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Book Review: Did I Do That? The Best (and Worst) Of The ’90s
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Did I Do That? The Best (and Worst) Of The '90sDid I Do That?
The Best (and Worst) Of The ’90s
Paperback
Written by Amber Humphrey
Abrams Image
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Cover Price: $19.95

This was an interesting read, make no mistake about it. There were things in Did I Do That? The Best (And Worst) Of The ’90s that I do not remember at all…thereby answering the question posed in the title. But many of them I do recollect having committed. But venture forth and let me explain in more detail, my friend…

Chapter one is dedicated to Super Soakers. You remember them, right? Squirt guns on steroids…or maybe Super Soldier Serum, whatever. However you want to describe them, they changed the way we have water fights forevermore. A few pages later we get reminded of how awesome the nineties were for Bart Simpson and how Bartmania swept the nation. Then we move on to how Batman changed the way we perceive superheroes on the silver screen, Tim Burton gave us a darker and more enigmatic version of the Caped Crusader (and I would like to thank him for Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman). Luckily Joel  Schumacher later came along and gave us Bat-nipples, ruining the whole franchise for almost a decade. Busy as always, Tim Burton had Beetlejuice and several other films that kept his name in the limelight, so to speak. These are discussed in the book, too!

It was also a decade of science and eco-awareness. We are presented chapters on Bill Nye: The Science Guy, Beakman’s World and Captain Planet. They made kids more aware of their environment and how the world actually works (and how they could affect it). Segue into a section on Tiger Electronics handheld games…every kid bugged their parents for these little beeping annoyances (I know my brother did). And speaking of annoyances, anyone remember pogs? I lived above (and helped out in) a comic shop that carried these…to this day I have no idea what the fascination was. Can anyone explain it to me? The book romanticizes them but cannot clarify it for me.

But nothing, and I mean nothing, drove me batty like Furbys. And to top it off, they are back! The chapter on these little chirping fuzzballs is detailed and not a little scary. And then we are presented with the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, who have managed to endure pretty well for a couple of decades. I was a bit too old for them but they never really bothered me, just another kid’s show that inspired teamwork. There were far worse things to watch.

More chapters like Vanilla Ice (word to your mother), Home Alone, New Kids On The Block (of which I will say no more), and Power Wheels will remind you of the insanity that cascaded through this trend-setting decade. There’s even a few pages dedicated to the ABC lineup of sitcoms that appeared on Friday nights, then known as TGIF. Throw in Jurassic Park, Beanie Babies and a few Disney chapters and you have a pretty decent book. But when Amber Humphrey added in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, she made it a great book! I’m not as big of a TMNT fan as my buddy Chad, but I do own the original oversized black and white comics. This chapter covers the comics, movies and long running cartoon!

A couple of chapters seemed out of place amongst all the kid related things. Green Day was the one that bothered me most, but I can see how they felt it needed mentioning…though for the life of me why she chose them and not another band (like Nirvana) escapes me. But over all, I enjoyed the book. It brought back some great (and not so great) memories. For instance, if my old roommate Matt had owned a Super Soaker then he probably wouldn’t have been trying to throw water balloons at me, which means he wouldn’t have shoved his arm through plate glass when I ran in the house (he received a few dozen stitches, if you’re curious). But it also makes me nostalgic for the way things were, like sitting around playing Kirby’s Big Adventure on the NES. Good times, those.

Whether you were a kid or a twenty-something like I was, this paperback contains something for you. A light read, with lots of pictures, it really revives the nineties and jogs the memory banks. It has more than two hundred pages and even comes with a t-shirt transfer, come on…you remember iron-ons, don’t you? Give it a try, you’ll find yourself smiling before you know it.

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