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« Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column | Main | How To Lose Friends and Alienate Viewers »

January 08, 2009

Vintage Suds: The Robin's Diary Book Club

During our General Hospital: 2008 in Review, Becca was still gleeful over the fact that I outed myself as a former soap crazy last summer, admitting that I own a copy of Robin's Diary, the companion piece to the Stone/Robin saga in 1995 and have, for some reason, held onto said copy.

IN MY DEFENSE, (a) I was twelve (b) I am not the only one who still has my copy (Reader KLe and, I am sure, other Serial Drama readers, shares my shame) and (c) it is awesome.

Looking through this book instantly transported me back to middle school, when GH was awesome, and I survived long, boring bus rides anticipating the soapy goodness that was in store for me. My friend Jill and I, being preteen girls, spent loads of time in and out of school writing notes back and forth. However, we were exceedingly paranoid and never used our real names, or the actual names of anybody we knew, instead opting for code names based on a certain obsession of the time; we also changed the code names every once in a while just in case someone caught on (we were like the effing CIA with our top secret communications). During the GH obsession era, we were Brenda and Robin.

This time also makes me think of mixtapes and, while not specifically GH related, I must take a minute to share my jealousy over this generation and how they can just download songs to burn CDs. I used to have a blank tape ready at all times just in case I heard a good song in the radio to record. Those song were invariably ruined by the DJs yammering at the end of the song. It took me, like, six weeks to finally get a good version of TLC's "Waterfalls". The moral of this pointless digression is that I love technology.

So, Robin's Diary: the book is, as you might guess, a novelization of Robin and Stone's love story, starting in January of 1994 to Stone's death in November of 1995. It also has adorable pictures.

I will be posting excerpts of this work of literary genius over the next few weeks so that we can reminisce about the golden era of GH and cry a little bit about what once was. Like, for example, the list of Robin's Friends and Acquaintances that is at the beginning of the book as a primer for non-GH readers...

  • Ruby Anderson
  • Ned Ashton
  • Brenda Barrett
  • Katherine Bell
  • Emily Bowen
  • Gina Cates
  • Jagger Cates
  • Stone Cates
  • Lois Cerullo
  • Ryan Chamberlain
  • Lucy Coe
  • Kevin Collins
  • Mike Corbin
  • Sonny Corinthos
  • Sean Donely
  • Jenny Eckert
  • Jon Hanley
  • Audrey Hardy
  • Simone Hardy
  • Steve Hardy
  • Tom Hardy
  • Tiffany Hill
  • Paul Hornsby
  • Bobbie Jones
  • Felicia Jones
  • Frisco Jones
  • Tony Jones
  • Duke Lavery
  • Miguel Morez
  • Alan Quartermaine
  • AJ Quartermaine
  • Edward Quartermaine
  • Jason Quartermaine
  • Monica Quartermaine
  • Lily Rivera
  • Mac Scorpio
  • Robert and Anna Scorpio
  • Joe Scully
  • Sigmund
  • Harry Silver
  • Damian Smith
  • Filomena Soltini
  • Laura Spencer
  • Luke Spencer
  • Justus Ward
  • Keesha Ward
  • Mary Mae Ward

Of that list: fifteen have since died (Ruby, Katherine, Emily, Stone, Ryan, Steve, Tony, Alan, AJ, Lily, Damian, Harry Silver, Joe Scully, Justus, Mary Mae); eighteen are MIA (Ned, Brenda, Gina, Jagger, Lois, Lucy, Kevin, Sean, Jenny, Simone, Tom, Tiffany, Paul, Felicia, Frisco, Miguel, Laura, Keesha); two were staggeringly, hilarious pointless (Jenny, Keesha); one no longer exists (Jason Quartermaine), one appeared on a recently aired episode of The Golden Girls, playing the older woman marrying Dorothy's son (Rosalind Cash, who played Mary Mae); two, in a shocking departure for this particular show, are actually alive after all (Robert and Anna); one is now a sassy, tracksuit wearing ghost (Alan); one is my favorite soap opera character of all time, whose portrayer was treated so shabbily by the GH powers-that-be that it actually makes my head hurt (Brenda); five are glorified extras (Mike, Bobbie, Edward, Monica, Mac); one is an offscreen babysitter (Audrey); one is married to Jay Mohr and exhibiting horrendous fashion choices (Gina); one has evolved into a master thespian (Jagger).

