Christine's Reviews > Heart-Shaped Box

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
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's review
Jan 18, 2008

it was ok
Recommended for: people who like New York Times book reviews
Read in January, 2008

I found this book in a "best books of the year" list in the New York Times. The premise of the book was interesting...a semi-washed up death metal star buys a ghost on eBay. There were some lovely evocative language moments, but I thought the characters' backstories were disappointingly predictable and the transitions between reality and fantasy a bit awkward. Nevertheless, it was interesting to read, from a "how to write a book that will end up favorably reviewed by the NY Times" perspective. I found myself wondering how the author started this, what piece of it came first. Did he ask himself, "what would happen if someone bought a ghost on eBay? What kind of person would do that?" or did he see a heart-shaped box in an antique store and think, "what kinds of things might someone store in there? A ghost, perhaps?"

Even though I wasn't really jazzed by this book, I'd be willing to give the author's other works a try.

ps- I guess if I'd read the original New York Times review, I would've learned that "Heart Shaped Box" was a Nirvana song (I was of the Nirvana generation but honestly, I could've cared less, I was too busy listening to central European medieval folk songs.)

pps- I can't believe I didn't know that this guy was Stephen King's son. It didn't even occur to me while I was reading the book, even though he "lives in New England" according to the back flap and looks exactly like Stephen King. Well, at least the book wasn't so bad that I could make the "you only got published because your dad is Stephen King" accusation. It wasn't *that* bad.
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