by Shirley Jackson
Spoiler alert below
Let me start with a disclaimer about how big a chicken I am...it's shameful. I don't know how I can claim Halloween as my favorite holiday when I can't watch actual scary movies (and haven't been able to since freshman year of college when I saw The Ring followed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the theatre and swore them off for good). My "scary" Halloween movie is Scream....classic! Why am I telling you all this except to air out my Halloween theme shame? Well, I was too chicken to read this book after dark...but I would catch-up on Walking Dead episodes...yeah, that makes sense... In my defense, my husband works at night so I am all alone with my crazy ass cat at night and it's not the murderers of the world that freak me out but the scary ghost stories.
Surprisingly, I would have been able to read this book at night if I had only known. It didn't turn out to be the scary story that I thought it would. The end especially was more sad than scary. All the moments that would have been more scary didn't carry as much punch as I was expecting. The moments seemed to speed by and then were followed by jokes or drama. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't what I was expecting. I actually really enjoyed the way the suspense was more in the build up than the actual event.
The story had such a wonderful way of hinting at the eerie without actually having anything freaky happen at that moment.
[...] watching something unseen move slowly across the bright green hill, chilling the sunlight and the dancing little brook. "What is it?" Eleanor said in a breath, and Theodora put a strong hand on her wrist.
"It's gone," Theodora said clearly, and the sun came back and it was warm again. "It was a rabbit," Theodora said.
I mean for the length of the book (174 pages) the number of pages it took for something to actually happen with any sort of substance was surprisingly long. I was expecting shaking and footsteps and apparitions by page ten. While that didn't happen, there was a haze of eeriness that clung to that pages and kept me on edge at every questionable step around an unknown corner.
With a lack of any "real" events, the tension built and I became more and more suspicious of the actions of certain characters. As Eleanor slowly lost her mind I thought I was losing my own. What was happening to everyone and why were they treating her like she was the self-centered one?
I loved when Dr. Montague's wife arrives. I was reading it while it was getting dark outside and I was wanting to put the book down for the night but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. She has such a clear voice and she was able to make the creep status funny in a way that I really enjoyed. I think I will have to read this again next year and see what else I can take from it now that I know what to expect.
**Source: Library copy