I promise I'm working on a post for book #49, Playing for Keeps. This time, the hold up is not that the book is boring slog, but rather that it's so amazing and fun that I really want to take the time to do the recap up right. So, to coin a phrase: Sorry, not sorry?
But to tide you over, something fun! A friend (and fellow-Marissa) shared this link with me on Facebook from Scary Mommy:
In the article the author posits her ideas about what the Wakefield twins and their peers would be like at 40.
Now I don't know if the OP on Scary Mommy is aware of this or not, but of course we all DID get a glimpse into the lives of the Wakefields & Co. in 2011's Sweet Valley Confidential: 10 Years Later. And of course, that's all canon and none of us were in any way dissatisfied with the choices Ms. Pascal made for the now 28-year-old twins and their friends and families.
In all honestly, I find Sweet Valley Confidential absolutely delicious, transgressive even. But it's not how I would have written it. So what's the harm in fan-fictioning it up a bit and imagining the twins – our twins, from the original books – as 40-year-olds?
Here's what Marissa wrote on my FB wall:
"This is how I imagine the twins' life at 40: Jessica can't be tied down. She's at the top of her game as a vice president at an elite boutique PR agencey, a jet-setter, and a wonderful aunt to her nieces. But, as her golden locks begin to fade to white, she can't help but feel like her life is missing something...
Elizabeth is a wonderful mom to her tween twins, sounding board for her sister, and wife to her husband of 15 years, Todd. But after her best friend Enid introduces her to a handsome and mysterious man from work, Liz starts to question whether or not she's truly happy in her 'comfortable' life."
I love all of that! But my favorite part of all was this last bit:
"Now you go. :)"
Oh my. Don't mind if I do take a stab at it! When thinking about what the twins would be like in the future, I definitely bring some baggage into the process. For one thing, I have spent a LOT of time – WAY too much time, and much more to go – thinking about these ridiculous people. For another, I am such an Elizabeth that I can hardly relate to Jessica, which makes me see Elizabeth's future as a little more like my own life (though I won't be 40 for a good long while) than either my friend or the Scary Mommy OP does. Finally, I went to high school in a pretty prototypical small town, and that colors my musings on what a small-town high school's top-dog (i.e., a Jessica) might choose to do with her life.
Without further ado, this is how I imagine the twins' life at 40:
Jessica, having been the queen bee of Sweet Valley High, desperately clings to the image of herself as Sweet Valley royalty. She marries Brock Humphries, an all star from the SVU baseball team who ends up going pro; she tours with him during the MLB season for a few years, but once they get married she devotes herself to setting up house in a mansion that she fancies puts the Fowler Estate to shame – maybe not as large, but more tasteful and modern, less needlessly ostentatious. She has twins of her own, but boys (a relief to Jessica, who feels she "knows how to handle" boys) and becomes a PTA despot, ruling the moms of Sweet Valley in much the same way she ruled the cheerleading squad or Pi Beta Alpha. She reads a lot of romance novels and fantasizes about the pool boy, but she doesn't cheat on her husband despite his frequent absences – she's saving up her infidelity/ies for someone truly worthy of her, like a Hollywood film director who swears she doesn't look a day over 26, or the president of France.
Elizabeth, after SVU, got her masters in journalism from Medill and started a newsmedia outlet that started out Politico but has turned a bit more Jezebel. She's gotten some great buyout offers but she's concerned about "selling out" (or at least that's what she tells people; the truth is, she's devoted her whole life to building this company and has no idea what she'd do next). The one big reason she's considered selling? She's 40 and childless – if she doesn't take action soon, childless she'll remain, and that's never what she pictured for herself. Her husband, Gerald Wakefield (née Flengerman), a moderately successful poet and more successful professor, is nominally supportive of Elizabeth's new motherhood plan, but (in a way Elizabeth has come to see as "typically male") he doesn't seem to fully understand the urgency or the complexity of the choice she faces.
Elizabeth and Jessica FaceTime on Sundays. Jessica gives Elizabeth lots of story ideas, which Elizabeth laughs off as gossip and hearsay but often later assigns to young staffers for further investigation. Each twin harbors both a resentment for and a quiet envy of the other's lifestyle.
By all means, please take Marissa's challenge to me as my challenge to you! Now YOU go! :) ...