Friday, October 15, 2010

Spookiest Reads!

For the Halloween Read-a-thon, YA Addict is hosting a mini-challenge where readers are to write about the spookiest books they've read. Here are mine:

* The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

Here's an excerpt of the synopsis from Wikipedia:

"The story takes place in 1950s suburban America, and is told in flashback fo
rm by the narrator, David.

After giving the reader a quick tour of his neighborhood and childhood friends, David introduces Ruth, a single mother and alcoholic, amongst other things. Ruth has, over time, gained the trust of the neighborhood children by allowing them to come freely into her home, play as rough as they wish, and even drink an occasional beer with her.

Fast forward to Meg and Susan, Ruth's nieces, who come to live with their aunt after the death of their parents. All seems well at first: the girls make friends with the other children and David begins to develop feelings for the sweet and innocent Meg.

However, Ruth's mental state has been deteriorating over time, and the burden of having two more children to care for seems to accelerate her descent into madness.

Ruth begins verbally, then physically, abusing the two girls, often while the other neighborhood children are watching. Then she allows the other children to abuse them, making them feel that because they have the permission of an adult, their actions are okay and will not be punished."

I am always looking for disturbing and extreme books and I found this on a list somewhere online. It had been sitting on my shelf for a while and I finally decided to read it. I was completely riveted and disgusted at the same time. It isn't a spooky read per se, but I was scared and shocked by the actions and rationalizations of the characters. All of the characters are human, but some of them do incredibly monstrous things or let monstrous things happen without any opposition. I think the most chilling aspect of the book, even about the depraved acts inflicted on a young girl, is the fact that the novel is based on true events that aren't too far from the events laid out in the book. This haunting story really stayed with me well after I read it. This is not a read for the faint of heart, so you are warned.

* Gerald's Game by Stephen King

Here's an excerpt of the synopsis from Wikipedia:

The story begins with Jessie Burlingame and her husband Gerald in the bedroom of their secluded cabin in western Maine, where they have gone for an off-beat romantic weekend. Gerald, a successful lawyer with an aggressive personality, has been able to reinvigorate the couple's sex life by handcuffing Jessie to the bed. Jessie has been into the game before, but suddenly balks. As Gerald starts to crawl on top of her, knowing her protests are real but ignoring them anyway, she kicks him in the stomach and in the groin, and he then falls from the bed to the floor, hits his head, has a heart attack, and dies. Jessie is alone in the cabin and unable to move or summon help.

In general, I think Stephen King is a very prolific, but overrated writer. I haven't really enjoyed many of his later works, but his early works, like Carrie and Misery, are excellent. My favorite is Gerald's Game. It's such a small setting for horror because Jessie is stuck, handcuffed in bed, unable to free herself. Everything is out of reach for her, even water. It's terrifying thinking of being that helpless. The one thing I think is especially scary is this man who comes in the room and watches her that she calls a Space Cowboy. It's unclear whether the man is real or imagined up until the end, but it's really disturbing. That character in particular stayed with me after I read the book and gave me chills.

1 comment:

Vampires and Tofu said...

I don't think I will ever be able to read The Girl Next Door. I read a bit about the true story it's based on and yeah...don't think I can do it. I am so deeply disturbed by how evil people can be....