A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Demon possession scares me. You take that subject and add to it the fact that Stephen King went on record saying this book scared him and then multiply all of that with the fact that my mother (who loves scary things and watches scary movies by herself) ALSO said it scared her and I knew that this book was 'full on' (to quote my friend Allie).
And it was. It was so full on I couldn't read it at night. But even though I would only read it during the day and tried to read light hearted things before bed, this book still managed to creep into my sleepy thoughts and freak me out.
I jumped into this book blind. To be honest, I only skimmed the back cover, I don't like to know too much before I start a scary book-I like surprises.
So in honoring that about myself, I'm just going to touch lightly on the actual story for this review. Basically, we have a family. A very well written, fully developed family. Mom, Dad and two sisters.
The family dynamic is very real. Too freakin' real if I'm honest because the relationship between the sisters reminded me very much of my relationship with my younger sisters.
The narrative is mostly from the perspective of the youngest family member, Merry. The way Merry feels about her older sister Marjorie and they way she talks about her felt spot on.
So Paul Tremblay did a few literary tricks here and you have to pay attention to what you're reading. There are multiple accounts of the main story.
- Adult Merry giving an interview
- Merry's first person narrative told in a 'real time' flashbacks
- A blogger's bloggish account of watching a show called the Possession which is a network reality TV show based on the real events of this family
Hint: you have to keep those accounts straight and be aware of what you're reading and where in the timeline of events the account takes place.
Sidenote: I didn't like the blog accounts at first but later in the story they are very helpful in assisting the story.
Tremblay is an expert at creating tension and a sense of foreboding. The entire time I read this book, I lived in a state of being disturbed, unsettled and uncomfortable.
Which is the goal of a horror novel, right? So objective met.
I'm pretty sure the only way you could read this book and *not* be scared is if you don't find the idea of demon possession scary or possible.
But if you're like me, my mom and Stephen King--you will be scared. And I hope some of you will be willing to discuss this book with me because there will be a huge variety of opinions on what people think actually happened--so please hit me up after you read and refrain from reading other reviews on Goodreads before you read this book because I just read a few and they disclose way too much information. Trust me!
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