Did you guys ever read Goosebumps? The series of sixty-two books was published in 1992 to 1997 to give younger readers a chance to get creeped out by R.L. Stine before their time, and I was TOTALLY ON BOARD. While I eventually graduated to the Fear Street series (and was subsequently so terrorized I was told to stop reading the books), my heart has always had a special place for Goosebumps and the bizarre-ness it holds.
Before we move forward, let me be clear: while the books seem campy now (and quite a few of them are — they’re usually more mysterious than scary), I remember being positively freaked out by some of the things that happened. I made it out of my Goosebumps stint mostly unscathed, but I wouldn’t suggest these books to your seven-to-twelve-year-old if he or she is a delicate flower. Another post could perhaps be devoted to asking ourselves why someone would create a series of books like this for kids… but for now, let’s just all talk about the ones that freaked us out the most and the way their impact on our adult lives, ‘k?
Say Cheese and Die
While Welcome to Dead House is the first Goosebumps book that came out, Say Cheese and Die! is the first one I remember reading. The premise is this: this kid Greg finds a camera and proceeds to take photos with it. That’s a totally natural thing to do (apart from trying to find out who the camera belongs to, I suppose), but whatever he takes a photo of changes — he takes one of his dad’s car, but in the photo the car is wrecked… and then his dad actually crashes the car. We wonder: is the camera predicting the future or creating it?
Relevance to my life: considering I spend a considerable amount of my time working as a professional photographer this kind of creeps me out — I mean, seriously?! But so far, all of my clients are happy both in front of and inside the camera. So.. maybe I have a good one.
My Hairiest Adventure
Oh god. I loved My Hairiest Adventure so much that I bought it twice, as my first copy ended up destroyed because I read it all the time. In this one, this kid Larry finds a bottle of “Insta-Tan” in the trash. He and his friends think it would be so cool to have fake tans, and the bottle promises to produce results in a minute. Of course, nothing happens and they end up tossing it.
BUT THEN. I believe Larry is in school when all of the sudden thick, painful hair starts growing all over his body. On his hands, feet, fact, etc. He learn it’s happening to his friends as well — and there’s nothing they can do to get rid of it. I don’t want to get all spoiler-ish on you guys, so I’ll stop there.
Relevance to my life: I am totally obsessed with hair (I wash mine every day, it’s A Thing) and I’ve also almost exclusively (with the exception of one very lovely fellow) been involved with guys who don’t have a lot of chest hair. Could this be because of this freaky book? Maybe.
My Best Friend is Invisible
Ooh, My Best Friend is Invisible, you’re so freaky. In this one, Sammy is the child of two researchers who only believe in “real” science. Trouble is, Sammy is ALL ABOUT the “unreal” — ghosts and sci-fi. His brother Simon is the opposite, and of course Sammy thinks his parents love Simon more.
Naturally Sammy discovers he has an invisible person named Brent living in his room with him, eating food next to him, and basically just following him around — but no one believes him. It starts to become problematic when Brent starts fucking with Sammy and messing up his life.
Relevance to my life: while this person was good-natured, I totally had an imaginary friend or two. And I mean full-on friend: I talked to them, fed them, etc. I also have always kind of believed in ghosts, so the fact that this book existed at a time during which I was really exploring that idea… oooh man.
TELL ME, TELL ME: what are your faves from the Goosebumps series? I can’t wait to chat it out!