins. And it's a cool plot point. Like I was excited for them to meet twins. Yeah. And Jessica as soon as she hears how studious Brad is is sort of like looking at Elizabeth like, Oh, that sounds like your guy. And Elizabeth, of course is like I have a boyfriend. But yeah, you know, Jessica is trying to hook them up with these twins. Carnie twins.
Brad asks, or no sorry, Alex, Alex.
Alex asked Jessica to meet him. An easy mistake to make. To meet him later, at 10:30pm to for a horseback riding lesson. And Jessica knows that there's no way her aunt and uncle are going to let her leave the house that late by for any reason. Not Alone to go meet a new boy who's like an older boy. Yeah. And the current you know, last? Yeah. So, gladiators just to be clear, when we are making fun of the carny thing. It's has knowed actual disrespect to real life carnies. It's just ridiculous hat and hilarious how Much of a big deal the book makes out of it. Oh, yeah. Ah, so there's nothing wrong with having a job. Okay, whatever job in Hell no,
it just they their aunt and uncle is like we don't think you should be hanging out with carnies?
Yeah. And furthermore, like the an uncle will barely let the girls leave the house by themselves, you know, they want to take them everywhere. Like they suggest like, oh, maybe we can go for a walk. And the aunt and uncle are like, Oh, great. We'll come with you. And the girls are like, what is this world? They're they're feeling very oppressed. Yeah. Just to give you a sense of the stakes of the of the uncle finding out. This is what happens when Jessica says that she was going to go back to the carnival.
I met a nice guy there tonight, and I'm supposed to meet him when the carnival shuts down. You met. And Shirley turned white. Herman, she said weakly clutching her heart, my pills. Mr. Walker jumped up and fished around in a little wooden box on the coffee table. Here you go. He said, bringing her glass of water and handing her a small white tablet. You're at mustn't be excited, he said sternly. Looking at Jessica with this approval. Now, Jessica, what's this about meeting someone at the carnival? That's the killer feature. And with this May, he isn't, I mean, he's not a carny. And surely, honestly, he's a really nice guy. And we weren't going to do anything wrong. I was just going to walk through the carnival and it surely says, I know your uncle and I must seem like old Fuddy duddies compared to your parents. But walkersville isn't sweet Valley. Certain things just aren't accepted here for your own good I have to tell you that it's out of the question for you to go back to that Carnival unescorted at this hour in the pitch dark.
So that's that's what we're working with there. So Jessica, like makes up that she she basically starts pretending that she is really tired. And it's gonna hit the sack at like, you know, 9:30 every night 10 o'clock? pretty early pretty early. Yeah. And is asking Elizabeth to then cover for her. Like I couldn't tell if Elizabeth just like goes to bed to or what does Elizabeth Elizabeth must be staying up later? Because what happens is that surely starts to get really worried about Jessica's tiredness. This is like a Vader like conflict drama for the book is that surely and surely thinks that Jessica might be seriously ill and is going to call their parents and then Jessica Elizabeth are both going to be in big trouble Elizabeth for covering for Jessica and Jessica for speaking out. So Elizabeth, continuously has to make up excuses. Do you remember what excuses she makes up for Jessica's tiredness?
I don't remember her excuses.
What I remember the first one was that Jessica has had a really hard semester like she's been cheerleading a lot and she was just like, cheerleading. Then Jessica might be depressed. And when surely almost like catches Jessica, not being there comes into the room The girls are sharing. Elizabeth says the Jessica's in the bathroom. And it's like, Listen, if you leave us alone, maybe I can talk to her and she'll open up to me about how she's feeling. At that point, Elizabeth is getting really pissed off.
Yeah, rightfully so
this is elaborate. Yeah. And Jessica, meanwhile, is just having these like hour long horse riding lessons. Yes,
with Alex. And he just was like, hey, this horse is not broken and wild. Why don't you ride? Which is crazy. I used to ride horses. Like you would never put someone who didn't know how to ride on a horse that's not broken. If you're not if you're worried about like, that's not he says something about Oh, you don't know any bad habits yet. But, you know, any habits at all?
or something? Yeah, like he also that he was exaggerating with Annie Sue, but why? He does not explain that. But Jessica is falling in love with Alex and she's also encouraging Elizabeth to go out with Brad. They really want to go on a double date, but they haven't been able to make that happen yet. And Elizabeth does start seeing Brad Yeah. And there's Let me see if I can find I will even talk about that.
