Monday, May 19, 2008

#54 Don't Go To Sleep!



#54 Don't Go To Sleep!

Front Tagline! Rise and shine. Forever. (What does that even mean?)
Back Tagline! It's A No-Snooze Situation!

Official Book Description!
Matt hates his tiny bedroom. It's so small it's practically a closet! Still, Matt's mom refuses to let him sleep in the guest room. After all, they might have guests. Some day. Or year.
Then Matt does it. Late one night. When everyone's in bed. He sneaks into the guest room and falls asleep.
Poor Matt. He should have listened to his mom. Because when Matt wakes up, his whole life has changed. For the worse. And every time he falls asleep, he wakes up in a new nightmare....

Brief Synopsis!
I should preface this entry by breaking the bad news: Nothing on the cover of the book actually occurs in the book. Not even the scariest thing, the drop ceiling. So, with that in mind, what does appear in the book? Well... how about a twelve-year-old geek throwing a hissy fit and beating up a life-size cardboard cutout of a Klingon? I guess that was simply too scary to put on a book cover.

How much of a loser is protagonist Matthew Amsterdam? Well, after hearing his spaz-out on poor Worf, his two much older siblings come into Matt's messy room to mock him properly. His brother Greg, a senior in high school, is making a documentary about how lame Matt is and his sister Pam, a junior, joins in with play-by-play. Even the family dog, a dachshund named Biggie, hates the kid. Matt for some reason is scared of the small wiener dog. Biggie Biggie Biggie can't you see, sometime your woofs just terrorize Matt.

Matt tries to reason with his mother to let him move into the guest room, which is twice as big as his small room. She tells him that the guest room is for guests. While he grasped the concept without her explanation, he still thinks that their only annual guests, his grandparents, wouldn't mind sleeping in his room. Then over dinner, Greg continues his documentary on how much Matt sucks and when Matt gets huffy, Matt's the one who gets punished. Though Matt is frustrated with how mean his family is, I wonder if, as the book progresses, he'll grow to appreciate what he has... hmmm.... I'm rubbing my chin in an exaggerated, sarcastic manner. It is so sarcastic, this chin-rubbing.

That night, Greg and Pam sneak the dog into Matt's room and it bites him on the face. It's not revealed, but I sure hope Matt responded by throwing his nightcap to the ground and stomping on the hat while hollering "Doggonnit!"

The next day, Matt decides that since his single mom works late at a second job, she'll never know if he sneaks off to sleep in the guest room. So his idea of defiant rebellion is to just sleep in a different room? Greg, I'd like to invest in your documentary. Matt's plan to fall asleep works perfectly, but only because he'd been practicing every night of his life. However, his plan to wake up the same as he fell asleep runs into a hitch, as he wakes up as a sixteen-year-old. That's right, it's one of those books.

Much to his surprise, Greg and Pam are now 12 and 11 and just as annoying. Shocked to discover no one remembers how life used to be, Matt finds himself stuck in a new life. His mother drops him off at the high school, where he immediately gets threatened by a bully. In English class, there's some "comedy" at the expense of Anna Karenina. A piece of advice for RL Stine: It's probably not a good idea to try to score points off a book that is actually good within a book that is unequivocally not.

Matt has a lot of trouble adjusting to his new body. He keeps running into walls and tripping over his feet. He also knocks out a girl with a volleyball during gym class. In the hall between classes, Matt runs into the bully again. Matt realizes that high school can be a scary place. He decides to leave before he encounters more typical high school situations, such as peer pressure or knocking up Manny. On his way out of the school, he bumps into a cute twelve-year-old girl with a ponytail named Lacie. I mean literally bumps into her, as he knocks her down a few times by accident-- at least I hope.

That night, Matt must again sleep in the guest room. When he awakes, he's pleased to discover he's a twelve-year-old again. He's less pleased to discover his parents have been replaced with complete strangers and he's now an only child. He gets dropped off at a different middle school and runs into Lacie again. Because of overpopulation, the school had to add more lunch periods and so Lacie's is at 8:30AM-- this is actually a pretty good joke on Stine's part and deserved to be part of a much better book.

