Fear Street and Goosebumps have always seemed a little shameful to me. I never wanted to be seen reading them. It was much cooler to say you were into Stephen King or Dean Koontz. They wrote books for ‘grownups’ with sex and swearing and everything. So even though I wouldn’t publicly declare my love of R.L. Stine’s books, I still coveted them in secret. I used to try to force my much younger sister (who was not a reader at all) to buy all the Goosebumps books just so I would be able to read them myself. Under the guise of spending ‘quality time’ together, I would greedily read while she played with Barbies in another part of the room.
The most shameful part of all of this was not how much I loved Fear Street and Goosebumps, but how absolutely obsessed I was with R.L. Stine’s one adult novel Superstitious. I must have read this book at least 20 times and I have absolutely no idea why I loved it so much. It is a terrible book. The plot is intriguing enough, but the characters are poorly written and the dialogue is atrocious. Shocking, I know.
For those of you who didn’t spend their childhood reading and re-reading this book, here is a short synopsis (This synopsis is actually from memory which is probably really sad. I can’t believe that this book’s plot is still taking up valuable space in my brain). The main character is a graduate student in college named Sara. Shortly after Sara gets to the school she meets and falls in love with a handsome Irish professor named Liam. Liam seems like the perfect guy and Sara quickly marries him. He has two slightly weird things about him though…he lives with his adult sister Margaret and he is extremely superstitious and insists that Sara abide by his very strict rules about his superstitions. In the midst of this love story there is a string of grisly murders on campus. The bodies are ripped apart as if attacked by an animal and a few people around town have seen fleeting glimpses of a weird creature. And if you haven’t figured out who the killer might be yet, I don’t believe that you are truly a R.L. Stine fan.
It’s hard to say why I loved this book so much. I was well aware that it was a guilty pleasure even when I was a teen. It’s just so fabulously lurid. From the opening scene where a girl is ripped apart while running drunk through a field and singing the song ‘Oklahoma’ to the fantastic reveal that yes, Liam is an actual monster and he has impregnated Sara with his monster baby. Superstitious is just filled with gruesome murders (eyeballs being pulled out) and body horror (on Liam and Sara’s wedding day Liam’s tongue suddenly becomes all monstrous and extends four feet out of his mouth all yellow and throbbing). And the sex. Oh yes, this is the book where R.L. Stine write sex scenes. And they are a sight to behold. I’m sure they appealed to me as a teenage girl because they sound like they were written by a teenage girl. Sorry, Stine. Sexy you are not. I’d like to think that he is writing this as a sort of cautionary tale for his teen readers…have unprotected sex with a guy you barely know and you will end up with a monster baby. But most likely it’s just Stine letting us in on his particular bedroom kinks. Shudder.
So there is my deep, dark secret. I unabashedly love this book and honestly if I still had it I would read it right now. That is definitely one perk to being an adult. I can now proudly read any sort of cheesy 90’s book and just tell people I’m being ‘ironic’. Bring on the Goosebumps!
Thank you, Amanda! Quick note: I have a copy of Superstitious and yes, you will all be exposed to it here eventually. Can you feel the excitement? CAN YOU FEEL IT?