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R.L. Stine - My Favorite Childhood Author?

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by , 8th October 2012 at 06:00 PM (492 Views)
Recently, I was rummaging around in my closet and happened upon some of the books from my old Goosebumps collection that I read during my younger years. I decided to read some again to see if they still had the same appeal to me now that they did then. Turns out... they do. ._. Despite being more a more kid-friendly horror series, Goosebumps can be still be genuinely ghastly. R.L. Stine is also known for writing the Fear Street series of books. (Note, I haven't read any books from that series yet, despite having a collection of Fear Street books too, but not as big. The series seems geared towards an older audience.) He has covered just about every cliche of horror. Aliens, the undead, ghosts, monsters, you name it! His characters aren't memorable, but his stories can be. He has a unique style to his stories, especially in their resolutions. He has a habit of making stories sound like they ended on a good note, only to throw in ONE LAST spine-chilling tidbit that completely changes the impression left on the reader. It's hard to explain, so... I'll use Goosebumps - Welcome to Dead House, the very first entry in the series as an example. (Summary is taken from the Goosebumps Wiki, since I was too lazy to summarize it myself.)

Goosebumps is still one of the fondest things I remember about growing up. In hindsight, the books could be cheesy at times due to the many cliches used in the series, but that was part of the charm. R.L. Stine might not detail his characters much, but his use of imagery can leave your hair standing on end at times. Not an adult series by any means, but still enjoyable. He even had a sub-series of Goosebumps dedicated to the "Which-Way?" book genre. (Basically, a kind of book with a game-like element in that you can make certain choices by going to the appropriate pages whose scenarios reflect the choice you made. Depending on your choices, you could wind up getting a Bad Ending or a Good one. Bad Endings generally feature your "character" meeting a terrible fate thanks to your error(s) in judgment. Think of a Bad Ending as a "Game Over" screen, basically prompting you to start over at the beginning of the book. Witty, isn't it? It allows the reader to feel as though they are a part of the story themselves. As such, reading a Which-Way book front-to-cover will not get the proper literary experience because it won't make sense at all unless they follow it properly.)
There is a degree of versatility in the series, so it won't really bore its readers. Instead of showing Rated-R crap like Saw to little kids, take them to the library and check out some Goosebumps books if they want a scare so bad. (Trust me, you have no clue how many parents are willing to let their kids see that crap. -_-; It's not even good taste in horror either.) Not only will it get them to read more, but it'll be enjoyable as well. :U
...oh who am I kidding? =w=; This generation (and likely the ones following it) are so bound to movies and television that they wouldn't bother to promote reading amongst young kids. Sad, but true. That is how things are now. =~=;

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  1. BoomShakaLarka's Avatar
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    Wow, I'm surprised I've actually read the book you used as an example. It must have been years ago... Unfortunately the only R.L. Stine book I can find lying around now is Attack of the Mutant, which I've probably read 50 times. :/
    He's one of my favorite authors, too. Especially when his books kept surprising me with some negative ending, where I was used to the happy endings you'd find in other books.
    I remember how frustrating the choose your path books can be (for me at least). I'd have like 5 spots in the book saved with my fingers while I was reading just in case certain paths end up at dead end and I needed to go back. xD


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