Lacie and Matt decide to eat outside and they're enjoying their brunch when two boys in leather jackets take a break from leaning up against cars to chase after Matt. Lacie holds the street toughs off while Matt makes his escape. Back at home, he tries to call his relatives but they don't exist, so there's no one to accept the charges. He's also a total jerk to his new mom for no reason. He tells her to mind her beeswax and whoever previously owned my copy of this book sure loved that line, as it's been underlined in brown crayon. I guess if you have to underline something, you might as well do it at this point in the book, because it only gets worse.

Matt goes to sleep in the guest room and wakes up to discover he's eight. And he has a pet monkey. And he wears a blue spandex suit. And lives with an extended circus family. And this wasn't what I was talking about when I said it got worse either, so start finding a way to deal with what's coming up.

His irate lion tamer father insists Matt practice the new lion riding trick, and so he tries to throw his son into a cage with a lion. Matt makes a break for it and hides underneath a truck in the parking lot. Then he runs into the two leather-clad toughs and they chase him back to the same lion cage. He runs inside and hides behind the lion. He threatens to sic the lion on the toughs if they come any closer. When they don't believe him, he does in fact sic the lion on them. I guess he wasn't lion after all, amirite

That night, Matt gets very excited about falling asleep, thinking that maybe he'll wake up as a sports superstar or in a different book. No such luck. Matt wakes up and discovers he's an old man. Deciding that the subscription to the AARP's magazine isn't worth it, he rushes back to sleep to will another fate for himself. This new reality is only marginally better, as he wakes up to find he's now a seven-foot lizard monster.

Monster Matt has sharp teeth and horns and striped oozing lizard skin. He flees his house and starts accidentally terrorizing his neighbors, causing car crashes and the townspeople begin to swarm away from this monster. Feeling only marginally more ostracized from others than he was at the beginning of the book, Matt adjusts remarkably well to being a lizard monster. He stops a speeding car with his claws and begins to eat it piece by piece. So he has trouble adjusting to being a sixteen-year-old boy but eating a car is no big deal? He's munching on a car door when he spots Lacie, who leads him away from the onlookers. They run down alleys and backways until they come across an isolated house.

Lacie leads Monster Matt into the house and... into the hands of the two leather-clad street toughs, who thank her for her work. Then they throw a magical net over the lizard monster. It's times like this that I am reminded of how superfluous those parody books of this series were. RU Slime has nothing on the real deal.

The three lead the netted monster into a jail cell inside the house. When Matt wakes up, he's a fourteen-year-old boy. Finally Matt and the reader are given some answers regarding what's happening. See, when Matt slept in the guest room, he accidentally triggered A Reality Warp. This is revealed to Matt as though it were obvious. Possessing well-reasoned logic that not even fanfic would touch, Lacie proceeds to explain that by triggering A Reality Warp, every time Matt wakes up, he changes reality for everyone in the universe. In the liminal justice system, reality-based offenses are considered especially heinous. Lacie and the two toughs-- who are named, hand to God, Bruce and Wayne-- are members of an elite squad known as the Reality Police. This is their story.

The Reality Police decide that the only way to stop Matt from changing reality is to put him to sleep-- forever. He thwarts their plan however by falling asleep and waking up as a squirrel. He escapes through the bars of the jail cell window and flees into the night. He decides that if he can just make his way back to his home and fall asleep in his old room again, he can undo all the events of the book. Aspiring writers, if you ever want to pour salt in your wounds, remember any time you submit something for publication only to get rejected, this book was accepted and its author paid.

An extended sequence follows between Matt the Squirrel and his sister Pam. Pam tries to keep the squirrel as a pet, which works fine for Matt because he thinks he can just squirrel into his room, go to sleep, and wake up cured. However, this plan fails and Matt the Squirrel barely escapes being locked inside a hamster cage. He climbs up a tree in the front yard and falls asleep. When he wakes up, the tree limb he was resting on as a squirrel crashes down, due to Matt now being a morbidly obese child. Ha, RL Stine sticks it to all the regular targets in this book: Fatties, Geezers, Lizard Monsters, Reality Police.

Fat Matt tries to gain entry to his house by ringing the doorbell and asking if he could sleep in their house. This plan doesn't work because Matt isn't capable of changing the universe to the extent that everyone is as stupid as he is. So the fat kid runs outside, climbs up the tree and attempts to jump onto his bedroom ledge from two stories up. Thrilling action commences as the fat kid jumps and then dangles from the gutter by his fingertips, managing to land on the ledge before he could fall to his fat death. He successfully breaks into his house and falls asleep in his bed, which exists even though he doesn't... well, I guess when the reader is this close to the end, Abraham Lincoln could have shown up and it would get the same mild confused shrug in response.

