God bless R.L Stine and his demented mind for Goosebumps. If you are a 90s kid, you’d know what I’m talking about and I’d love you extra for owning copies of the novels that were published in the mid nineties.
Unfortunately for me, at the time, I didn’t have the privilege of owning a single copy of Goosebumps since my parents cared more about my clothes and toys than books (and they always reasoned I had quite enough at home). Third grader R was first exposed to these treasures by my boy seatmate A.I, who always carried a white towelette with him. We were ‘frenemies’ but we had our more precious moments of spastic flailing and gleeful chaos around in the school grounds and he can be a really nice guy. He loved to read those things and being seatmates, we had an unspoken truce, the rule of “sharing” (and that includes shamelessly copying each other’s answers in Math class). The numbness and deadness I felt inside about literature suddenly took a turn for blatant contentedness. The day he let me read one novel during recess changed my whole perspective about life.
The girls at my class didn’t care about reading at ALL (and it still surprises me up to this day) and me and A.I reveled in the feeling that the books gave us: fear in our spines, creeped out yet we were unfazed. It awakened a hunger in me and soon enough I was devouring these books. Other than breaks, I read them voraciously in class (A.I refused to let me take home a copy) hiding the books behind a bigger book and I got caught, sometimes. I was taught the skill of being stealth and me and A.I we’re very much content behind our teacher’s backs and went on reading. I could not be content until I mined the series for terrifying and amusing snippets the author was capable of producing.
The Goosebumps series is central to me and probably to the others out there who experienced this childhood thrill of reading them. Reading Goosebumps is like a rite of passage and probably an obligate stage one must pass for the adult readers.