The 52 Book Club 2022 Challenge Prompt: 29. Over 500 pages long
Other Possible Prompts: 5. Chapters have titles, 8. Involving the art world, 9. A book that sparks joy, 14. A character with superhuman ability, 37. Set in a rural area
Wow…this. This is one of my favorite books of this year so far. And so, so unexpected. This review is going to be my crazy ramblings to my friends immediately after reading it, but somehow made (hopefully) readable – I’m here to sell you on this one! I am, however, going to completely break the usual review format because this book is extremely hard to describe.
I thought I was getting a haunted house book. Based on the side flap, that’s kind of what I was expecting. But that’s not what this is, like, at all. After the death of his father, Nate and his family return to his childhood home for a fresh start. Nate is glad his father is dead. Maddie needs new inspiration for her art, which has suddenly stopped coming to her. And their son, Oliver, is an overwhelmed empath who needs a new school and new chance to thrive socially.
Almost as soon as they arrive in their new home, though, there are strange and unexplainable occurrences. Nate sees his father everywhere, and strangers in the yard. Maddie blacks out while she creates and loses her art pieces. And Oliver makes a new friend, Jake, whose feelings he cannot see or feel like everyone else’s. This is a terribly oversimplified description of this crazy-ass book: there’s also cult shit and time travel and violence and friendship, but without ruining it for you? This is a book about a family.
Probably a great time to acknowledge that the two main characters share my SO and I’s names. I think I’ve mentioned it in a previous post, but I was book shopping with my sister last year and picked up The Book of Accidents with absolutely no knowledge of what it was. I was standing there reading the side flap and said “Oh my god, the two main characters are Maddie and Nate!” and my sister said, “Well, now you have to get it.” The rest is history. It was a little odd at first, trying to settle into it, especially because the two characters started off really resembling us…but I got used to it after a while!
I also *have* to comment on how awesome Maddie and Nate’s relationship was. It was really nice to read a horror novel with an actually healthy example of a relationship in it. These two are a team. They communicate really well. They’re individuals, but support each other in all the right ways. Incredible example of love, strength, and support that comes through right to the end. For once, the horror isn’t how horrible their spouse is to them. The relationship between both parents and Oliver? Also awesome. Which, of course, becomes a big part of the story…
All the supporting characters in this book do just that: support. They add a lot to the story, and I love how round and human they are. No character is neglected, all sides are considered. Even if it’s just Oliver’s nature to see past people’s exteriors, this story does a great job fleshing out even the most minor of characters.
The writing absolutely makes this book. The story is wild, imaginative, and very enjoyable – but without Wendig’s wit and fantastic, swirling prose, it’s just another great book. His touch tips it over the edge of great into outstanding. I described it to my friends as “Stephen King, if he respected women and had an editor with a backbone”. Basically, it’s really, really well written.
I just can’t wait for someone to read this so I can talk about it with someone – I loved this social commentary disguised as a horror novel, and you will too!! Grab a copy. It’s out in paperback now!
Have a great week!