Another month, another couple of books to delve into. I was a little inspired by the Halloween season this October despite not actually doing anything festive to celebrate- nope, no Halloween Horror Nights, no trick or treating, not a shred of decorations for me. Instead I retreated into the horror of these novels and plunged into some delicious spine-chilling plots.
1. Carrie by Stephen King
This book gets first place in honor of it being one of the best horror / sci-fi horror? novels I've ever read, which is admittedly not many. Still, I loved almost everything about it. Carrie tells of a girl, Carietta White, who has been brought up all her life by her fundamentalist Christian mother. Read: absolutely batshit crazy religious nut, and that's one heck of a noun phrase. Margaret White thinks what's in the bible is literally true, like you literally have to cleanse your sins with blood, so you see at one point she DIGS a knife into her skin. And that's not even half of it- Carrie's a sweet girl, but all the circumstances in her life lead her to being the unpopular nerd in high school, AKA a death sentence. And later on all the kids in school get their death sentence as a result.
One of the best things about Carrie is its style of writing. I've never seen a book written this way before, with interjections from Carrie herself interspersed naturally between plot lines. It was as if I could see into her head, and this made the text wonderfully alive. In other writing techniques, Stephen King shows, not tells: a significant part of the plot is made up of newspaper articles, 'scholarly' excerpts, interviews and so forth, so that we kind of glean our own impressions and interpretations of what went on. So it was like outside view, Carrie's view, outside view, etc.
Carrie is hot in pop culture, so you can see the story being replicated in movies and musicals. It's a really chilling tale the more you look- from fanatical abusive Margaret, the mother, strangling her baby child; to the crystal clear prejudices of Ewen's elite which uncomfortably echo your own; to Carrie's ultimate and dreadful finale. But it's a tale definitely worth your time. And it'll haunt you in your dreams (or nightmares) after.
(o mommy im sorry)
Rate: 5/5 plus brownie points for it being an all-round favourite
2. The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue
This was also a decently good read. I thought that the introduction was nicely done, but I was a bit confused when he started bringing in more characters. It took me a while to realize there's actually TWO boys in the book, not just one main boy character.
TBWDW is basically about a small boy, Jack, who has Asperger's- or some kind of high functioning Autism- and has been left traumatized after a beach fight with this best friend, Nick. Both boys' parents are friends and they've known each other all their lives. Then things start to get weird up in their quiet seaside town when strange monsters appear, of course at nighttime and during icy cold blizzards, both child and parent trapped or alone and scared.
The story's told from a 3rd person narrative so you get to see it unfold from all corners. However, what's most noteworthy is the plot twist right at the end. It turns out Jack actually has the powers to make whatever he draws come alive, become real. So after the beach fight where Nick in reality died, Jack simply drew him back again so Nick still appeared, and was alive to the world. The monsters are his attempt at driving away the artificial Nick after he regrets this decision. But this culmination is at least a year AFTER the incident took place- so he's drawn 365 pages, one for each day Nick has been dead...
And that's one of my favourite scenes from the book. I do love a good storyline, and this was very reminiscent of Goodnight Mommy, a movie which I never had the balls to watch but extensively read up on and watched trailers. The boy in it had Capgras Syndrome, kind of similar to believing someone who's dead isn't. Coincidence that Goodnight Mommy's also about two boys and a parent. Or is it a coincidence?
3. Wild and Free by Wendy Holden
Wild and Free isn't part of the horror category. I chose this because I needed a chick flick to dilute any PTSD that may have arisen from reading the previous 2. Well, it did work out I suppose.
I've read Wendy Holden's Beautiful People and Gallery Girl before and loved both of them. She has a very standard system actually. They always go like this: several characters who go to the same place and inevitably wind up in each others' business. Most of the women end up finding their one true love and happiness ever after. It sounds boring when you just see the skeleton, but it's fun with the meat.
However, not so fun that I would read it again. W&F was a more boring than its counterparts and I really wanted to skim over some parts whilst perusing this. If you're looking for chick lit, see the titles mentioned above. Those are more respective of what Holden is able to do.
Rate: 2.5 /5
Until next time, stay spooky.
L / 18 / SG / ACJC
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last updated: 5 september