Trudi's Reviews > Let's Go Play At The Adams'

Let's Go Play At The Adams' by Mendal W. Johnson
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Oct 31, 12

it was amazing
bookshelves: cover-lust, survive-this, 2011, scary-as-hell, traumatizing, uber-graphic-extreme, classics-horror, woman-in-peril, what-the-bleep, heart-of-darkness, epic-creep, horror
Read from April 07 to 11, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! Hope you get the bejeebers scared out of you!

I have no idea where to begin with my review for this book. It definitely ranks as one of the most frightening, disturbing reads of my life. It is not an easy book to finish, but once started I could not put it down. I had to know how it was all going to end. The terror and tension of the last 50 pages just about did my head in. My heart was racing, I was filled with dread. I felt nauseous. I was consumed with rage. I wept. For pity. For the fact that I couldn’t help. For the senseless unapologetic tragedy of it all.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because I think if you’re going to go on this journey, the less you know the better. The nightmare relentlessly unfolds, gradual, yet step by step with tremendous, undeniable, excruciating inevitability. This book is not for everyone. This is grim psychological horror at its best (or worst if you will). Reader beware.

I think children make such convincing agents of evil because in all of their innocence, their moral compass hasn’t been firmly set yet. The boundary which separates right from wrong is easily blurred and with little provocation becomes indistinguishable. Children are still operating on a level of selfishness that leaves little room for genuine empathy. You take all that and make it vulnerable to the psychology of pack mentality, and some horrible things can happen. And do, not just in the pages of fiction, but in real life. Just read the newspaper.

I can’t help but draw comparisons here to Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door (a story which is based on true events). Ketchum’s novel shows just how easily children can become corrupted and led down some dark and dangerous paths to human depravity. All great horror writers know this and the theme shows up again and again in books and on film – Stephen King’s short story “Children of the Corn” and his novella “Apt Pupil” come to mind, as well as William Golding’s classic novel Lord of the Flies. There was also a UK film made a few years ago called Eden Lake which illustrates this theme as effectively as any other movie I’ve seen.

Some of what I felt reading this book, I also felt while watching The Strangers (the home invasion movie starring Liv Tyler). The sheer helplessness and hopelessness to be at the mercy of captors who you cannot reason with, who have no empathy, no guilt, no human mercy that you can hang your hat on. I remember the trailer for that film when Liv Tyler asks “Why?” and her captors respond: “Because you were home”. For me, there’s such a chilling simplicity in that response, that something so horrible and violent can occur for no other reason more complicated than that simple fact.

Let’s Go Play At The Adams’ is one of the genre's best kept secrets as far as I'm concerned - I only discovered it now at 37. It is also, I dare say, a modern horror classic. And finally, it is a book that promises to stay with you long after the reading is done. You won't easily shake this one.
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03/15 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-25 of 25) (25 new)

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Tressa Great review for this amazing book, Trudi. I'll never forget it and how it made me feel when I finished it.


message 2: by Bill (new)

Bill Maybe one day this will be released for the Kindle and I can finally read it!


Tressa I hope so, Bill. But it's a long shot for it to be released for the Kindle. Does your library have ILL? That's where I read it for the first time, then I bought a PBK online just to own it. I found a PBK copy a few months ago at a UBS and sent it to a friend. Whatever you can do to get it, get it.


Trudi Tressa wrote: "Great review for this amazing book, Trudi. I'll never forget it and how it made me feel when I finished it."

Thanks Tressa, and thank you for bringing it to my attention. I didn't even know of its existence until I went poking around on your horror shelf one day ;)


Trudi Bill wrote: "Maybe one day this will be released for the Kindle and I can finally read it!"

Haha, it is a little tricky to find Bill. I had to interlibrary loan it, and it came from some really tiny library in Northern Saskatchewan who still had the original hardcover shelved. It even had the date stamped card in the front with dates going back to the 70's! :)


message 6: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Smith Lordy Trudi - how old were these children? You can (and should) teach children right from wrong from a very early age. (Although judging by some I've seen out there you can tell they haven't had a lot of guidance.) This book just sounds scary to me.


message 7: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Smith Great review by the way!!!


message 8: by Bill (new)

Bill I never use the library, I always like buying books. And I'm so spoiled by the Kindle it's the only way I like to read now!
Goodreads (ok, Tressa), has championed this book so much that maybe its exposure will continue to increase and we'll see a reprint someday.

