A few months back, I had the really not-weird-at-all impulse to buy a whole bunch of Days novelizations with the intention of blogging about them. These books were published under the “Soaps and Serials” banner in the mid-80s, at the height of soap opera hysteria in popular culture. I found an interesting article on the genesis of the business model; it seems like they were trying to crank out one per month, which probably necessitated some ghost-writing and might explain some of the, er, inconsistencies I’ll get into below. Also, they either didn’t do that well or they were too much work, because they stop somewhat abruptly at a pretty weird point in the story.
I did eventually track down the first book in the series for a few bucks, but for some reason, #13 has been entirely elusive. The few listings for it online are outrageously priced — like, 70-something dollars, which is a sharp contrast to the $0.01 to $1.20 I paid for the rest. I haven’t been able to figure out why in the hell that one is priced so much higher. As far as I can tell, though, I have the complete series otherwise; I can’t find any record of any being published beyond #14.
They made for great, easy bedtime reading — it’s been a while since I had physical books to read in bed instead of my iPad, and I had kind of forgotten how much more relaxing paper is than that damn light from the screen — and I kept notes as I went along. These are definitely novelizations based on what aired on TV, rather than expansions of the storyline or non-canonical ‘extras,’ but the publishers clearly took some liberties. Some make sense, as far as compressing scenes to get certain plot points across without the benefit of five episodes per week to tell the stories, while others left me scratching my head.
Oh, and there was a lot of talk (including from me) about what a strange choice it was to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary with a serial killer storyline, but as I read these books, I realized that it might as well be a nod to the show’s origins, considering the way that people seemed to drop like flies around the Hortons in the early years…
#1: LOVE’S SHATTERED DREAMS
The Story: Marie Horton, the youngest of Tom and Alice’s five children, is blissfully in love with her fiancé, medical student Tony Merritt, as their wedding approaches. Tony, however, is suffering from regular nosebleeds. In Boston, he sees a doctor who suspects that Tony has a rare blood disorder — which Tony, thanks to his medical knowledge, deduces is actually leukemia. He does not call Marie for several days, as he fears burdening her with this news, and when he finally does call her, he lies that he does not love her and cannot marry her. A despondent Marie attempts suicide by swallowing a variety of medications. Her niece, Julie, finds her in the bathroom and calls for her grandfather, Tom — who has just received an emergency call from Arlene Sawyer, the wife of a patient who has been reluctant to heed Tom’s advice about his eating and drinking habits. When he sees Marie, Tom springs into action and manages to save her life. Only once she is settled does he realize that he forgot about Carl Sawyer. He races to the Sawyers’ house, but more than two hours have passed, and Carl is dead.