Book Review: A Head Full of Ghosts (Paul Tremblay)

 

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Marjorie is a typical fourteen-year-old girl; she teases her sister, jokes around with her parents and attends school. Soon, Marjorie begins acting strange and exhibiting signs of schizophrenia.   As her symptoms progress and Marjorie becomes progressively more violent and disturbing, the family questions if something more sinister is going on….

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay has been a book I have been hearing about for a while.  For as many thrillers and horror-thrillers that I read, I’m not usually bothered but demons and possessions are something that I find absolutely terrifying. So when I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read this book. I finally got myself a copy and devoured this book in the course of an evening!

This was the perfect read to get me in the mood for Halloween.

When the novel opens, the tone is that something ominous is about to happen. From the first few pages, I had a nervous feeling down in my gut.  It isn’t often that I feel that way while I am reading!

The story follows the Barrett family as they struggle with issues surrounding their teenage daughter, Marjorie.   Initially, Marjorie begins to do quirky things like sneaking into her sister’s room at night and arranging her posters strangely in her soon. As the story moves on, more strange and disturbing things begin to happen as Marjorie becomes increasingly paranoid.  The family doctor is under the assumption that Marjorie is suffering from some mental health issues.  When Marjorie’s symptoms do not improve with medication, and as they become worse.  The family becomes increasingly more desperate.   Seeking answers, the family patriarch turns to the church believing his daughter is the victim of demonic possession.   Now comes the twist, the family decides to become featured on a reality television show (called The Possession) as they attempt to exorcise Marjorie and cleanse their family.

The narration in the novel comes from the youngest Barrett daughter, eight-year-old Merry (Meredith). Now an adult, she is speaking to a writer who is reporting on her harrowing childhood tale on the show’s fifteenth anniversary.  Merry re-tells the story through flashbacks.   We also get a “third party” perspective from a blog who consistently criticizes the show and the lack of validity.    I thought Tremblay did any excellent job with his writing to be able to pull off this type of narration.  To be able to portray a grown woman’s narration, her eight-year-old self and an “alter-ego” was impressive.

The novel left me constantly questioning. Are these people crazy? Is Marjorie truly possessed? Could this really be happening?   The novel really played on the concepts of good vs. evil and appearance vs. reality.

The novel had a series of points that were chilling.  Around the 80th page, I had to take a reading break because I was getting so creeped out!I loved the ending of this novel. It was a twist I was not expecting and Tremblay did an amazing job at keeping it a complete secret until the last chapter.   Normally, I pride myself on being able to connect the dots and guess the ending. Not with this novel! I was absolutely shocked.

I loved the ending of this novel. It was a twist I was not expecting and Tremblay did an amazing job at keeping it a complete secret until the last chapter.   Normally, I pride myself on being able to connect the dots and guess the ending. Not with this novel! I was absolutely shocked.

Paul Tremblay does an excellent job weaving a story that will please all different types of readers. I found this novel to be a perfect blend of a horror, a supernatural, and a psychological thriller.  This book will leave me reeling for a while.

 WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS READ? YES!! PICK IT UP NOW!!

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