For the sake of nostalgia I purchased a couple of Saved By The Bell books (a behind-the-scenes type and a chapter book) and decided to actually read them. Oh the memories!
Since they’re not very long, I don’t have much to say about them, but I wanted to say a little something. I’ve decided not to put a rating on either of them, because I’m definitely out of the intended age range and there was so little content, it was hard to think of it on a scale of 1-5.
Saved By The Bell
By Judy Black
Paperback, 64 pages
1992, Modern Publishing
The cover text made me laugh: “Info-packed to the max! Tons of photos, too!” It’s essentially a little fan book, comprised mostly of the actor’s bios and a little background on the show itself. The show was done taping by the time this book came out, but it was released before the final season actually aired. The first section of the book contains a little info about the show and some photos, as well as tidbits about what the casts lives are like. Then each member gets a picture/bio page. After that the rest of the book is comprised of more detailed biographies. What I noticed was that Mark and Mario received the longest bios (about 9.5 pages each) while the rest of the cast seemed to fall to the wayside (Elizabeth gets 3 pages, Tiffany, Lark and Dustin all get about 2.5 pages each). I know that these books were primarily marketed towards girls and that everyone loved Zack and Slater, but it was sad to see the other members so neglected. Also the book ends with a little bit about Mr. Belding. Literally. The last paragraph talks about how he used to live in Tennessee. It was pretty awkward.
By Beth Cruise
Paperback, 132 pages
1992, Collier Books
Cover reads: “Wacky Wednesday might change Bayside forever!” This is an actual chapter book that reads a lot like the show. Mr. Belding invented Wacky Wednesday so select students could switch places with school staff to understand how hard their jobs are. Of course Zack lands the roll of principle, but his antics end up getting Mr. Belding suspended. The new principle is practically a drill sergeant!
This book made me chuckle and roll my eyes a lot. I really did feel like I was watching an episode of the show, so good job there. What I didn’t enjoy was how much the book focused on each character’s looks. Now, I know everyone in the show was pretty hot (well…almost everyone…sorry Screech!) and they often talked about cute guys and girls. But reading these character descriptions in a book that was more likely to be read by kids in 7th grade than high school was sad and seemed unnecessary. Seeing the characters, especially the female ones, reduced to such simplistic, physical descriptions didn’t feel like a good message for younger audiences.
“She was a terrific-looking cheerleader with curly blond hair and light blue eyes.” No mention of what this character, Daisy, is actually like.
“Jessie was a pretty girl with a first-rate mind and legs that went on forever.” It’s nice that Jessie’s mind is mentioned, but she has to be pretty first.
“Kelly burst into the Max. Her skin was glowing, her blue eyes were sparkling, and her long, shiny dark hair was flying. Her tanned and shapely legs looked great in a short mini.”
The other thing I thought was a bit much, again considering the primary readers of this book are probably girls in grades ranges 6-9, was when the guys in the gym tried to get the girls to participate in a wet T-shirt contest and began shouting “Wet t-shirt” over and over. Now, this doesn’t seem like atypical behavior for high school boys, but not something I felt needed to be into the book.
These thoughts aside, it was fun to experience the antics of Zack and the gang and it really made me want to watch the show again! Hmm…I wonder if it’s on Netflix!
*cover image from Amazon