Matt wakes up and he's back in his old room. Everything is just as it was. Matt realized in their absence that he does love his family, even though they can treat him lousy at times. RL Stine realizes that the VHS rental of Home Alone can be written off on his taxes as a business expense.

But the Twist is!
Matt is so caught up in celebrating his safe return to reality that he forgets that it's his birthday. When he arrives home from school, his mother surprises Matt by revealing that she's moved all his stuff into the guest room, which is now his room. Matt responds by screaming like a little girl.

the Platonic Boy-Girl Relationship!
Matt and Reality Police Junior Officer Lacie, who disappears halfway through several realities in the book.

Questionable Parenting!
Matt tries to tell his mom about how mean his siblings are and she just tells him that they're wonderful. I guess I know what her second job is: Night Contrarian.

I Guess No One Bothered To Read or Proofread These Books Alert!
Actual line from the book: "How can Matt can stand it?"

Has RL Stine Ever Seen a Dog? Alert!
Biggie is described as possessing "gaping dachshund jaws."

Memorable Cliffhanger Chapter Ending!
HALL OF FAME CLIFFHANGER:
Ch. 5/6:
Matt tries to tell the high school principal that he's only twelve, to which she replies "Yes, I know" ....
"Yes, I know you read a lot of science fiction."

Great Prose Alert!
I'd much rather be on the planet Pluto than in my own house-- even with giant ants shooting spit rays at me.

Conclusions!
Do you really need me to connect the dots on this one? In any reality, Don't Go To Sleep! eats.

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought I'd never read this, but I remembered the plot pretty soon into the synopsis. I wouldn't be too hard on the Reality Police; they only want to end the book, and I'm sure we can all sympathise with that noble goal.

I think "Rise and Shine. Forever." means that he should stay awake forever? Or that he's trapped in a cycle of waking up to something stupid?

I never read the parody books; according to Wikipedia, there were only two, though. Were you thinking of reviewing them to see how they compare to the genuine article?

allhailpowerfuldog said...

Hilarious.

Greg could become the next Frederick Wiseman.

troy steele said...

Well, I think even Greg wouldn't have had the nerve to charge $30 for DVD-Rs.

And Anonymous Number One, probably not. Though I would consider looking at one of the ripoff series, like Bone Chillers, which were the Cracked magazine to Goosebumps' Mad.

Arix said...

"I guess he wasn't lion after all, amirite"

This bit physically hurt me.

RaisinCookies said...

I think "Rise and Shine. Forever." was just one of those mildly sinister-sounding taglines that they had lying around in the publisher's office.

Really, when you think about it, if you add "Forever." to any number of phrases, you can make them sound mildly sinister:

"Eat your vegetables. Forever."
"Pink is for sissies. Forever."
"Wal-Mart is open 24 hours. Forever"

Robert said...

I actually enjoyed this book as a kid, though more for the humor aspects of it (I recall when the townspeople were horrified at him eating a car, he stopped and considered what they would expect a monster to eat). And the next morning he wonders why he had a stomachache, when he remembers that, OH YEAH, HE ATE A CAR. Not to mention his response to being an old man was "Screw this!"

To me, it feels like the rest of the book was just trying to figure out a way to justify the constant body-switching. I can't say it really succeeded...the magic net was retarded, and while Stine definitely needed some way to end the book, he could have come up with something better than "sleep in your own bed".

Zak said...

THAT WAS MY COPY I UNDERLINED THAT IN BROWN CRAYON AND SOLD IT ON EBAY!!

...Nah, but it would have been pretty cool if someone who reads this blog remembers having done that.

Anyway, Troy and first anon, just making sure you DO know that the "parody" books written by "R U Slime" were actually written by Stine himself?

Anonymous said...

I actually really liked this book. All the absurdity was pretty fun and was nice that it started fast and never really stopped. There was no 20 chapters waiting for a conflict.

druplusspike said...

