A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What an awesome surprise! Mr. Paul Tremblay knows his horror motifs, and he (and I) love how they're layered and layered some more, starting from truly delightful character sets with the slowly creeping horror, the slide into a normal family's confusion and pain, and then...
What? A straight possession tale and not one about a family taking care of a mentally ill daughter? One who suffers from paranoia and schizophrenia?
Oh yes, let's take this tale into a heavy-hitting commentary on religion that's fully aware of the past treatments and current standings and let's make sure that the audience is treated like the knowledgable horror fans that we are. Because we are.
And to drive the point home really well, we've got Merry playing karen in a cameo! ;)
Only, the character is discussing all these narrative points and previous entries in the horror genre and establishing this book's place in the greater conversation. How delightful! Who better to be an expert in a horror genre, blogging under an assumed name and not as herself, than the little 8 year old girl who suffered through the breakdown of her sister into maddness/poessession, and the religious/media circus that followed the reality tv spectacle. Real life following art following real life following art? Yes, please!
But what really sets this book up well is not just the obvious devolution and the questions and the lies and the religious nuttery; it's the twist that explained so naturally, so self-consciously, so delightfully honest and with great energy, that I was pretty well floored by the end of the read.
And this is how a good book becomes a great book. :) Well, a great horror, anyway. :) Smart and delicious and self-conscious and surprising. :) What more could we ask for? Tragedy? Oh yes, there's that, too. :)
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