A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
Horror stories are not my usual cup of tea but every once in a while one comes up in a book club I participate in and I give it a go. And actually, I’ve read my fair share of Steven King, but I usually don’t seek out scary tales.
Is A Head Full of Ghosts scary? I suppose there are creepy parts and weird parts and disturbing parts, but I can’t really say I was scared while reading it (or listening to it)…which is good for me.
So if it’s not scary, how is it horror? I’d say it falls more in the psychological horror genre where things don’t have to be scary but are more unknown. Is the story about a demonic possession or a mentally disturbed child? There’s the unknown…That’s the main question and after reading the story, I’m not sure which side I fall on. Anyone of the main characters could have been possessed or mentally ill, or things could have been made up – there’s a lot of possibilities even after finishing the book. Sure, there’s your fair share of vomit and disturbing sexuality coming from a child, and sections designed to make you wonder if things are supernatural or slight of hand. But then there’s the cast of characters…the goofy blogger, the reality TV show crew, the priests and fanatically religious parent, and it all revolves around the 14 year old Marjorie and her little sister Merry.
I could have done without the typical handling of religion in these types of stories – the true evil in most is that people actually have faith in something – God forbid! But I think the way Tremblay pulls nearly all stereotypes into the tale at least makes things interesting as I tried to discern what trope belongs to what classic horror film or story.
On the whole, the story was OK. It’s seems familiar and yet updated with less of the Gothic and more of the millennial. I enjoyed it, but it’s not gonna get me to read any further ‘horror’ books in the near future so I guess I’m kinda…meh and I give it a C- overall.