Gerhard's Reviews > Suspicious Minds

Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
7416346
's review

it was ok
bookshelves: 2019, horror-thriller

'Stay strange.'

I recall that this first Stranger Things tie-in novel debuted on The New York Times bestseller list, much as the Star Wars novels invariably tend to do. The point, I suppose, is that the vast interest in such pop-culture phenomena bleeds over into books, which is not a bad thing. The world always needs more readers.

(Remember that after The Return of the Jedi, Star Wars was pretty much kept alive by the Old Canon books, with Disney now having wiped the slate clean, and producing instead a lot of quite crappy New Canon tie-ins. But that is another story.)

I was intrigued enough by the idea of this Stranger Things novel – the back story of 11’s mom, set in the turbulent 1960s, and the genesis of the Hawkins Laboratory – to want to give it a bash. Great idea; debatable execution. How much art has failed according to that maxim, I wonder?

This is by no means a bad book. As I’ve said, there are a lot of crappy tie-in novels out there, with some of the most execrable coming from the Star Trek universe, IMHO. But it could have been so, so much better.

I think part of the problem is Gwenda Bond is unsure what audience the book is aimed at. It deals with some pretty heavy issues – the Vietnam draft and protests, the government LSD experiments at the time – but Bond glosses over these issues with a YA soft focus. This saps the strength from the narrative, which by the time you reach the heart-rending ending, you realise has been quite a harrowing tale.

I enjoyed a lot of the ‘period detail’, which is a strength of the television show as well. Unfortunately, the characterisation is rather weak, which sometimes makes it difficult to differentiate between some of the large cast, especially the women.

And then there is Dr. Martin Brenner. Here he is even more of a cipher than he is the television series, if that is possible. At least Matthew Modine injects some creepy subtlety into the role; in the book, he just comes across as a sadly bland James Bond villain.
16 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Suspicious Minds.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

February 11, 2019 – Shelved
February 11, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
July 7, 2019 – Started Reading
July 7, 2019 –
12.0% "'We can put a man on the moon, but they still haven't figured out how to get out of 'Nam.'"
July 7, 2019 –
27.0% "'What exactly was in the Hawkins special acid blend?'"
July 9, 2019 –
40.0% "'Frodo lives!'"
July 11, 2019 –
65.0% "'Sometimes even Frodo and Sam have to have tough conversations.'"
July 12, 2019 –
85.0% "“If we’re the Fellowship, I want to be Galadriel,” she declared.
Terry got up, too. “Galadriel isn’t in the Fellowship.”
“I don’t care,” Alice said. “There’re not that many women to choose from in the books. I want to be Galadriel.”"
July 12, 2019 – Finished Reading
July 13, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
July 13, 2019 – Shelved as: horror-thriller

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Interesting point about who the audience is for this book. I've only seen the first series of Stranger Things, but I think the same is slightly true for that.


Gerhard Cecily wrote: "Interesting point about who the audience is for this book. I've only seen the first series of Stranger Things, but I think the same is slightly true for that."

I've just started watching S03, and it is quite full-on horror. Definitely not a kiddies' show, if it ever was.


message 3: by Cecily (new)

Cecily No, not a kiddies show, but at times it felt more YA than middle-aged (though plenty of things can be both, and in between).


Gerhard Cecily wrote: "No, not a kiddies show, but at times it felt more YA than middle-aged (though plenty of things can be both, and in between)."

Yes, of course. LOTR/The Hobbit is a classic example.


message 5: by Cecily (new)

Cecily But The Silmarillion not so much.
;)


Gerhard Cecily wrote: "But The Silmarillion not so much.
;)"


Definitely! A lot of adults can't get to grips with that one in particular either!


message 7: by Cecily (new)

Cecily I can see why. When I read it, I was reading it aloud, which is even harder! (My kid, about 8 at the time, was finding it a bit heavy going, but really wanted to read it.)


Gerhard Cecily wrote: "I can see why. When I read it, I was reading it aloud, which is even harder! (My kid, about 8 at the time, was finding it a bit heavy going, but really wanted to read it.)"

Oh wow, what a fantastic achievement!


back to top