Michelle's Reviews > The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
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Jan 05, 11

did not like it
bookshelves: mystery, just-plain-awful
Read in August, 2010

I've wanted to read this book since junior high or high school and finally got around to doing it. I had high hopes and even higher expectations. They were both sorely disappointed.

Three random people are chosen by a doctor to spend a summer in a home that is supposedly haunted, by what it is haunted is anyone's guess. How he finds these people is anyone's guess. The doctor's reasons for choosing these particular subjects are as obscure as their inexplicable reasons for joining a complete stranger in his unexplained venture into the realms of a "haunted" mansion. As anyone who knows my reading habits can attest, I find it infuriating when a character's actions are inexplicable. And not one character in this convoluted excuse of a novel is developed in any way that is real enough to explain why they would do any one of the stupid things they do.

What's worse? The dialogue fell flat...reminded me of beatnik prose...intended to be hip and enlightened but instead sounding ridiculously insipid, pretentious and removed from reality. There was nothing terrifying or scary about it. In fact, it was rather predictable. The main character's mental break from reality half way through the novel only served to confuse an already suffering narrative. And the ending...don't even get me started on the ending. It was HORRID!!! No sense of closure. I don't need my stories wrapped in neat little packages and tied with neat little bows. I like an ending that leaves me feeling unsettled and uncertain (a la Life of Pi). However, the ending here was abrupt and chopped, as if the author did not know how to end an already convoluted and dare I say BORING plot.

I think I kept reading because I felt compelled to find out if in the end there would be anything of which to be afraid. NOPE! Not so much. Don't bother. LAME-O!!!
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne Oh crap! I was hoping it would be a good, spooky read! I will take it off my list, sorry you had to suffer through it!


Michelle I know, sad right? So that is why I posted this...because I knew you'd expressed interest. And I didn't want you to suffer through it. I really wanted a spooky (but not too spooky) read!


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

So what you're saying is...you liked it? :)


Michelle Haha! Yes. Clearly loved it!


Mindy Monck I did the something. I kept reading until the end expecting something good to happen. I truly wish I had read your review first :(


Michelle Mindy... Isn't it so disappointing when you read a book thinking it has to get better and it doesn't? This was a serious let down for me because it was supposed to be a classic.


Bette It was especially disappointing because her story "The Lottery" is such a masterpiece. I was shocked at how bad this book was. So disappointing.


Michelle Bette wrote: "It was especially disappointing because her story "The Lottery" is such a masterpiece. I was shocked at how bad this book was. So disappointing."

I agree. I thought this was such a sloppily told story, and "The Lottery" is such a classic. It was such a let down for me.


Andrew Williams Couldn't get through it. The characters were annoying as all hell like they were on hippie drugs. I switched over to Matheson's Hell House, which is pretty much a knock off with better characters and a more sinister, evil tone.


Michelle Andrew Williams wrote: "Couldn't get through it. The characters were annoying as all hell like they were on hippie drugs. I switched over to Matheson's Hell House, which is pretty much a knock off with better characters a..."

I wish I had quit early on! I'll have to check out Hell House.


message 11: by Andrew Williams (new)

Andrew Williams There is still an annoying medium and wife in Hell House. But it is much easier to digest. It isn't perfect either. Perfection to me is Dracula or Salems Lot. I think maybe I just appreciate the more modern writers like King, and Barker. Just read Dan Simmons "Summer of Night". It was like a horror version of Stand By Me. I enjoyed it.


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