Book Thoughts: Goosebumps #12: Be Careful What You Wish For…

Goosebumps was a series of classic horror books for kids written by R. L. Stine. They were extremely popular when I was growing up. Even these days, the volume sales of the series as a whole is second only to the more recent Harry Potter series. Before I gave these old books away, I decided to reread the books I had and write my thoughts on them. An interesting thing about Goosebumps was that both my sister and I liked it. My sister and I never got along, so it was rare sight for something to interest both of us. In fact, my sister originally got the first Goosebumps book. I only got into it after borrowing the books from her.

This book was sort of about teaching kids a lesson to accept their situation in life and obey their parents. Because this was Goosebumps it was told in the form of a scary story. The main character, Sam, met some sort of witch lady. After Sam helped the witch find her way in the town, the witch offered Sam three wishes. Through the course of the book every wish turned out to be wrong in some way. At first Sam liked it, but every time there ended up being a big downside to the wish.

I thought the author was a little too liberal with the wishes. Two of them in particular were not really one wish. They were actually compound sentences, that is, two wishes. I would have never seen this as a little kid, but now I saw that a few of the wishes were actually two wishes in one. I think the author struggled to think of good wishes that would illustrate the point. It was much easier to let Sam have more than one in each wish. Also, each time a wish didn’t go Sam’s way, the witch cancelled it in addition to granting the effects of Sam’s next which. That was like a whole ‘nother wish given for free.

Overall, I thought a little too much happened for such a short book. There was no space to give out details. The author only had time to briefly explain a scene, and then it was time to move onto the next one. I think it would have been better if the witch only gave one wish. That would allow enough space to go into detail in each scene. After the first wish’s effects, I already got the point. The extra wishes were just redundant. This book was written for kids though. Maybe kids would need to see how three wishes went wrong to understand the moral of the story.

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