At least there's no werewolves?
LOL at the getting Manny preggers. Don't forget Liberty, she's a baby mama.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what anybody says, this book is amazing. It's like being stuck in one of those "false awakening" dreams where you think you woke up but you're really still dreaming. Add a healthy dose of randomness and this is one of the best and most fun Goosebumps books.

Anonymous said...

"I'm rubbing my chin in an exaggerated, sarcastic manner. It is so sarcastic, this chin-rubbing."

I am so using that at the next possible opportunity

Neil Cicierega said...

Zak: No WAY, you must confirm this. That would blow my mind.

troy steele said...

Gooflumps were released by Random House and of course Goosebumps/Fear Street/&c were released by Scholastic and later Scholastic/Parachute Press. Some rudimentary investigation shows both companies are not owned by the same larger blanket company. Scholastic allowing Stine to moonlight for a competitor seems very unlikely.

Fear Street said...

"...or knocking up Manny."

Just as Matt got excited about falling asleep, I got excited when I finally recognized a reference made in this blog.

I remember reading this book religiously when I was a kid. I'm only slightly ashamed.

Rhomega said...

So, it's like Sliders, only it sucks and...it's not Sliders.

In all honesty, I actually liked this book, and the whole "parallel dimension" theory anyway.

...? said...

I think they should have gone for some kind of "Snooze you lose" parody for the back quote.

"Snooze, you lose...everything!"

Or "No snooze is good snooze!"

"Early to bed...early to die..."

Ok maybe I'm not any better at this.

Ryan Ferneau said...

I think "Rise and Shine. Forever." means that he should stay awake forever?

Yeah, hmm... The title and tagline make it seem as though this is some sort of Freddie Krueger scenario, where the bad guy gets you in your dreams, or maybe sleep becomes harmful to your health somehow, or something like that. The picture looks more like "The monster under your bed is real!" And then the story is none of those things.

I don't care what anybody says, this book is amazing. It's like being stuck in one of those "false awakening" dreams where you think you woke up but you're really still dreaming.

Don't forget that I Live In Your Basement also explored that concept.

Anonymous said...

How about "Early to bed, early he DIES"?

And whether or not it's true, I did wonder if maybe the parody books were also written by Stine. (The crude humour in the titles is vaguely reminiscent of the "Rotten School" books I've seen by him on Amazon.) Kinda ironic that he'd have written the parodies but maybe not most of the real books. But maybe that's why he'd have wanted to write parodies.

I'm hoping for My Hairiest Adventure next; it's the only one left that I've never read (or seen the TV version of).

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that I Live In Your Basement also explored that concept.

Yeah, I've not read that one (I think; I might have read it a long time ago), but it seems right up my alley.

Snooze, you lose...everything!

Actually, that one's not bad. :P

anti-laci said...

i can't believe i didn't read this book as a child! i was always trying to find my name in things because no characters are ever named laci. i would have been so excited to add an e to my name and run around saying KNOCK KNOCK REALITY POLICE

kiki williams said...

So why does being a teenager cause him to run into walls??? That's the REAL mystery.

Brodie said...

"So, it's like Sliders, only it sucks and..."

... That actually describes a large chunk of Sliders.

Ashley said...

LOL @ raisincookies. Forever.

And Troy, you get me every time - a Degrassi reference!! Loves it!

Anonymous said...

"Rise and Shine. Forever" makes me think of Sideshow Bob in the Simpsons ep "Cape Fear."

"Stay way from my son!"

"Oh, I'll stay away. Stay away...forever!"

allhailpowerfuldog said...

C'mon Troy... you told me "don't go to sleep" because I have to wait for your next update.

Wow. That was really lame.

troy steele said...

The next towering update won't be up 'til late Monday.

Anonymous said...

I sense a clue in that apparently offhand statement! Or possibly a red herring. Unfortunately, my early time zone means I've already spent a whole night waiting.

Brodie said...

So it should be up by tomorrow evening. Excellent.

Anonymous said...

That bad, is it? The next one?

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering why it still says "New Update Every Monday" on the site, when it only happens on one out of every two mondays (half the time)? Kinda misleading...

troy steele said...

Every update on the front page right now was put up at the latest on Monday night.

Brodie said...

When? When? Must have update soon!

Q & T said...

Damn you to hell, Stock Photo! DAMN YOU TO HELL!

Raistlin said...

