Terri Vlasak's Reviews > You Came Back

You Came Back by Christopher Coake
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's review
Jul 20, 2012

really liked it

I liked this book - a good summer read. It does what a ghost story should do - takes you to the edge of that reasonable explanation for a 'haunting' and then nudges you over into the world of the supernatural - where you are asked to suspend your beliefs and make room for explanations that are not strictly 'reasonable'. The author adeptly teeters us back and forth between these worlds as he tells the story of a family destroyed by the accidental death of a child. The surviving parents have sold the house where the accident occurred, they have divorced, they are struggling still with the remembrance of past happiness, the regret for what they have lost, and the guilt of not having been able to keep their child safe. They are working to rebuild new, separate lives. Then.....the current occupant of the house contacts them. Her adolescent son claims to have seen, to have made contact with, the ghost of the child that died in the house. The ghost, he says, is asking for his mommy and daddy. Is this why the haunting is taking place - to reunite the family? How far will the little ghost go to be with mommy and daddy again - will he destroy their new lives to resurrect the old life? Is this haunting real or hoax? Are the forces at work supernatural or super-charged sense of loss and emotion? There is no question that a haunting is taking place - - the reader must decide if its cause is the supernatural or something more ordinary.

Some of the themes here reminded me of Stephen King's Pet Semetary - the loss of a child, the emotionally broken parents, the imagery of a child's tennies at the accident scene.... King evolves his story into horror. I won't give away what direction Coake chooses to take his story - you'll have to find out yourself. And once you've finished it, think about who 'You' is in the author's title. Have fun!

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