Say Cheese and Die Again by R.L. Stine
Greg has to do a report in his class about something true that happened to him. He decides to tell the class about a time he and his friends found an evil camera in an old house. The teacher doesn’t even let him finish and gives him an F, but Greg needs good grades to go and visit his cousins over the summer. The teacher tells Greg that he will reconsider the F, if Greg can prove the camera was evil.
This is a bad idea, but Greg decides that he has to go and get the camera back. He goes to the old house where they found it in the first place, but it’s not there; the house has been torn down. There’s a boy there who tells Greg where the camera is and agrees to let Greg borrow it. Somehow in the middle of everything else, Greg gets his picture taken with the camera and it looks like a negative and he’s gigantic. He continues to get gigantic and his teacher isn’t at school that day. What’s going to happen to Greg? Will he ever get rid of that F?
What I liked
Again, R.L. does a good job of continuing a story without having it be out of left field. I think this continuation fits.
What I didn’t like
Why is Greg stupid enough to tell a story that no one would believe? Look, there are times when you tell people the things that happened to you, even if they don’t believe at first. Those things are times like, “Hey, good-upstanding-keys-to-the-city-for-saving-a-drowning-puppy person touched me inappropriately.” The times you don’t tell your experiences to other people are something like Greg’s experience. If some guy came up to me and said, “Hey, I found this evil camera,” I would think he was full of it. Nobody would believe it.
Maybe the thing really happened, but there is a point when you trade off sharing your story versus having people think you’re bananas. People generally don’t believe stories from other people that are about inexplicable things. “Hey, I saw a ghost,” might get you believed by some people. “Hey, I saw a UFO,” will get you believed by a few and people will think you’re one of those crazy UFO-believing, conspiracy theorists.
If it’s something illegal, you tell other people about it, even if they don’t believe you at first. If it’s about that time you, for sure, saw Bigfoot in the woods, you might have to keep it to yourself if you want people to look upon you credibly. It’s kind of sad that we have to filter what we can tell the world depending on if our situations are believable or not. If it really happened we should be able to talk about it.
You can choose to tell people anyway, not taking into account whether anyone will believe you, and maybe it will turn out ok. Greg may have been able to tell someone else all about the evil camera and just have them be like, “Oh, that’s awful! I’m so glad you’re safe now!”
Couldn’t Greg have just talked about that time he went to a water park?
Have you had something happen to you, that was really weird, and when you told people they didn’t believe you?
Do you think people are generally scared to tell society about things that happened to them because the other people will not believe?