Matthew "Matt" Amsterdam is the protagonist in the fifty-fourth Goosebumps book, Don't Go To Sleep.
Matt's family has had a very troublesome past. His father passed away some time after his birth and his mother had to get two jobs to help support the family. And Matt is constantly picked on his two older siblings, Pam and Greg and their dachshund, Biggie hates Matt. Matt also has the smallest bedroom in the house.
One day, Matt was being picked on by Greg and Pam as usual until his mother got home and due to Pam and Greg having homework after spending all day bullying their younger brother, Matt was forced to make dinner. At dinner, Matt asked his mother if he could move into the guest room as it is a lot bigger and he would have more room to put his belongings. But his mother declined, saying that his grandparents come every Christmas and they sleep in there and Pam said to Matt that he is the best sleeper in the world, no matter where he sleeps. But Matt insisted that he wants to move in the guest room, not only because of how big it was, but also to get away from Pam and Greg because they are so mean to him. Matt's mother scolded Matt that he should appreciate his brother and sister and sent him to his room for bad-mouthing them.
Matt was very angry that Pam and Greg always get whatever they want and he gets to be punished. So later that night, Matt decided to sneak into the guest room and sleep in there from now on, not caring about what his mother said and not thinking that it was a big deal that he disobeyed her by sleeping in there.
But when he woke up in the guest room the next morning, Matt found that he had become a sixteen-year-old teenager overnight! Matt, thinking that he had accidentally slept for four years straight, rushed downstairs to tell his mother, who tells him to get ready for school, not seeming to notice any changes in her son. And to Matt's astonishment, he found that Pam and Greg had become eleven and twelve years old, when they should have been older than Matt! Biggie even gave Matt a few licks to his surprise as Biggie usually bites and growls at him. Later that day, Matt was dropped off at the high school that his older siblings go to (while Pam and Greg were dropped at Madison Middle School, his own school). Matt had an awful time at the high school. First, he encountered a bully, who told Matt that he was going to get it after school for something that happened to him yesterday, which Matt was unaware of. Then he went an English class where they reading a book, that was very long and had very had words to pronounce and the teacher was berating Matt for not knowing them (Matt also could not understand why the teacher called his students by their surnames). Matt then went to the principal's office and does his best to explain his experience to her, but she thought it was science-fiction and sent him to his gym class. And there, due to not being use to his new height, Matt was very clumsy at the gym, tripping over his own feet, missing the ball and accidentally injuring some of his classmates. After that, Matt sneaked out of the high school and accidentally knocked over a young girl with thick blonde hair in a ponytail. The girl introduced herself as Lacie. Lacie asked if Matt was okay, but before Matt could explain, the principal stepped out and Matt raced away before she could catch him. Matt watched some television until Pam and Greg got home, wanting a snack, but Matt used the excuse of having to much homework to do. Since it was high-school homework, Matt thought it was going to be impossible. And due to Pam sleeping in his old room, Matt was forced to sleep in the guest room again.
The next morning, to his delight, Matt found that he was his normal age again and raced down to the kitchen to see his family. But to his shock, he found two completely different people, a man and a woman who are said to his "parents". Matt especially found his "father" impossible, as his real father had been dead since he was a baby. He even had a pet cat. Matt was put into a shiny new car and his new father drove him to a junior high school that he had never been to before. At the school, Matt ran into Lacie, the girl that he had bumped into the day before. Even though it was eight-thirty in the morning, she was about to have lunch as the school cafeteria is so crowded, they cannot fit everyone in at lunchtime. So Matt and Lacie went over to the playground to eat (Matt had to throw his away because his "mother" packed in everything that he hated). He was about to explain to Lacie about what had been happening to him and that he was the clumsy teenager that knocked her over, when two new bullies, more menacing than the one Matt encountered earlier, came over and started to chase after Matt. Matt managed to race home and tried to call some of his relatives, only to find that they had disappeared too. Matt was starting to think that he should get used to his new parents when bedtime arrived. His old room was used as a sewing room, so dreading the next morning, Matt went to sleep in the guest room.
When he woke up, Matt heard a lot of noises going on in the house, such as people talking and an accordion playing. Matt went to the bathroom and saw that he eight years old and was suddenly attacked by a monkey. Then a huge man, who is Matt's new father came in and ordered Matt to get ready for rehearsal. At a chaotic breakfast, Matt learned from a new "sibling" that he was the star of a circus. Matt was most dismayed at this, as he had never liked the circus. At the circus rehearsal, Matt's new father put into a cage with a lion inside to practice a lion-taming act, as his father is a lion-tamer and he told Matt to try to ride the lion as a trick. Terrified at this, Matt ran from the cage and tried to hide, when he bumped in Lacie again. Matt begged Lacie to help him, when the same two bullies came over and chased him into the tent to the lion cage. There, Matt managed to get the lion in between him and the two bullies, bluffing that the lion won't hurt him because he is master and that he will not attack unless Matt tells him to. The two bullies angrily told Matt that they will be back and that he won't get away, with Matt wondering what he had done. After the circus practice was over, Matt had some "brothers" that were sleeping in his old room so he fell asleep in the guest room again, hoping for something positive to happen.
