What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Turning by Francine Prose

I was looking forward to reading this book every since I saw it listed as someone's WoW. I think deserted islands hold some appeal for me, particularly spooky ones. So I added this one to our Halloween lineup. I actually didn't know it was a retelling of Henry James' The Turning of The Screw. Now I haven't read the Henry James novel, so I can't say one way or another how The Turning holds up to this one.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Jack is babysitting for the summer on an isolated island with no Wi-Fi, no cell service, and no one else around but a housekeeper and two very peculiar children. He immediately senses something sinister-and it's not just the creepy black house he's living in. Soon he is feeling terribly isolated and alone, but then he discovers there are others. The problem is, he's the only who can see them. As secrets are revealed and darker truths surface, Jack desperately struggles to maintain a grip on reality. He knows what he sees, and he isn't crazy…Or is he?

What I Liked: 1) I was surprised to find that I loved the fact that it was written in letter form. A majority of the story is Jack writing letters to his girlfriend and his father, and it's occasionally interspersed with letters from them. Usually, I don't follow this kind of storytelling very easily, but this time it was actually pretty easy to forget that you are reading this as it's told from him memory. So don't feel disappointed if you open the book and find that it starts in that form. It really adds to the story. 2) The Creep Factor. This story was sufficiently creepy for our purposes here on FCB for Halloween. The ghost story of this deserted island is scary in itself, plus everything that is going on with Jack adds a lot of suspense to the plot. 3) The house. I kind of picture this house as...The Addams Family house from The Addams Family Values. More doors than you could ever look behind, and enough twists and turns to get lost. I don't know if that is part of the Henry James story, but I think I might have to read that one too.

What I Didn't Like: Well, the ending was a little abrupt. I have a feeling this is very similar in keeping with the Henry James retelling. But this one just kind of...stopped. Instead of really ending. I wish I could say more without feeling like I was giving something away, but I really can't. But just know that the ending is kind of like falling off a cliff. Very little exposition at the end.

Overall Thoughts: A short, simple, spooky story in keeping with the mood of the week. Since Halloween is tomorrow, if you're looking for something short and spooky to read while passing out candy to trick or treaters, this is it. It was only 100 pages on my Nook, so I read the whole thing in about 45 minutes. The ending may hit you like a slap in the face, but overall, it was intriguing enough to keep me entertained, and scary enough to have me holding my breath. Take an hour or so and read over this one.

My Rating: 3 candy corns

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3 comments:

  1. I have been eyeing this one for a while trying decide if I want to grab it or not. I am intersted in reading it and I am excited for the letter form. I think I may get it on audio. Thanks for the great review.

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  2. great review! I think I would have an issue with the whole letters format since I'm not a big fan of that. Also the abrupt ending isn't making this book any more appealing.
    I might skip this one out, unless I'm looking for a scary halloween-ish read anytime soon.

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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  3. I have been wanting to read this one, but I am a bit put off by the way it's written. It does sound like a good book though. Great review.

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