A Head full of Ghosts, by Paul Tremblay

17 Nov
Three of Five stars

Three of Five stars

While I somewhat enjoyed this book for the most part, I wasn’t that satisfied with the ending (or even with much of the book at all actually) and I would never ever recommend this to someone else. I was leaning more towards four stars just for the moments of enjoyment I did have, but then I read the GoodReads comments and discover that the most annoying sections of the whole book were actually based on a real person on GR who seems to be happy about the situation. I bear no ill will toward that person, I’d be totally stoked to see my online persona written into a book too (Or would I? Actually I might not be that pleased), but that makes the book even more obtuse. Am I supposed to have recognized this person’s name and writing? I’m sorry to the real person in question, because I’ve never heard the name in my life and I’m pretty sure my life has been quite fulfilled and educated and informed before this book. But for me the information leads me to 1) Who the hell cares? 2) What was the point (other than to get a sincerely amazing review from that person, which it did)? Was this knowledge supposed to add something to the book and that’s why I was unimpressed? Because if I was supposed to know the person to get more out of the story, then I guess I’ve totally missed out on something (and wasted my time). And if I don’t need to know this person, well, then I just don’t think much about the story. Even worse (and good gosh, no offense meant to the real person AT ALL), but while the concept of that person’s part of the book was awesome, those parts were seriously the most annoying parts to read. So… this new knowledge is really pissing me off right now.

Beyond that. That character of Merry was frustrating as well. I suspected something wrong with her from the very start because she made no sense. As an 8 year old, she behaved as a four year old would, but seemed to have the brain of a 10-12 year old. And as an adult, she had the thought process of an 8 year old. Is this supposed to be some literary theme that I’m also not getting? And I found the heavy handed references to The Yellow Wallpaper to be distracting and amateurish. Good grief, any English major has read that story and written about that story so many times that just seeing the words “yellow wallpaper” in ANY context will conjure up images of that poor woman crawling around on the floor. Just mentioning the wallpaper in the sunroom would have been perfect in this story, everything else was just too much.

And because Merry was such an unreliable narrator, and the ONLY narrator we have, there were just too many questions left unanswered at the end. We can’t be sure of anything we’ve read because it all comes from Merry and Merry appears to be emotionally stunted – at very BEST – as an adult, and a little too imaginative to believe as a child – especially as she tells the story from her 15 year old memories. She outright admits that she can’t rely on her memories.

I have found in the past that when I finish a book and immediately go to review it, that my writing will reflect the feel of the book, and I see that happening here. This review is all over the place, it makes pieces of sense but no sense as a whole, and it’s rambling and random. And that is exactly my experience with this book.

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