But when he woke up, Matt found that he had become an old man. Not wanting to go through the day as an old man, Matt went back to the guest room and fell asleep. He woke up again and to his horror and disgust, he had become a hideous monster! Matt thought about Lacie and hoping that she would be able to help him, he went out to find her. While he was looking for Lacie, Matt did the classic monster rampage in the city, such as eating a car in the street. And then he saw Lacie, who was the only one running towards him. She managed to reach Matt and she lead him away from the city to a small house hidden away in a forest. But it turned out that Lacie was leading Matt to the two bullies that had chased him earlier. Matt was furious at this as he thought that Lacie was his friend. But before he could do anything else, a net was thrown over Matt and he was taken away to a dark room, where he went to sleep.
After Matt woke up with a bad pain of metal in his stomach, Lacie and the two bullies, Bruce and Wayne approached him. Lacie explained to Matt that he was trapped in a Reality Warp. When Matt fell asleep in the guest room, he fell into a hole in reality and that he had been falling asleep in one reality and then waking up in another and Matt has been stuck in that hole ever since. And whenever Matt goes to sleep, he changes what is real and what isn't, therefore breaking the laws of reality. Lacie then introduced herself, Bruce and Wayne as the Reality Police and they had to capture Matt to stop him causing all the confusion in reality. And in order to stop the confusion for good, they will make Matt drink a potion that will put him to sleep forever. Horrified, Matt attempted to run away, but was held back by Bruce and Wayne. In the cell, while the Reality Police were making the potion, Matt made a plan to fall asleep and get out of his predicament. He did so and he changed into a squirrel and crawled out of the bars. Matt ran the rest of the way home, dodging cars, bikes, people, dogs and cats. When he reached his house, Matt remembered that he not been sleeping in his old room since he started sleeping in the guest room, because either someone else was sleeping in it, or it was being used for something else. And he had a plan that if he slept in his old room, everything will be back to normal. But he was held up when Pam found him at the window and decided to keep him as a pet. Matt managed to escape from her gerbil cage and outside onto a tree. Then seeing that he wasn't going to get to his old room in squirrel form, he fell asleep on the branch, hoping to wake up human again.
Matt woke up a human twelve-year-old boy again, but had become pretty obese, which explained why the branch didn't hold him for very long. He knocked on the door and attempted to persuade his mother to let him in to his old room, but she, Pam and Greg didn't recognize him and thought he was crazy. Then Matt turned around and saw Lacie, Bruce and Wayne after him! They chased Matt through the neighborhood, until he hid through a line of thick shrubs behind the garage. Matt hid behind the shrubs until later that night after everyone had fallen asleep. Since his mother locked all the doors and first-floor windows, Matt was forced to climb up a tree that grew by his window. He almost went into trouble with the gutter, but managed to climb into his old room without making a sound and fell asleep.
Matt woke up the next morning and to his delight, he found everything back the way it was before he slept in the guest room. He was very happy to see his family and Pam and Greg were surprised at his new attitude. Matt even gave Biggie a hug and Biggie snapped at him. Matt had a good day in school as he was glad to be back in seventh grade again and that he didn't have to worry about Lacie or the other Reality Police again. When Matt got home, his mother had a surprise for him: she had been thinking about what he had said earlier and since it was his birthday this week, she had given the guest room to him, causing Matt to scream in horror.
Matt is the total geek in his family, being into science fiction and he would rather be a geek than a nerd like Greg. Matt had shown some signs of slackness, such as watching television when he got home, bad grades and living in a smelly room and he never seemed to have had a care in the world and was a bit of a toddler at times. Matt was pretty rude and unappreciative when he was first introduced and he never got along with his older siblings or his dog Biggie and he was very argumentative, mainly to his mother. But he had always been used to them and after his wild adventures in reality, he learned to appreciate them and things the way they are.
Matt is twelve years old, Caucasian, skinny and small for his age with a round piglike baby face and his hair is so blond that from a distance, he almost looks bald, as his brother Greg would say.
Television and Film
- Television series:
- Season 3 - Don't Go To Sleep!
- Tyler Kyte (television series)
- At the end of the original copy of Chicken Chicken, Matt was mistakenly referred to as "Cole" (which was the name of the secondary protagonist in that previous story) in the preview description of his aforementioned story.