Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Point Being?

During adolescence, I used to devour Point Horror with a passion bordering on fanatical. It took off in a big way amongst girls at my school. It was always the girls who were reading. 

Some of my favourites included:

Beyond anything else, they taught you not to trust anyone. Not the 'responsible adult,' not your boy/girlfriend, not your best friend, not the teacher, the doctor or the lifeguard - nobody. Whoever you thought you could trust, it was always them!

More than that, though, they introduced the culture of books to me. 

It's hard to describe, but for a couple of years I always had my nose in a Point Horror. They introduced me to the smell of new books. The routine of book shopping. Going into Dillons (as it was before Waterstones took over the world) and shopping for a book, knowing that I'd come away with something I felt excited to read. The ritual of browsing the backs, feeling the covers, considering the price. Then the fun of swapping them with friends at school.

So, okay, looking back it's easy to write it off as the literary equivalent of Home & Away in that you didn't have to think too hard - but one thing adults often forget, is that childhood is very dark. From the brothers Grimm through to Punch and Judy - it's a creepy time, full of petty vengeance, social segregation, the first stirrings of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll (or Limp Bizkit and Slim Shady) - whatever - the point being, Point Horror didn't shy away from that stuff. It embraced it as a celebration of our fascination with fear. 

For that reason, it'll always hold a place in my (yes, still beating) heart.

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