If you run off with Sergei, go to page 420
Ok, I fell for it. It's gimmicky. It's hokey. It may be pandering to the lowest level. I'm talking about "Choose Your Own Adventure" for adults. Pretty Little Mistakes by Heather McElhatton is described as a "plot your own story" - one beginning, 150 endings, the choice is yours. And the truth is it is just as enjoyable to read as when I was ten and I was deciding whether or not I wanted to enter the scary cave or follow the path back to safety. Except that now you can choose to play it safe by going to college or play the wild card by forfeiting higher education for travel. You can major in science or follow your creative side by studying for an MFA. Once you are done with school, you might move to New York or Savannah. You might have a lesbian affair with the Dean of the University where you teach and later fall into a life of high-class prostitution or meth addiction or join a cult. And on and on and on. 150 different ways.
After the novelty wears off, the stories are still decent. Better than decent. I loved being able to choose different outcomes and found myself going back and forth again and again to find out what would have happened. What could have been merely a novelty turned out to be excellent fun.
McElhatton's writing style is fresh and edgy and highly entertaining. She works as a writer and independent producer for Minnesota Public Radio and Public Radio International and her commentaries and stories have been heard on This American Life, Marketplace (formerly Sound Money), Weekend America, and The Savvy Traveler. If you would like to hear segments from her audio archive, visit Minnesota Public Radio.