From my guest-post series, here is Mieke Zamora-Mackay on a romance with an unusual ending.
was eleven years old when I picked up my first Sweet Dreams book from
Bantam Books. The pocket-sized collection of numbered stand-alone teen
romances, featuring pretty, wholesome-looking American girls on their
covers, were an instant hit among Filipino teens in the mid-eighties.
P. S. I Love You
by Barbara Conklin was the first volume and is a favorite of those that
still remember the series. In it, fifteen year-old Mariah and her
family house-sit in Palm Springs over the summer. While there, she meets
handsome, rich, but cancer-stricken neighbor, Paul Strobe. They enjoy
their time together and fall in love, but Paul’s strict mother and the
treatments that weaken him cut their time short. SPOILER ALERT: He dies
in the end.
Capturing all the excitement, the uncertainly, and
the tummy-flutters of young first love, as well as the heartache and
pain of illness and loss, I ate it all up. And to have it end the way it
did? I was blown away. I didn’t realize until then that books could
have such sad endings.
I was hooked. With money saved from a
couple weeks’ allowance, I’d buy volume after volume. The stories ran
the gamut of teen issues from low self-esteem, angst from bullying and
mean girls, confusion from a parents’ divorce, even the tug-of-war
between choosing a dream over true love. These books formed my first
series is no longer in production, and admittedly, it is of lighter
fare compared to what is available in the genre today. However, I
recently re-read P. S. I Love You and was pleasantly surprised to
find that the issues and emotions were still honest and relevant. I
still cried in the end, just like I did thirty years ago.
Mieke Zamora-Mackay blogs at The Author-in-Training.