Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fan of Teen Dream Wonders If Her Development Has Been Arrested

Dear Tazi:

I am in my mid-thirties, and when I was young I was totally addicted to the Sweet Valley High books that all the girls would read. My childhood wasn't the greatest, by Sweet Valley standards - I wasn't popular, wasn't stand-out pretty, and wasn't rich - so I would escape into the world of Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, fantasizing that I was one of their friends.

Over the years, my friends stopped reading the Sweet Valley books, but I never did. Even now, on a bad day, I will slip into my fantasy world of Sweet Valley High School and feel my stress melt away. My question is, am I normal? Are there others out there like me? Or am I, like my mother tells me, in need of therapy? For the record, I am successful in my career and happy with my life overall.

Jessica's Biggest Fan!

Dear Jessica's Biggest Fan!:

Some people combat the stress of a bad day by drinking; others by abusing their loved ones, both physically and emotionally. These are the people who require therapy. As for whether or not you would benefit from a few trips to a counselor, ask yourself: Are you otherwise well-adjusted? Do you relate to others on an adult level? If you read for enjoyment, do you read age-appropriate materials? Do you understand that the standard of living in the Sweet Valley High books is completely out of touch with reality?

What '80's/'90's girl didn't LOVE Sweet Valley High?

If you were able to answer "yes" to all of the above questions, I would say that you are a perfectly normal, well-adjusted adult and that your mother has no reason to worry. If, however, you answered "no" to any (or all) of the above questions, it would appear that you are suffering from arrested development and a few sessions with a counselor could help you in overcoming whatever it is about the real world that is stressing you back to childhood.


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