To the Daily:
“Sweet Valley High” series is still one to be jealous of
I recently read Kimberly Chou’s review of the book series “Gossip Girl” (Sweet Valley, but better, 01/31/2008). I must take issue with some of her contentions.
For one, Chou stated that there is “a whole lot more money being thrown around” in the “Gossip Girl” books than in the “Sweet Valley High” novels. It is unlikely, however, that even “Gossip Girl” character Serena van der Woodsen could come from a richer family than Lila Fowler, who stars in the “Sweet Valley High” series. Fowler’s father is repeatedly described as one of the richest men in Southern California. In “Sweet Valley High Super Star: Lila’s Story,” it is established that there is an original Picasso in her living room. In “The Charm School Mystery” (Sweet Valley Twins #64) readers learn that there is also a Faberge egg in her living room. As if these lavish items are not enough, Fowler gets wealthier the summer after graduation when the Italian count, Tisiano, leaves his fortune to her after dying in a Jet Ski explosion.
Further, I disagree with Chou’s statement that “Sweet Valley High” is a tamer series. “Gossip Girl” characters might have more sex than characters in “Sweet Valley High” novels, but instances of sexual assault or false allegations of sexual assault in “Sweet Valley High” are more prevalent, included in at least six books. The “Sweet Valley High” series also deals with homosexuality in “Amy’s True Love #75,” which was quite daring for a young adult book for 1991. Finally, it’s hard to call a book series tame when it features multiple murders and kidnappings in at least 28 books.
Perhaps in the future Chou will consider becoming more familiar with the books she cites in her reviews.
Graduating to bigger causes
I was glad to see Aaron Johnson’s letter to the editor supporting the administration’s efforts to fix the graduation situation (U has done well fixing graduation mistake, 02/05/2008). While I am disappointed that graduation won’t be at Michigan Stadium, I am glad that the commencement will be on campus.
While some considered the situation ridiculous and others criticized students for not protesting about larger, more important issues, I think this problem did a great deal of good. The forums created for students to voice their opinions gave me an opportunity to see genuine empathy from University administrators and my first chance to speak with them one-on-one. The issue also led administrators to seek student input and fired up the long dormant emotions of the student body.
In my four years at the University, I’m not sure I’ve seen passions aroused so strongly. I think these passions can now be directed toward bigger issues, like the upcoming elections, which might satisfy the aforementioned critics. For those critics, it’s important to remember to tackle the problems that we know we can change. Students can influence smaller issues, like a commencement ceremony, and larger ones too, like a war or global warming.
I echo Johnson’s thanks to University administrators. I’m not 100 percent content with the outcome of the commencement location, but I’m glad to know the University’s administration is listening to my thoughts.