Monday, December 12, 2011

Sweet Valley High #69: Friend Against Friend

Andy is getting picked on constantly by Charlie Cashman and his buddies, all because he’s black. If you’ve never heard of the character before, don’t worry because I barely remember him too. He wins a contest and gets the chance to study marine biology at the big center in town, which pisses the group off even more. They claim that he only got it because he’s black.

His best friend Neil notices the problem, including the guys throwing trash in his locker and writing “go back to Africa” on it, but he does nothing. He says it’d because Andy doesn’t want him too, but it kind of seems like he doesn’t want to. It doesn’t help that his dad is kind of racist too. He has to sit and listen to his dad and Mr. Cashman complain about a black supervisor at work.

The guys quickly escalate from slashing his tires to worse things. Neil and his girlfriend Penny walk outside and see the gang dragging Andy out of his car. He runs to help, while she calls the cops. Unfortunately Neil is feeling kind of crappy because Andy’s been blowing him off lately and generally being a shitty friend. He lets Charlie goad him into hitting Andy while he’s on the ground. Neil feels terrible and the other guys run off laughing.

Everyone at school acts like Neil is a big hero, which makes him feel horrible. He tries telling Andy the truth several times, but chickens out. Then his dad announces that he knows what he did because Charlie told his dad, who told him. Neil runs off and feels even worse. Andy gets an award in front of the whole school and Neil finally fesses up. At first Andy hates him, but they get back to being friends. It takes a little longer for him to win over Penny, but she finally agrees to forgive him.

*The B-plot involves Liz doing an article/survey about what kids would change about the school. She thinks all the answers will be about the food in the cafeteria, but she’s “shocked” at the real answers. Kids don’t like the elitist nature of the sororities, the way kids are treated and the lack of support, even from the newspaper, for girls’ sports.

*Mr. Collins does a class project to teach the kids the importance of discrimination. He divides the class based on eye color and people with light colored eyes are treated like crap. After 30 minutes of this, Jessica suddenly realizes how horrible it is and vows never to treat people badly for arbitrary reasons. Uh-huh.

*Charlie is such a “badass” that he takes Neil for a drive around town. He mainly stops in front of houses, honks the horn and then drives off before they come outside. What a tough guy.

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