Book Report: Superstitious by R.L. Stine (1995)

Trust me, I am doing you a favor:

THE HUNKY IRISH PROFESSOR IS INHABITED BY THE ‘DEMONS OF SUPERSTITION’ WHO, IF HE DOES NOT ADHERE TO ALL SUPERSTITIOUS RITUALS, BURST FORTH FROM HIM AND KILL PEOPLE GRUESOMELY. TO FREE HIMSELF, HE MEETS, CHARMS, MARRIES, AND IMPREGNATES A GRAD STUDENT SO THEIR MALE OFFSPRING WILL INSTEAD BEAR THE BURDEN OF THE DEMON INFESTATION. ALSO, THE ‘SISTER’ HE LIVES WITH IS ACTUALLY HIS FIRST WIFE, SO HE’S NOT ONLY A DEMON-INFESTED USER OF INNOCENT WOMEN, HE’S ALSO A BIGAMIST.

If you had any inclination to read the book, I hope I’ve spoiled it for you.

I bought this book for $2.50 at the Y book fair a month or so back because I’ve read more horror in the last few years (see also my reviews of King and Koontz). I knew R.L. Stine’s name as a young adult horror writer and thought he’d be worth a try in adult fiction. Blech, was I wrong.

What’s wrong with the book?

  • Stupid, ill-drawn, underused characters, many of whom are included for no reason. Why does the book spend so much time on the small town cop in over his head? No freaking reason.
  • Sex scenes that are graphic, but pointless, and are also ill-drawn. Matter of fact, Sara eats an orange, Sara has the best sex in the world with Liam. How do you know? The third person, limited omniscient narrator tells you so!
  • Sing-song narrative voice.
  • Pointless details. Whole chapters that could have been and should have been cut because
  • Repetition. It’s
      Chip’s hand.
      Chip’s hand.
      Chip’s hand.

    If you don’t get the point from this startling stylistic device at the end of the chapter in which the hand being Chip’s hand is revealed, on the first page of the next chapter, we get those same three sentences:

      Chip’s hand.
      Chip’s hand.
      Chip’s hand.

    To spice it up, a couple paragraphs later, it’s

      Chip’s hand, Chip’s hand, Chip’s hand.

    We get the freaking point.

  • Meaningless cliffhangers that–surprise!–turn out not to be what accompanies the crashing mental chord imagined by Stine as he ended each chapter. The man, falling from gunshot wounds? Playing a joke. The hot-breathed beast with red eyes that leaps out of the darkness? A golden retriever whose owner insists he’s never done that before, nor will it again, because it only exists as the segue between one overblown, mostly meaningless chapter and the next.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate this book. I merely feel contempt for it. I read several passages to my beautiful wife as I was reading it, and the threats she made frightened me much more than anything within this book. As a matter of fact, the book is only tolerable because it’s so bad and because it didn’t take that long to read once I actually forced myself to sit down and read more of it.