Sammy's Reviews > The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
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's review
Jun 30, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: a-the-best
Read from July 11 to 16, 2010

** spoiler alert ** A true gripping, classic, gothic horror novel. That's the best way to summarize why I loved this book, and why, despite practically thriving on scary stories growing up, this still had me scared to turn my lights out when going to bed. It's not so much of a jump-out-at-you or gorey type of horror, it's,a s I've said, a gothic type horror with multiple tense moments and your imagination running wild. It's exactly what the characters are going through.

You do have to give this book some time, though, when starting up. It's a very slow and gradual build up, full of lengthy, but beautiful, descriptions and narratives. In the beginning there's a lot more normalcy with just a tiny dash of the oddness that will later come in full force. The slow build combined with that normalcy creates the base a solid momentum to make the scary happenings absolutely terrifying. That's why I tell you to stick through the beginning, it will lend you a false sense of security, but fall into it if you want to actually be scared. Waters' flowing, realistic and steady narrative also lends a huge hand to the creeping fear and heart-pounding terror, because it makes you think and see this all really happening. To me, there's nothing scarier than the idea that something so creepy could very well be real.

The only real downside I had with the book was that right near the end of the book the story sort of drifted and lost my attention. Thinking back on it now I could see it as Waters luring her readers back into that safe bubble they had been in at the beginning, thus allowing them to be completely caught off guard by what I'd call a second (and startling) climax. Still, it caused the book, which had built up such good speed, to lose that momentum.

One thing I should warn some potential readers about, and this is where the spoiler I warned you about comes in (highlight to read): is that there is a rather unnerving dog death in the book. It is neccessary to the plot (at least in my opinion), but as an animal lover I was really, really disturbed by the situation leading up to and causing the dog's death. The death is far from violent, but it's the reason behind the death that could disturb you as much as it did me. I just wanted to give other animal lovers a heads up, especially if you can't even go near anything dealing with an animals death.

If you're looking for a good, classic and creepy read The Little Stranger is definitely a book you should investigate. Let me reiterate, it's not a Stephen King type scary, nor is it a gratuitous violence type scary. It is a classic, Edgar Allan Poe, messes with your mind, bump in the night type scary. Waters perfectly captures that fear we all feel when we're home, alone in the house at night, and every dark corner holds something secret, menacing, sinister... a little stranger.
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