Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Knife or "Seriously Laurie? You're Creeping Me Out."

This particular Fear Street book, “The Knife” is very special to me. Not because of the plot (terrible), characters (awful) or even the tagline (although it’s pretty good). No, this Fear Street book is special because it’s a HARDCOVER. Yes my friends, it’s true! At one point during the early 1990s, R.L. Stine books were actually printed in superiour, indestructible form! This has opened the door to so many more questions! Like: were the hardcover books more expensive? Do I have a collector’s item on my hands? Why on EARTH would they make a hardcover of Fear Street? Most importantly: how can I profit from this? Well I can’t, so I guess I’m just going to read it and try not to break the spine.

The cover of “The Knife” is pretty good. Laurie, our main character is on the front and although they don’t mention it in the book, she appears to be part Troll. Weird. And she styled her hair after watching “Little House on the Prairie” which was probably a poor choice. It doesn’t matter since the man on the front of the book is about to stab her with a scalpel! Well, at least it’s not a letter opener right? Can’t anyone in Shadyside use a regular knife? It’s always scalpels or special police regulation switch blades or hatchets. What’s wrong with a bread knife every once in a while? As usual, the best part of the cover is the tagline. “In this hospital people are dying – to get out!” Well that just doesn’t make sense, now does it! Are people killing themselves to get away from the killer? I would have preferred: “In this hospital people are dying – to live!” Somehow, I think that makes MORE sense.

Now I read this book more than a month ago, before my vacation and I oddly didn’t spend every night going over it in my head, so bear with me. “The Knife” centres around Laurie, who is a volunteer at the Shadyside Hospital. She’s dating Andy Price, whose father is Dr. Price the head of the hospital. How … convenient, LAURIE. Her best friend Skye also works at the hospital, and they meet a new, handsome yet dangerously mysterious guy (of course) named Rick Spencer. What a great 90s name!

Laurie is really worried about a kid on her floor, Toby, who’s always really upset and scared. Weird … it’s almost like he’s a CHILD in the HOSPITAL. Anyways, Laurie sees him leave with a lady who Toby says isn’t his mother, and Laurie immediately begins panicking and over-reacting. Keep in mind Toby is, like, four. I used to say the dumbest stuff when I was four, because I was FOUR. Lady’s probably his aunt or something. Laurie does the rational thing and sneaks a peek at his hospital documents, which I’m pretty sure is illegal. And she gets chased after this by a tubby, bitchy Nurse Wilton to a restricted floor. The best part is that floor turns out to be the “MEDICAL school floor”. WTF?! Shadyside has its own medical school now? I love when these small, suburban towns suddenly develop things like universities and theme parks (Sweet Valley, Sunnydale, Stonybrook). Laurie’s day get weirder when she sees Rick Spencer steal a bunch “surgical knives”. Or scalpels, whatever.

Actually, I lied. It gets weirder when Laurie convinces her friends to go to Toby’s house to check on him. I’m starting to think something might be a little off with Laurie. She sees Toby in the house, looking sad (like say, a SICK child might?) and is super hurt because he doesn’t remember her. Weird, Laurie, WEIRD of you!

The next day she’s in trouble with Nurse Wilton and is put on another floor. She goes up to talk to her and sees both Nurse Wilton and Rick Spencer go into the construction zone of the hospital, the Fear Wing. Oh my! I know what I would think, but Laurie thinks Rick is just following Nurse Wilton. Laurie is so naïve. Anyways, they don’t come out, so Laurie goes in to look for them and finds Nurse Wilton’s dead body with a “long surgical knife” in her neck. Or scalpel, whatever. She runs around telling everyone, including Skye, but when they get back to where the body was, it’s GONE! Dun dun duuuuunnnnn! Laurie now thinks that Rick Spencer killed Nurse Wilton, so we know by the end of the book, the two of them will be making out. No one loves a good murderous man as much as a Shadyside girl!

Laurie also still loves stalking little boys as she camps out near Toby’s house only to see him be dragged away during the night. But there is still wild screaming coming from inside the place! And Rick Spencer is there as well, following and chasing her! Oh my, what a turn on that must have been. Once she gets home, she goes to bed and then someone breaks into her house. I actually don’t know who it is, because I assume if it was Rick, he would have come into her bedroom to make out, but the burglar just runs out once Laurie’s aunt comes home. Rick Spencer calls Laurie later that night and tells her to keep away from Fear Street. Gosh, how can she resist all this sexual innuendo?

