A Head Full of Ghosts
A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror, reminiscent of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.
The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie...more
On the other side of it, I certainly wasn't intending to vilify people who suffer from schizophrenia. That's not in the book either. (less) (hide spoiler)]
this book is about a fourteen-year-old girl named marjorie, her eight-year-old sister merry, and the events leading up to marjorie's exorcism. your attention, i have it, yes? this is both a horror novel and a psychological suspense novel, but then it goes the extra step into self-referential metafiction in a way that is natural and not gimmicky-annoying, probably because that part involves a delightful character n ...more
The story in this book was silly and contrived. The characters were blah and I didn't believe their motivation for anything they did. If someone got mad, it felt forced. If something weird occurred it felt like it was just there so something could be weird.
The book is not thrilling. It is not scary. It is bad Exorcist fan fiction. I am not sure if anyone was ever rea ...more
All I will say about the plot is it revolves around the Barrett family and we are trying to solve the puzzle of 14 year old Marjorie's illness. Is she mentally ill? Is she possessed by a demon? Anything more would spoil it all and I refuse to do such a thing!
This is definitely a book that will stay with me. While it's not overly gory or "scary" in the traditional sense, it ...more
Yes, it scared me. In fact, it's exactly 2:41 am and I'm awake because of this book. And I have to pee, but I'm too scared to go to the bathroom by myself and if I wake up my fiance to turn on the bathroom light and wait for me, he will think I'm some sort of mixture between stupid and crazy. And he would probably be right.
There are some problems with this book, including the pacing, the believability of the 8 yea ...more
Much of it has to do with the terribly inconsistent pacing and lack of narrati ...more
I enjoyed this novel of possession/psychological horror/reality television, but I didn't out and out love it. It's almost impossible to tell you why without spoilers, but I'll try.
Here's what I liked the most:
-the shout outs to other authors in the dark fiction genre. I'm sure I didn't pick up on them all, but I love being made to feel like I'm in on something;
-the references to other characters in dark fiction classics-one of which is glaringly obvious, and since she was a most fasc ...more
The novel revolves around the Barretts, a middle class suburban family. When the elder of the two daughters, Marjorie, begins exhibiting odd behavior, the family becomes concerned. As Marjorie's behavior becomes exceeding bizarre, psychology and religion become involved. Is Marjorie having a m ...more
Granted it’s not the first time that Karen has popped up in a book as a character (I can think of two others), but this is the first time that she appears quite a bit (at least by name, as the character isn’t actually supposed to be her). We’ll get back to this later on the review though.
The book is about a family that was once featured on a reality tv show called Possession, which was as the name suggests about demonic possession. The show featured a New Engl ...more
What? A straight possession tale and not one about a family taking care of a mentally ill daughter? One who suffers from paranoia and schizophrenia?
Oh yes, let's take this tale into a heavy-hitting commentary on re ...more
I read this last summer so the details are a bit sketchy now to pull off an in-depth review, but I hate leaving review spaces blank, and this is me trying to push some of my favorites back in front of your face again in case you missed them. A Head Full of Ghosts just snagged the 2015 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel which should help give it a much-deserved boost in exposure.
I loved this one, not only because parts of it genuinely creeped m ...more
It begins super creepy with some pretty "crazy-weird-scary-icky" stories told, and ends with a virtual conglomeration of shockers and question marks that leave the door...more
“Are you good at keeping secrets, Merry?”...more
“More often than not, they keep
okay, I admit this is every day...
So, the premise of this book is about a young woman w ...more
The blog entries were an excellent tool to begin each section of the book. It was like reading a book and then reading someone else's commentary or ana ...more
Meredith "Merry" Barrett recalls of the time when her 14-year old sister, Marjorie, suffered from psychosis. With Marjorie kept in ...more
A Head Full of Ghosts is a story from the POV of Merry Barrett. It opens with her many years later after the events surrounding her sister Marjorie, giving an interview to a writer for a non-fiction book based around her experience as an eight-year-old. We are then taken back to the Barrett house, where 14-year-old Marjorie has started acting out. In an effort to cure her ...more
A Head Full of Ghosts joins Joe Hill's N0S4A2 as the only book to truly frighten to the extent that it triggered hyper-vigilance and had me turning on lights in hallways and turning corners slowly to see what lurked behind them.
The book is clearly a love-letter to Tremblay's pantheon of horror heroes, and shows an exhaustive knowledge of haunted house and possession tales both in cinema and literature. It updates ...more
This was a very difficult book for me to review. I found it very well written and it captured my attention to the very end.
The story revolves around the Barrett family; 14 year old Marjory is "sick". She admits to her 8 year old sister, Merry, that she "hears voices", but is that all there is to it? So much of this story is expertly woven to enable the reader to interpret each event as they will, without giving away any definite answers. This tactic worked magnificently in keeping my a ...more
And it was. It was so full on I couldn't read it at night. But even though I would only read it during the day and tried to read light hearted things befor ...more
"There's nothing wrong with me, Merry. Only my bones want to grow through my skin like the growing things and pierce the world."
Y'all, anyone who knows me will tell you that I love horror. Horror and Ellen go together like peanut butter and jelly (which I also love.) Finding a well crafted horror novel or movie is harder than squishing a sharktopus through the eye of a needle.
A Head Full of Ghosts might be my fa ...more
Lots of things are creepy to Merry. That sounds about right for an eight year old. Ghosts, demons, priests, and the camera man who has fingernails that are long and clicky. Sometimes her older sister is creepy, too. More and more all the time. Except when she isn't.
It tickled me to run into a blogger by the name of Karen Brissette within the pages of this book. Granted, she used capi ...more
I could probably write two reviews for A Head Full of Ghosts, a really long version or a shorter version. I’m going with the short version though (okay, short for me) because then there will be no chance of revealing any spoilers. This is most definitely a book where you’ll want to experience all the surprises and twists for yourself. That said, I wish more people I know have read A Head Full of Ghosts so I could hit the ...more
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He is the author of the short sto ...more