The canvas was pretty much torched like Port Charles was a stop on Sherman's March to the Sea. So much history ruined, so many opportunities wasted, so many people murdered. This effing show.

To get the party started, here is Robin's entry from January 23, 1994:

I'm going to write this down so I can rid my brain of it and get on to the important elements in my life, i.e., advanced logarithms, transcribing my notes on the metaphysical poets, and figuring out a wedding gift for Uncle Mac and Felicia. Oh, and the greatest excitement of the evening: ten new French verbs, two irregular. Big whoop.

The problem is I seem to have Michael Cates on the brain again, and it's not only distracting, it is starting to embarrass me, even in front of myself. The question is, why? Okay, he is not unattractive (okay, he is very attractive), but he is somewhat rude, fairly arrogant, anything but intellectual (a high school drop-out?!) with a questionable past, not to mention present, probably no morals or values...Right. Like mine are so fine. Sure, I've got them, but have they ever been tested. How do I know they aren't just language?

Anyway, how do you relate to someone who prefers to be called "Stone" when his name is really Michael? This alone should be a clue that we don't inhabit the same wavelength. (Then why did it feel like we do?) It's so obviously a part of his tough-guy, street-kid, macho-cool image. And I told him so.

 Maybe this is why he hasn't called.

So, who am I to knock it? I have an image to uphold myself: Robin Devane Scorpio, Thoroughly Excellent. Brilliant student, all-around awfully good girl, dutiful niece, truthful, brave, faithful and boring. Not ugly, but nothing great. I've been told different, but I know what I see. Five feet one inch tall; A-cup that doesn't promise much more. Long dark hair like my mother's. Eyes like hers, too, but without the flash. At least so far.

I have been told I have my father's smile, which wasn't exactly a smile but was about half a grin, with something under it that looked like a secret. Uncle Mac has it, too. I guess it's a Scorpio thing. Unfortunately, I have the look, but not the secret.

At least not yet. Maybe it will be "revealed to me", but somehow I doubt it, at least the way things are going.

Why am I wasting my time when I have a French test tomorrow babbling on paper about my personal appearance, insecurities, and other trivial issues? Get real, Robin--the only issue on your mind is Michael Cates. Michael "Stone" Cates, who keeps sauntering around in my head, with that put-on cynical look and those deep eyes that look right into you as though he knows you probably don't have any answers either.

Later, Verbs Digested

What's really bothering me is my ego, I suppose. After that day in Kelly's, when he specifically said, "Maybe we should do it again, on purpose. When you're not in such a hurry.:

He meant a conversation. My stomach flip-flopped. I guess I expected a call or something. Now I realize he didn't mean it. Stupid me.

Oh, well, we probably wouldn't have enough material for a next conversation. He said he liked my directness. Ha. Candor may be a fine quality, but it spells death to any male-female relationship. See? It already did.

Stay tuned for more!

Comments

Oh I LOVE this! I totally still own this book. I remember being twelve and finding it in the bookstore and being SO EXCITED to read all about Robin's adventures. Soap tie-ins FTW!

I still have my copy too!!!!!! I LOVE IT!

When I was 12...my friends and I so wrote notes in code too and had code names. I believe my name was Abigail Katherine. No clue why.

I don't feel any shame in owning a copy of Robin's Diary and I was older than twelve when I bought it at a second hand bookstore.

I so still own that book 2!!! man when I think of the great times, Robin and Brenda, the best Bff's GH had during that time, the great love story of robin and stone, the great writing it just makes me HATE GH and the idiot in charge of Head "writing" it now. Man this show was the best, I started watching it because of Robin, stone, Brenda, Jason Q, and the real Sonny before u know who got a hold of them. I really miss the real GH!!

Copies abound, I came across mine last year and read it and wept. Wept because that story was so sad and now this show is so sad.

I still have my copy. I'm not embarrassed, and I was 18 when I bought it. It's a treasured relic of when GH was actually watchable.

The question is, do you own The Music of General Hospital, presented by L&B Records? Cause I do.

I wish I had a copy of this book, dork factor be damned. It is so sweet and from this first excerpt I can already tell it is actually accurate to the character of Robin. Something I rarely see on GH sadly for us all. She is more self aware, funny, and mature here in those few paragraphs at 16 then she is on air anymore. Guza and Phelps and the other evil no talent writers obviously hate her character.

