rachel's Reviews > Heart-Shaped Box

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
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Jan 22, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: 2010
Read from January 22 to 31, 2010

Read like Stephen King lite, which is not bad but also not terribly exciting. Joe Hill has his father's love of folksy dialect and rock 'n' roll. He also is capable of writing a creepy scene here and there, although I have seen way too many horror films to find any of it original or unpredictable.

I liked Marybeth and found myself caring about her character much to my surprise, because I thought she was going to be the token hot Goth girlfriend. Instead, I empathized with her for being unwittingly stuck with a literal ghost of her boyfriend's past. Joe might be trying to avoid comparisons with his father, but one thing that I always liked about classic King is how human his characters are. That's something Joe did well with Marybeth too.

That being said, a lot of the horror of the book was kind of cartoonish, the scenes described as if he were watching them on a screen rather than living them in his head. For example: there are so many great things you can do with ghost eyes, because "eyes are the window to the soul," right? These ghosts have squiggles that jump and "appear to be drawn on with pencil" (paraphrasing). That sounds like a description of something in a film, rather than a description of an organic world. And I don't want to read a film.

(As an aside, I loved every appearance of the visible black dog souls, easily the best detail of the book for me.)
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Reading Progress

01/23/2010 page 10
2.66% "For book club. Don't know what I expect but I don't think I'm expecting something earth-shattering."
01/25/2010 page 40
10.64% "Am I especially impressionable now? The first appearance of the ghost creeped me out a little."
08/03/2016 marked as: read
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message 1: by Moira (last edited Mar 08, 2013 08:45AM) (new) - added it

Moira Russell Read like Stephen King lite, which is not bad but also not terribly exciting.

That was just exactly my reaction, from the "King lite" to the dog-ghost-souls. It was.....kind of workmanlike? Serviceable? I didn't feel like it was bad, but it wasn't fantastic either. And I feel for the poor bastard getting compared with his da, but when you realize that his da's debut was Carrie.... Well.


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