Monday, May 22, 2017

A Head Full of Ghosts (Paul Tremblay)

In July of this year, 1776 Books will be celebrating its 8th anniversary.  In all that time, I can probably count on one hand how many times I've given a 5 rating.  When I began the blog, I worked hard on my definitions of each rating and described a 5 as "Excellent. I would read it again in a heartbeat."  To me, a 5 is practically perfect, and Paul Tremblay's A Head Full of Ghosts is that for me.

With so many books being released every week, it's getting difficult for one to surprise me.  I've read the historical fiction, the beach reads, and and the "I couldn't even begin to describe this book if I tried" novels.  I picked up A Head Full of Ghosts because I was looking for something different, and the possession/reality show plot caught my attention right away.

We begin simply with a normal suburban family -- John and Sarah Barrett are parents to Marjorie and Merry.  Merry worships the ground her older sister walks on and is always asking her to tell her stories.  But the family can't hide the fact that Marjorie is starting to act strangely, and in addition to sending her to a psychiatrist, John seeks the counsel of a priest.  John is also out of work, and when a reality show comes calling to film what they think is Marjorie's "possession", he finds it hard to say no.  What results is a suspenseful, often horrific, and utterly tragic story of the entire Barrett family.

A Head Full of Ghosts also ranks as a book I read in record time.  I normally like to take my time with novels I enjoy, allowing me to delve into each layer of the story.  With this one, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.  You'd be hard pressed to find a more richly developed horror novel than this one.