As for your update on the list... PRICELESS! Master thespian Jagger is attending the acting class taught by Sigmund to continue his ascent to acting greatness. Oy, pretty is rarely enough.

That line about her "morals and values" *alone* is more self-aware and intelligent than any dialogue that's actually been spoken on this show in almost a decade. And to think they followed this up with the inane horror that is Robin's Effing Blog.

Thanks for the excerpt! As one who never managed to get hold of the book, I look forward to reading more.

Jayne L I was just coming to post how good this book is in comparison to that effing blog TAIC have created but you beat me to it. It was nice to read this excerpt because I did not watch much of the Robin and Stone story. I was not watching GH much then because I was drooling over A Martinez on Santa Barbara. What I did see and do remember I loved and this reminded me of how good this show use to be.

By the way what ever happened to Sigmund? You know it is bad on this show when you wish they had a duck back. OY VEY!

Oh My God!!! How did I not know about this book?!?!? Especially since Robin Devane Scorpio is *my* favorite character of all time!!
*Hurries off to see if book is still sold online*

One other thing this made me remember was when I found out what was happening with Stone. He had a cold that wouldn't go away and maybe some other symptoms, but the story hadn't broken in the mags and the internet was obviously not an issue. So I was worried about this character I loved and who loved Robin who was my age and was one of my favorites. My mother is in blood banking and I asked her what his collection of symptoms could be and she told me it sounded like it might be AIDS and I just bawled because I knew that's what it would be given the Labine's awesome history. My little heart was so broken to know he would be going and going soon since Mom thought it sounded like it had progressed past HIV. I'm still teary remembering that day.

Thank so much for doing this!

I don't have the book, though I have thought of ordering it(I still may). Anyone interested Amazon does have copies

I sorta want to buy this book now. I KNEW Robin knew everybody in PC! I'm hooked.

I loved the Robin/Stone storyline. That was GH at it's best. I actually bought the book on Amazon about 2 years ago and read it. It's a great book and it had me in tears. They don't do soap books like this anymore. Can't wait to see excerpts in your upcoming blogs.

Not to set it in stone but I hear Brenda is coming back.

You got me looking at the Kindle - big bucks but it holds 200 books!

I'd been scanning entries on my RnS site for awhile until my scanner DIED UGH!

but awesome amazing book I have two copies the one I bought at 14 (that is all worn and falling apart but I can bear to throw away)and the the copy I won about 2 years ago signed by both Kimberly and Michael I love them both I know I'll keep both forever

I'd been scanning entries on my RnS site for awhile until my scanner DIED UGH!

but awesome amazing book I have two copies the one I bought at 14 (that is all worn and falling apart but I can bear to throw away)and the the copy I won about 2 years ago signed by both Kimberly and Michael I love them both I know I'll keep both forever

Count me in - I bought the book when I was 14, I still have it and I'm so glad (even though it still makes me cry every time I read it). As Lorrie said, it reminds me of the days when GH was really, really good, because they are long past now.

Oooh, I loved this book! I was 14 when I got it, read it cover-to-cover, and wept! I bet it's still at my parent's house today. It's amazing how wonderful GH used to be and this book serves as a great reminder! Re-reading the excerpt you posted really brings back some great memories! Thanks for this, Mallory - can't wait to read more!

Posted by: Dagny January 08, 2009 at 11:13 PM

The question is, do you own The Music of General Hospital, presented by L&B Records? Cause I do.
*****************************************
Me, too...me, too!! The great themes by Dave Koz alone make it a treasure, especially since we no longer get to hear the end title theme (why have end titles when the network can squish 'em over to the side & run commercials instead? Grrrr......)

I don't own it, but I wanted one. I never read it, but I am thrilled to have a chance now. I have zero complaints so far! To me, Stone and Robin are the modern day Romeo and Juliet.

Wait, I remember another gem...anyone remember (and have?!) the Complete General Hospital Scrapbook? My mother almost just got rid of my copy and I threatened a hissy fit if she didn't keep it!!!!

I am loving that you guys are enjoying this trip down memory lane!

Dawn, I would LOVE a Sigmund cameo. I loved that little duck.

I did not have the Music of General Hospital CD or the scrapbook! Now I feel like an outcast. I DID have the General Hospital Trivia Book. There is a big chance that my mother threw it out, but I will take a look and see if it is still around.

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