Right now I'm in Germany; I was relying on Troy to give me a good dose of humor and nostalgia, as well as an American touchstone. Curse you, Stock Photo!

Oh well, at least there is plenty of beer to keep me occupied until the update finally comes.

Rhomega said...

I don't blame you for delaying this. I do recall the book being quite convoluted, and the TV episode was an hour long.

troy steele said...

Though my Terror Tower hint was genuine, at the last moment I switched to a different book. This decision ranked somewhere beneath getting a forehead tattoo on the Bad Idea Scale.

Brodie said...

You could do a dual update.

TreMor NZ said...

He wasn't "Lion"...You,Sir,have made my day

Mighty said...

freaking hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Wait, the problem for this kid wasn't sleeping, it was the fact that he was sleeping in an evil magic room. The tagline should have gone something along the lines of "Don't Sleep In The Guest Bedroom Or Else! FOREVER!" or something.

forgotten sin said...

i know they didn't think much of the kids who read these, but they could've easily went with "To Sleep, Perchance to SCREAM!"

Ensis said...

There WERE rumors to Stine moonlighting as a parody writer of his own series, but if you check the inside cover of both books you'll notice that the copyright is in the name of Robert Hughes.

Anonymous said...

You really need to review the TV series. You would have a lot of fun with this episode. It's just one big, long What.

Kate said...

The only thing I got out of this one was a desire to read Anna Karenina.

Ivan said...

I love the allusion to Degrassi high. Is it sad that this is one of the few references I actually get?

Elizabeth said...

For me, this one was sort of like what Troy said about Go Eat Worms...one of those books that you forget until you look at a list of the books in the series.

Blogger Beware Lover96 said...

That Kid must be really paranoid about being caught masturbating to want to move his room all the way up there in the attic...

Anonymous said...

I remember loving this book as a kid. I just recently found the television version, and, Im sorry to say, was nothing like the book.

Anonymous said...

"In the liminal justice system, reality-based offenses are considered especially heinous. Lacie and the two toughs-- who are named, hand to God, Bruce and Wayne-- are members of an elite squad known as the Reality Police. This is their story."

HAHAHAHA!!! Sorry. I just couldn't stop laughing when I read that one.

I love Goosebumps! Your blogs are hilarious! Keep it up

Lizuka said...

I think I understand the "Rise and shine -- forever!" tagline. It's simple - if he goes to sleep, Edward Cullen will break into his room and bite him, condemning him to a life of eternal sparkliness. Makes perfect sense.

HeatMa said...

Love the Law & Order reference... I laugh my ass off at every one of these entries.

Anonymous said...

Wait a sec...did anyone notice that ? The policemen's names - Bruce and Wayne ?

Bruce Wayne. Yes! You know this name!

Are they Batman who splits into 2 persons ? LOL

Loupgarou said...

Wait, if that room is a reality warp, then haven't his grandparents warped reality numerous times?

spieg said...

So this book is essentially The Lathe of Heaven, if The Lathe of Heaven was written by a terrible children's horror writer.

Anonymous said...

benny here. grat again!!!!!!!! this one was so so so good. thats all im going to say. 8.5/10 currently tied in second place.

Anonymous said...

Are the Reality Police like the opposite of the Dream Police? A Cheap Trick reference would have made this awesome entry even more awesome

The dream police, they live inside of my head
The dream police, they come to me in my bed
The dream police, they're coming to arrest me, oh, no lol

Anonymous said...

YOU'VE DISRUPTED THE NATURAL ORDER!
... by not sleeping in your bed.

I can't even imagine how he'd be if you took him mattress shopping post book.

Groggy Dundee said...

I'm watching a story on NBC Nightly News saying, honest to God, PA schools are serving "lunch" at 8:30. Is RL Stine a visionary or what?

Anonymous said...

lol I remember reading this book. It was kinda funny.

However, Lacie pissed me off. Also the 2 guys that were working for her. Bruce and Wayne. I don't know why but it makes me think of Batman, since Batman's real name is Bruce Wayne....

I may consider buying the book only to laugh at it while reading it though. Stine has written some good Goosebumps book before when I was a small kid, but Don't go to sleep was terrible, especially since it wasn't even proofread.

Rose said...

This was the scariest book in the series to me personally =-O However, i didnt find the tv series episode of it too bad, not so disturbing and really funny