The words above the title just brought an excitement to my ears — “Choose Your Own Adventure.” Throughout my childhood, I can’t deny that I LOVED these books. I had a handful and re-read them all the time.
What were these terrific books? What weren’t they?
There was action, drama, adventure, science fiction, fantasy, romance and pretty much anything else you’d want in a book as a late-elementary student. As I recall, many seemed to start like Indiana Jones movies with the main character (spoiler alert — the protagonist is YOU) starting some adventure with many possible paths to take. Often times you would read a page or two and then would be given a choice.
“If you fire a rocket toward the Coast Guard boat, turn to page 25. If you try to think of something else to do, turn to page 77.”
A book that you can tailor to your own choices! I loved it. Now, I’ll admit that perhaps these books have spoiled my generation. As I read book reviews these days, often times the poor reviews are from customers who were upset that the author didn’t write the story how they expected him/her to craft it. Those people need to get over themselves — unless you are in 5th grade and reading a CYOA book, you don’t get to pick how to finish the story.
Oh…and the finish. Or should I say finishes… In the copy I took off my daughter’s bookshelf, I counted 11 different endings, but some of them may have had upwards of 20 or even 30 different outcomes for you. There were good and happy endings for sure (You catch the bad guys and put them in jail while enjoying the spoils of your conflict), but most of the endings were a variation on you being arrested or dying in some tragic accident or planned conspiracy. These books taught me that more often than not, the ending to your story would not be happy.
Ultimately, we all have our own adventures that we choose each and every day, but its up to us and our perspective to determine whether that journey was a worthwhile one. As for me, I’m glad I read these books and now that am leafing through one right now, perhaps I ought to try my hand one of my own. Maybe one day you can choose your own adventure from my words.