In the meantime, if I ever come across an old physical copy, I'll snag it.


Tressa There are inexpensive copies of it at Amazon, Bill.

Sue, the scary thing about LGPATA is that they're from privileged homes. We don't know anything about the parents of either sets of siblings, but it's assumed that they received a mannerly upbringing. It's just that a seed of evil in one of them led to apathy and then to self-survival where the victim no longer mattered.


message 10: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Smith Interestingly I think a lot of depravity comes from the 'privileged' end of things - a sense of entitlement perhaps? Regardless - a scary premise for a story that probably hits too close to reality! Those stories really are the ones that touch that button for me. Still sitting on the fence as to whether or not I'll read it ..... !


Tressa Depravity from the privileged end of life is for me more terrifying. Instead of violence due to struggles it's due to boredom. A kind of hobby, if you will. Scary.

You should read it. It's interesting from a psychological standpoint; it's not bloody like a slasher novel.


message 12: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Smith I'll have to search it out ..... our library does not have it in their system. It does sound like a very interesting book!


Trudi Bill wrote: "I never use the library, I always like buying books..."

::gasp:: *clutches chest* Never say that to a librarian Bill. No matter if it's true. Lie and save us the pain! :)


Trudi Sue wrote: "I'll have to search it out ..... our library does not have it in their system. It does sound like a very interesting book!"

I'd be really curious to see what you think of it Sue. It's a tough one, upsetting, but I just could not put it down. I felt so invested in the outcome.


Trudi Tressa wrote: "Depravity from the privileged end of life is for me more terrifying. Instead of violence due to struggles it's due to boredom..."

Ah. I think you really hit the nail on the head there Tressa. I never thought of it from that perspective, but you might be onto something.


message 16: by Adam (new) - added it

Adam Floridia This book must be relatively rare. Your review made me visit Amazon, and there are some expensive copies!


Tressa Some copies are priced high and some are more affordable. Not sure why. I paid more for my PBK copy than I see available now. Grab one while you can.


message 18: by Adam (new) - added it

Adam Floridia Tressa wrote: "Some copies are priced high and some are more affordable. Not sure why. I paid more for my PBK copy than I see available now. Grab one while you can."

I just bought one of the $1 ones. I wonder what's with the expensive ones. Collectors editions?


message 19: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Smith Trudi wrote: "Sue wrote: "I'll have to search it out ..... our library does not have it in their system. It does sound like a very interesting book!"

I'd be really curious to see what you think of it Sue. It's..."


Now I'll have to try to find it!!!! My curiosity has been tickled!


Trudi Sue wrote: "Now I'll have to try to find it!!!! My curiosity has been tickled! ..."

Oh noes! First Laymon, now this!


Tressa Adam, I guess collector's editions; first editions. I never care about any of that. I just want to read the book. Can't wait to hear what you and Sue think about it. When you're finished there's a thread in the Novels folder you can join in.


message 22: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Smith Tressa wrote: "Adam, I guess collector's editions; first editions. I never care about any of that. I just want to read the book. Can't wait to hear what you and Sue think about it. When you're finished there's a ..."

Excellent!


message 23: by Cara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cara Lynn You are right to compare it to The Girl Next Door - both are based on the terrifying true tragedy of Sylvia Likens.


message 24: by Laura (new)

Laura Canning Great review, Trudi. Can't quite get my head around other reviews of this book which slate it for not having enough 'graphic torture' (er, possibly go and see a shrink?) or for being 'unrealistic' because it shows nice middle class kids being evil (er, have you ever read Lord of the Flies or about pack mentality?) The reaction to it reminds me of The Blair Witch Project - people whining b/c it wasn't 'scary' or 'graphic' enough. If you can't use your mind to imagine how terrifying it would be to be naked, tied up, isolated and told you're going to be murdered, then no amount of 'graphic torture' scenes will work on you. Each to their own and all that, but I am genuinely chilled at how many reviewers here are slating the book because it wasn't explicit or graphic enough! Sad that some ppl have no imagination.


Jennifer Litscher Sister! As I read the last 50 pages I, too, thought of the movie The Strangers!


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