Book Review: A Head Full Of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Book Details:

Author: Paul Tremblay 
Release Date: 2nd June 2015
Genre: Horror, Psychological Mystery
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 309 pages
Publisher: William Morrow
Blurb:
The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.
To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.
Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In one sentence, this book is a heart-breaking read. One that I don’t think I will be able to get out of my head for a while.

This book is so well-written that at times I’d have to pause to fully appreciate the gravity of a simple sentence that the author adds in between a seemingly benign paragraph that leads to an unsettling realisation that the book is told from the perspective of a child who doesn’t fully understand the consequence of anyone’s (least of all their own) actions or decisions, whereas at the same time failing to understand the gravity of their predicament or the situation going on with others around them.

This book makes one confront the odd truth of life that memories are always polluted and diluted by one’s ever-changing perspective, other’s perception of their reality and truth and their own quest for filling up the ‘gaps’ – the blank spaces that the mind cannot recall or would not recall. It is a heavy read and cannot be read as a casual or a horror read because it covers so much ground that it will baffle, shock and stun you at times. 

The ending is obviously a very lucrative thing in this book. The author leaves it to the reader to make of it as they please and so it is a haunting end in its own right.

“To be honest, and all the external influences aside, there are some parts of this that I remember in great, terrible detail, so much so I fear getting lost in the labyrinth of memory. There are other parts of this that remain as unclear and unknowable as someone else’s mind, and I fear that in my head I’ve likely conflated and compressed timelines and events.” 


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