He they meet I think in the in the middle of the day in town and they they really bond Oh, he writes poetry. Yeah, really the poetry and like they have a lot in common and they went on a long walk and it was great. And then Elizabeth felt very guilty for not cheating on her boyfriend Jeffrey, but like you know, wanting to be attracted to Brad?
Yeah, this passage I'm going to read kind of elaborates on on some of those things. So Elizabeth is going to meet Brad, but she sees Alex standing by the who she thinks is Alex, standing by the corral. And when she called them Alex, he's like, Oh, no, I'm Brad. So, Alex sends his apologies. And ask Brad if he could come because they were supposed to both be there. I see. I see. Okay.
Our schedules are totally opposite. And he was afraid we'd never get a chance to get together otherwise, we meaning Brad and Elizabeth. Elizabeth smile back. You too sure. Do you look alike? she observed. She blushed and glanced away. What a dumb thing for a twin to say right? People are always saying that to Jessica and me. I have always thought it sounded pretty silly. Well, you're right, Brad said resting his arms against the gate of the corral. We do look alike. He thought for a moment then chuckled. So we sure don't act like the course I'm taking in psychology now at school says that's called compensation. You make up for similarities and appearance by reinforcing differences in character. Really? That's exactly like Jessica and me. Elizabeth claimed. It isn't easy being a twin sometimes isn't. It isn't, Brad agreed with a smile.
Anyway. So they go on and Elizabeth is starting to feel a little nervous like you were saying. He said that he says that he loves writing. Brad tells her,
Sometimes I think I'll be able to capture how beautiful this country is in poetry. But I know that I've never gotten close to Elizabeth and nodded gravely. I feel that way too, she said softly. Brad's eyes fastened on her eyes and she could feel herself reddening. He was so good looking, and so different from his brother. He seemed much shyer, much more withdrawn, and so much more sensitive.
Yeah. And then there's like, they go for these walks. And Elizabeth finds herself thinking that maybe she's into him, she feels guilty about it. And then she like comes home and Jeffrey's called, and she's kind of like, You know what? I like Jeffrey, I don't want to get into anything with this guy. Like, we'll just be friends. So instead of having both twins pursue one of these carnie twins. It's more like Elizabeth just wants to be friends with Brad.
Yeah, but she's still like she still has at the beginning. She still is into him. She just, she feels guilty for liking.
They go on that long hike.
That long hike. Yeah, they go on a long hike. And he like, puts his arm around her or something. And she's just like, trying to figure out how she feels about it. Yeah, relatable. Yeah. So Around this time, I think is when they have the thing at Annie Sue's house. I think she's grandmas. Yes.
Yes. I forgot about that. Yeah. They get there and Annie Sue's grandma who is the twins' aunt's friend to get Annie Sue at all the
they're her friends to come over for a big lunch? Yeah. And they've invited the Wakefield twins. It's like the whole thing is supposed to be it'll like welcome them to town. Kind of weird, right? thrilled to be there.
For 10 days, I don't know why this would be necessary.
But it's like a social engagement. That also is like, the kind of 1950s idelization of this Kansas town that the book engages in. And when they get their messages where it's like, they It's so sweet. The Grandma, they love her. They think she's so nice. And then there's like a bratty little sister and Mr. Sawyer. It's like, Well, those girls should be here any minute. They're late. I don't know why they're late. And well, we'll have this little one give take you on a tour.
Yeah, of the farm. And then so they, the little sister takes them to milk the cows. And that's late like should they have their milk when the cow is clearly temperamental, and the cow could kick them and seriously hurt. Like that. Looked like a cow kick would be very, very bad. That's like this is not an innocent prank, you could end up in the hospital.
I was surprised and the twins are canny enough that they catch on really quick that this girl was set up to torture them. It helps that while it surely doesn't realize it, these girls know that Annie Sue hates them and so has basically told them flat out that she doesn't like them. She stopped by one day when they were working at the Walker's soda the soda fountain
The soda fountain has burgers and I guess they had milkshakes burgers and hotdogs but then also they had... They're trained for like 10 minutes. Yeah. on all these all the dishes. Yeah, there are there and then they're just expected to serve. Everybody wants to serve raw meat. don't seem like they have food handler's permit.
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