Laurie is STILL obsessed with this Toby child and talks to Dr. Price about it, and while she’s over there, she breaks up with her boyfriend Andy. Well, that was practical I guess… She also calls Toby’s mother who is “annoyed” with her (probably just worried about this creepy girl’s obsession) but then Laurie hears his mom slap him. Yikes! What to do now? Laurie calls the police, who arrive over at Toby’s house in a timely manner and rescue the little angel. JUST kidding, she drives over to the house and breaks in. YEAH, I know. She gets knocked out as soon as she sneaks in (I’m kinda happy about that) and ends up tied to a chair in the cellar by Toby’s mom. Okay well I guess Laurie’s instincts were right… but she’s still an idiot. Poor little Toby sneaks down to the cellar to visit with her and actually proves to be useful by helping her escape her ropes. They’re talking about why Toby didn’t recognize her that one night (give it UP Laurie!) but Toby insists it wasn’t him. Hmmm I wonder what the explanation for that could be? Yeah, he has a twin brother Terry.

Laurie actually manages to escape the house with Toby by just … running outside. This doesn’t often happen in books and movies. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Laurie had run upstairs, into a closet, and decided to “wait it out”. Good for you, Laurie! You had to show common sense at some point!

I spoke too soon. Instead of heading straight to the police with the poor boy, she decides to pick up her aunt at the hospital first. She didn’t even talk to her aunt, she just had a “message” left for her. It might as well said “Go to Fear Wing in hospital and wait to die, please”. God, I hate Laurie! She also sees that Rick Spencer is following her, so she runs into the hospital with Toby. She can’t find her aunt (really?! How unexpected.) but she sees Rick on the floor and decides she needs to “hide”. Guess where! You’re right, the Fear Wing. Rick finds her and they scuffle a little, then someone else comes in and Laurie hides. The other two scuffle and it turns out to be Dr. Price!

Then the awesome thing happens. Rick declares that Dr. Price is the murderer of Nurse Wilton and he did it to protect the illegal adoption business he had been running with Toby’s “mother”. That is AWESOME! Who saw that twist coming? Illegal adoption ring? Dr. Price ends up accidentally stepping into the empty elevator shaft but luckily (or unluckily, whatever) Laurie is saved by Rick Spencer. Who was in town to save his little sister, Beth, who had been illegally adopted. So good! And guess what happens on the last page.

‘“I have no choice,” she said, smiling. “You saved my life.”
She kissed him.’

Oh Laurie. You always have a choice.

Well that’s about it. Good read. I thought it would be predictable, which it was, a little bit. But the ending? Really stepped it up a notch! No wonder this one was a hard cover. I give “The Knife” 8 long surgical knives out of 11. Or scalpels, whatever.


Basherella said...

I haven't even read the whole post yet, but I just had to add this:

I went to a book signing at the Strand in NY in August, in the rare books room. There were all sorts of rare editions, really old books in glass cases, etc.

And on the shelf next to where I was sitting, a single hardcover copy of R. L. Stine's Superstitious.

Hardcover R.L. Stine exists!
What I'd really like to know is why is it rare enough to be prized?

A. M. Stine said...

O my god. You're telling me my hardcover belongs in a rare book room behind a glass case? I DO have a rare find on my hands! I wonder if I could sell it on ebay for say... 15$?

Anonymous said...

My guess is they're only rare enough to be prized because most copies were trashed by their owners. I mean, hardcover R.L. Stine? That's like having a hardcover penny dreadful.

zanne said...

I have never seen a hardcover RL Stine book!

LAK said...

Illegal adoption ring? Really? And the cliche kiss ending? AHHHHH!
It's like he forgot what he was going to write and said "well, this should do-really suck the readers in with this plot twist that makes no sense!"

But, the hardcover, way, way cool! It must have been a bookfair special!

Devika said...

The only time I've seen hardcover YA or children's books of any variety is at the public library, which I assume is so they can keep them for longer. I can't believe they actually sold them in regular shops.

Anonymous said...

I actually remember seeing the plot twist coming from a mile away...I guess I just had Stine's formula pegged so well at that point that we had a hivemind or something.

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Anonymous said...

ive seen tons of hardcover feaarstreet books my old middle school hand every book in hard cover

Justin Duhe said...

I'm changing my name to Rick Spencer.

Anonymous said...

It's been a while since I first read this review here, but about Fear Street hardcovers....are TRUE.I recall my middle school library had an entire Fear Street collection in hardcover! Now I feel truly blessed! At the same time, this kind of closes up on why Amazon does not include hardcover formats.

RecallerReminder said...

Definetly this book has one of the most unexpected twists ever. The killer mostly of times is or a friend, or a boyfriend/girlfriend, or something like that. When the formula is changed, turns out to be the kind grown up the protagonist comes sometime on the book.
Still I dont get it how this ilegal adoption business its gonna work...Like too risky if they are using a hospital of this league, dont think would cover everything up. Yeeeesh!

Anonymous said...

I want the whole collection of fear street books.