Monday, March 25, 2013

"Broken Date" by R.L. Stine

Jamie is deeply in love with her boyfriend, Tom. She's got their whole life planned out for them. So she's understandably upset when she witnesses him shoot a jewelry store manager dead during an armed robbery. Instead of going to the police like any rational, intelligent person, she whines endlessly about how his actions have ruined her life. She also suspects that he's making threatening calls to her and following her around wherever she goes.

Broken Date was written quite early in Stine's teen horror career - 1988 to be exact! His work was generally of a higher quality back then, before he was churning out several books a month. Unfortunately, that is not the case here. Broken Date never really gets past the fact that Jamie never goes to the police after witnessing the crime. There probably wouldn't be a book if she had, but it was extremely difficult to believe that Jamie, who is presented as smart and together, would not do something so logical. When she then proceeds to act like an exasperating moron for the rest of the novel, it only makes things worse.

Like any of Stine's works, this one zips by at a decent pace, so you can almost forget how ridiculous it all is. Almost. The answer as to whether Tom really is the jewelry store robber is genuinely groan-inducing. It only serves to further paint Jamie as a complete idiot. Add to this the thin character development - we don't even learn the main characters' last names - and you have an entry in Stine's ouevre that is largely forgettable. If you have a date with this one, you're not missing much if you break it. Yeah, real original, Paul.

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