First off, I hope I don’t bore anyone with this guest blog, but when the word was put out for personal stories concerning the Fear Street series, I had to write this. I found this Fear Street blog in the latter half of 2011 and thought it serendipitous because I had started rereading my collection. Below are my experiences with both the Fear Street series and the Goosebumps series. I think they both had a big effect on me. While my guest blog won’t be hilarious or awesome, the real blog is and I can’t wait to read more of it.
My Journey Down Fear Street Gave Me Goosebumps
I was born in 1989. The same year the first Fear Street book was published and three years before the first Goosebumps was published. As a child of the 90’s, you couldn’t escape these series’. If you didn’t find them on your own, your librarian was ready to suggest these short, easy books for you. I was of the former persuasion. I loved to read and still do. There wasn’t really anything like YA when I was in school so you read middle school books and then jumped to adult authors like Stephen King and Anne Rice. Stine’s books were always must more fun, if somewhat repetitive. Some of the first books I ever owned where R.L. Stine books, specifically Goosebumps #20 The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight and #22 Ghost Beach. I also owned a few of his standalone works, such as Curtains and Beach House.
In my elementary school days, yes, I did a book report on Ghost Beach complete with costume (sorry, no pictures. I only dressed like I was going to the beach with fake mascara freckles). Yes, I also joined the R.L. Stine fan club. However, it wasn’t until high school that I decided I wanted to complete the collections because they were a big part of my childhood (I also can’t stand to have an incomplete series on my shelf). It has taken my almost eight years to collect every original Fear Street book (63), every Fear Street Super Chiller (13) and every original Goosebumps book (62). I limited my collection to these three series, otherwise I’d be broke and forever collecting (there’s a reason Stine has sold more children’s books than anyone else…he writes more children’s books than anyone else). Along the way, I’ve read so many more of his books and also picked up The Nightmare Room series and How I Broke Up With Ernie, one of R.L. Stine’s only comedic works (I can’t tell you how excited I was to find this book after hearing about it for years).
If you’re thinking that eight years is a long time to be collecting something that’s not rare at all, you have to understand something: I wasn’t constantly looking for these books. Whenever I would happen upon them cheap on Ebay, in used bookstores, or more recently, on Swap.com, I’d buy them. It was always exciting to spot Fear titles in a thrift store. It, also, always necessitated a call to my mother who would then traipse into my room to compare the titles on my shelf to the ones I had found in the store (my mother was always somewhat less excited than I was). So, finally, at some point in 2010, I managed to complete my collection…but when to read them?
You see, once I had found a new R.L. Stine book for my collection, I did not read it. I had intended on reading them back to back (although I soon learned that this would not prove to be the case). Having to cart loads of these quick reads back and forth to college (a 2 ½ hour drive) was illogical. Only a summer could contain the epic Stine-gasm that was to be (I now apologize for the mental image that “Stine-gasm” just gave you (and again just then)). Luckily, I just happen to be graduating so I had a nice long summer to which to devote to my project. However, I came across another problem, mainly, that if I read all of these books back, I’d be burned out on them (not to mention, I’d be ignoring the back log of unread books I already had). A formula presented itself: As the Stine books are relatively short, I’d read a Stine book between every other book I’d read. Thus, ends my story. I started reading the Fear Street series in May of 2011. I finished all of them in March 2012. I promptly started on the Goosebumps series and as of June 9, I am on #41, Bad Hare Day.
Of course, in my readings and rereading’s, I found that this blog is right…a lot of these books are really bad. On Goodreads were I reviewed the books (not to the epicness that this blog does, sadly), I find myself giving many one star ratings, two star ratings, occasionally a three star one, and even rarer, a four star. Surprisingly, the Goosebumps books consistently get a higher rating from me. Go figure.
R.L. Stine’s books have had a huge effect on me. Be honest, I think everyone had one of his books or at least knew someone who owned one. I believe he made me a better reader and perhaps it wouldn’t be all that crazy to say that he helped make me a lifelong reader. With these series, I found books that interested me. Not the Stephen King books that everyone was reading (honestly, his books kind of freak me out) or the simple white washed stories for tweens where nothing really happens. I kept reading through that drought until I was older and could find better books that interested me.
So there you have it. My “Journey of Fear” (shoot me for that title please). I will finish the Goosebumps Series before the summer is over and I go back to grad school to major in publishing. I will finish a chapter on my reading history (reading pun!). I probably won’t read these books again, but I’ll definitely keep them and my children will (I’ll make them.)
I love that she's going to force Stine upon her unsuspecting future children. We must expose the next generation or all will be lost. Thank you, Drucilla!!