“Reader beware, you’re in for a scare….”
UPDATE: 4/7/2011 – This is kind of a spoiler alert for people just now reading this article for the first time. But it’s also been 6-ish months since this originally was written.
So anyways, I’m editing out Sarah’s last name, home town, and links to her Facebook page that I found using the info Scholastic Publishing printed in the back of “Monster Blood”. (That was really dumb to publish all of that info Scholastic. For real.)
She sent me a very nice email, and I say that sincerely, last night asking if I could do so. And since we never want anyone to feel uncomfortable or cause any embarrassment for someone in their real life, I happily agreed. But like I said in my email back to her, I hope she doesn’t feel like she needs to hide from her Goosebumps past! I for one hope she shares it! Because frankly, I would have LOVED to have been immortalized in one of my favorite books growing up! That would just be an awesome story to tell! Though I agree with her and I wouldn’t have liked my FULL name and hometown printed in thousands upon thousands of books. Again…seriously…That was REALLY dumb Scholastic. So where ever there was personal info listed in this article you’ll know find…(SCHOLASTIC INFO DELETED).
Anyways, thank you again Sarah for your email! We hope life has treated you as well as it looks! And if you ever have a change of heart and decide that you’d like to share this awesome story from your childhood with your friends and co-workers, just let me know. I’ll loan you my copy of “Monster Blood”
Now…on with the show!
I loved these Goosebumps growing up. Everything about them was great. Creepy art on the covers, embossed bumps over the Goosebumps title. Even the smell of the pages. Just everything. Whenever our elementary school had it’s annual book fair my mom knew the drill. She’d give me a few bucks and I would get the latest book along with any back issues that I could afford with the money left over. I’d then spend the next week reading constantly and getting my fix.
They were really the one thing that got me really into reading as a kid. So I guess you could say they’re the sole reason I’m literate today. “Hooked on Phonics worked for me”? Bullshit. Goosebumps worked for me.
I still have very fond memories of reading books like “Stay Out of the Basement”, “Night of the Living Dummy”, and my personal favorite, “One Day at Horrorland”. Which is why I saved everyone. It’s also why I decided dust them off for the first annual Halloween Boo-zinga and re-read for my top five R.L Stein tomes. So first up?
“Monster Blood” is actually the third book of the series. I know it would probably make more sense to start with “Say Cheese and Die”, but this is the book that I feel R.L. really hit his stride. Plus the great thing about Goosebumps was that you didn’t have to read the books in order. So…Monster Blood it is.
The first thing that really hit me when I cracked open the book were the green stains on the first few pages. Did the publisher do some kind of cool watermark or something? No, I doubt it. It looked too random, almost like I dripped Ecto-cooler on them.
But it had this smell. Then it hit me. It was GAK! It was the closest thing to Monster Blood that I had as a kid, and I was all about getting a full reading experience. So I always liked to turn the pages with one hand, and play with Gak in the other! Little did I know then that the result of this reading ritual as a kid would be a lot of stained books. And I mean A LOT.
What a way to re-start this literary journey I was about to take almost two decades later! Well, ok. “Literary journey” might be a little too epic. But I’m all about overselling! And apparently so is the person who wrote the description on the back of the book…
After reading that aren’t you pumped?! I know I was.
And with that…away I went. Turning page after page, chapter after chapter. I finished the whole book in maybe just over an hour. Which is a much less impressive feat given the GIANT font size these books are printed in. It did make me feel like I was a world class speed reader though. Which is something I remember loving as a kid. It’s similar to the feeling you get when you stay at a hotel and get to take a shower with tiny soap and shampoo.
The book surprisingly kept my attention too even after all these years. And I did find myself actually excited from time to time to see what was going to happen in the next chapter. Plus, what other book in your adult life can you remember finishing off with a mail in contest?!
You just have to love the “In 25 words or less” contest rule. I mean how easy is that? I have cereal boxes that have longer than a 25 word description on the back. ? Plus, there was little to no competition. Just look at last month’s “winner”…
Why didn’t I enter into this contest when I was a kid and I had the chance? That could have been me! Opportunity knocked, and I just went back to playing Nintendo. Leaving the door wide open for Sarah (SCHOLASTIC INFO DELETED) to win. And with something she obviously completely made up too.
“I get goosebumps when I look in the mirror at night. I’m always afraid a ghost or someone else will be looking back.”
You know what she really should have written gives her Goosebumps? Having the Scholastic Publishing company print her full very unique name and hometown in the back of their books. Giving a blogger such as myself everything I need to Google her 20 years later.
Meet Sarah (SCHOLASTIC INFO DELETED)…sixteen years later! All grown up and living the high life in (SCHOLASTIC INFO DELETED)…where ever that is. Seems like she’s doing alright for herself too! Probably partly due to her listening to her teachers and going to college. Getting educated at (SCHOLASTIC INFO DELETED) and now working as a (SCHOLASTIC INFO DELETED). But most importantly, she’s still a reader! She listed her favorite authors on her Facebook page as being Stephen King, Roald Dahl, Jane Austen, & Jane Eyre, among others.
But NOT R.L. Stein. Sorry buddy. Her love for your prose just didn’t last for her like it did with me.
Oh and Sarah, if you’re reading this…to make up for posting a picture of you during the pre-adolescent awkward phase, that I’m all too familiar with, for all the world to see. I figured it’s only fair of me to post an equally embarrassing picture of myself at roughly the same age. Give or take a few.
So I see your Goosebumps Sarah, and I raise you the Littlest Stanley Cup Hockey Star.
“What Hockey Needs is More Violence!”
Now, I’ll be honest. I got so amped up by this discovery that the rest of the book was just kind of a blur. There was some slime. It kept growing. It tried to eat things. They tricked it and threw it away. The end. A pretty straight forward plot line, tailor made for the age range of 3rd through 6th grade that these books were written for. But that was also one of the things that I really loved about re-reading this book as an adult. It’s simplicity. Sure the things I remember blowing my mind as a kid, now just fell a flat. But honestly that wasn’t what this whole book reading adventure of mine was about.
I knew going in I wasn’t actually going to like these books as much as I remember. I just wanted to read them and remember what it was like reading these books as a kid. And that, I did.
I really can’t wait to read these books to my kids, whenever that will be. Because then I’ll actually get to re-live what it’s like to read these books for the first time. In the meantime, I’ll just have to hunt down a GAK horder and stock up. Because reading “Monster Blood” without it, really isn’t the same
Plus, I can make farting noises with it. And kids love farting sounds. I know I did!
So one book down, 4 more to go. Next Monday prepare yourself for another Halloween staple…
“The Haunted Mask”