Book Thoughts: Goosebumps #19: Deep Trouble

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.

Deep Trouble was another good Goosebumps story. It almost wasn’t a scary story. There were definitely some frightful parts, but for the most part, it was more of an adventure than a horror story. I was happy to see this as the books were starting to feel a little “samey”. Basically, two kids, brother and sister, visited their uncle for the summer. The uncle was a tropical sea researcher, working for a university. Every year they got to explore exotic seas to examine the sea creatures there and help their uncle with his research.

There were no real monsters. They found a mermaid, but I don’t consider that to be a monster. Monsters are scary and kill humans. Mermaids do not. The monsters in this story were their fellow humans. Maybe that’s what the author was going for here. He was trying to show kids that monsters can exist within themselves. In this particular case, money caused humans to become monsters. A real life captured mermaid would be worth tons of money.

Speaking for myself, I would be pretty bored on a boat at sea. I don’t really know how to swim. I took lessons and could swim short distances, but I wouldn’t be able to swim well enough to be in the water for a few hours. I have enough trouble just treading water. I would need some sort of flotation device at all times in the water. I think it would be peaceful at sea though. I could read a lot of books on the boat, while listening to the sounds of the water and feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin.

Like some of the other Goosebumps books, the kids got away with too much in this story again. They frequently snuck out on their own to snorkel. Usually, something bad would happen on their own, but the adults wouldn’t punish them. The adults would tell the kids a lesson, but the kids weren’t punished. I thought it was a mistake.

Sometimes kids do learn their lesson from the bad effects of their decisions, but most times kids need extra reinforcement. It doesn’t have to be heavy punishment. A timeout for fifteen minutes or taking a favorite thing away for a day is more than enough. These days that would most likely be the smartphone or computer. The other thing is that kids don’t need to know exactly why a decision is bad. They only need to obey their parents or guardians. Once they become adults themselves they will understand why it was a bad decision.

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