Remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series of books?
Choose Your Own Adventure was a novel series geared towards children and young adolescents. These books were not like regular books. First, the reader was the main character, which fancy people call the “second-person.” An opening sentence would be something like:
“You are a world famous scientist”
“You find a satchel filled with a million dollars”
“You are born to a family of complainers”
A Choose Your Own Adventure book would begin just like a regular novel, but when at the end of the first scene, “you” would be faced with a choice between two options, or between three options if you happened to read the super deluxe version before I took it out of the library and then left it on the table at Fuddruckers.
“Go to the left (turn to page 28)” versus “Go to the right (turn to page 1,139)”
“Follow the strange man” versus “Tell the strange man you’re not allowed to drink soda during the week”
The reader was always a different character. I remember one where I got to be a monster, and another where I was a gunslinger in the Old West. I also recall one where the reader was that furry creature from the Punky Brewster cartoon, but I could just be making that up.
The first choice would lead to another scene with another choice, and on and on, such that each book had numerous endings. Some of the endings were good endings. Others were not so good. There were endings that ended in death. These were a little disturbing. There were also endings that ended ambiguously and open-ended.
“You follow Boink to the planet Cereal, and spend the rest of your harvesting Rice Krispies.”
“You commence a lawsuit in state court.”
They should have “Choose Your Own Adventure” books for adults. The characters would be appropriate for adults:
“You are always cold.”
“You are a tier-three pensioner.”
“You are one of those people who winks at everyone.”
And the choices would be adult choices:
“Arrange to get your tax refund by direct deposit” versus “Wait for the check in the mail!”
“Pay the full balance on your credit card” versus “Ignore the letter and get another credit card!”
“Go gluten-free” versus “Step in front of oncoming traffic.”
I do not think the Choose Your Own Adventure series for adults would sell very well. No adult would want to read them. The characters would be too real, the scenes too close to home, the choices too much a reminder of the difficult choices that all adults must make in life, but without the ability to turn back a single page.
That, and the fact that it would be a series of books.