“There’s nothing wrong with me, Merry. Only my bones want to grow through my skin like the growing things and pierce the world.”
14 year old Marjorie is possessed… or so her father and his bishop think. The story is told from the point of view of Merry; Marjorie’s 8 year old sister. However – it’s not happening real time; the story is being told by an adult Merry to an author writing about the experience. We switch between reading the conversation between the author (Rachel) and Merry, Merry as a child reliving the experiences and a blogger picking apart what really happened. All parts are equally important and give a good insight to what is actually happening in the book.
Marjorie and Merry start of as regular 8 and 14 year old girls. Marjorie is the light of Merry’s life, and she adores her older sister.
“Because I was convinced that I was going to grow up to be exactly like Marjorie, entering her room was like discovering a living, breathing map of my future.”
The book continues with Merry realizing something is wrong. Her father sinks deeper into a religious frame of mind, and her mother takes up more smoking and drinking. Marjorie changes, getting darker and meaner. After a particularly dark incident, the priest that Merry’s father has been talking to decides to contact the media, and a TV show about Marjorie and her family starts.
As things get more dramatic and dark, we start to see that maybe it isn’t Marjorie that is possessed.
The culmination of the book leaves with a twist that no one saw coming; and when I finished my jaw basically hit the floor.
I loved this book. I think it takes a good hard look at mental health, media influence and how much we can put on a show for those we love.
My friend who recommended it said:
“I think it was a good narrative of where we are at as a society. Sweeping mental health issues under the table and playing on our spectator nature.”
There were points in reading where I had to set the book down and take a break from it (definitely the sign of a good book.) It’s emotionally moving, and you can’t help but feel for each of the characters.
Speaking of characters, all are well written, three dimensional and feel like real people.
I loved this book, and highly recommend reading it to anyone.
Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.
At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.
Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.
But Merrin’s death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside.
Instead of a normal review, I’m going to set this up like I am answering discussion questions. That’s because I am. I wrote some questions (and borrowed some from Reddit) and answered them for my book club.
Before we go, fun fact I learned (I can’t find the source but I think it was Wikipedia)
“The inner front and back cover of the book has a repeating message written in Morse code. It reads, “Pleased to meet you; hope you guess my name,” which are lyrics from the Rolling Stones song, “Sympathy for the Devil.” It refers to the novel’s themes that the devil is more of an anti-hero than a villain.” Like Deadpool?
Q – In a story where the devil in us all is made very obvious, are there any characters who might be seen as more of an angel? Merrin might be an obvious choice, but who else?
A – I think that Terry could be angelic. When it’s his turn to confess to Ig, he tells him about Merrin’s death and starts the whole process of justice. He seems to be the only character that actually worries about Ig, and comes looking for him / offers to help. He also is the one who shows Ig exactly what happened the night Merrin got killed… I also think the book hints at this a little bit. “She [Merrin] pointed at the statue of the angel with it’s horn. ‘Looks like your brother.’ ‘No it doesn’t,’ Ig said… although, in fact, considering it again, it did rather resemble Terry playing his horn, with his broad, clear brow and princely features.”
Q – Does the Gospel According to Mick and Keith feel like a hopeful one? Tragic?
A – I think the Gospel according to Mick and Keith feels like a hopeful one. Ig gets to talk to Dale (Merrin’s father) and finds out information that will help lead him to why Merrin really wanted to break up. He also gets to give Glenna a chance to lead a more fulfilling life, and to no longer let men take advantage of her. It also explains what happens, and in the end Terry is convinced (thanks to the horns) that Lee, Eric and Ig are all dead. He decides to go to New York and learns Glenna is going there too. I think the two of them would be a cute couple.
Q – What higher purpose might Lee’s flashback to the trauma and the cat serve? Furthermore, is he hallucinating?
A – I think the purpose of the flashback is to show why Lee is so messed up. It shows that when he fell off of the fence and hit the ladder, it must have knocked something in his brain loose (dudes it’s a figure of speech). I believe that he has a head trauma that makes him crazy, and that was what the book was intending to do. So you see how insane he is and what he can do without even realizing it (i.e. the cat)
The Discussion Questions I wrote
Q – Ig receives the horns when he burns the tree house of the mind, but why? What purpose do the Devil’s horns serve Ig? If you could grow horns and know the deepest darkest secrets of everyone around you, would you?
A – Rules of the Tree house: “Take what you want / get what you need when you leave.” I think that the horns were what Ig needed to find justice for Merrin’s murder. Having them helped him greatly and he learned everything he needed to know to find peace for himself. Personally, I think it would be cool to have the horns. It’d be interesting to know what people thought of me. Sure, I’d end up having to be secluded and not wanting to talk to anyone… but at least I’d have the company of snakes and fire.
Q – In the beginning of the book, Lee fixes the cross – but Ig still gives it to Merrin. Do you think things would have turned out differently if Ig had let Lee keep it?
A – I don’t think so. Even in the book Merrin states, “I dropped it for you.” She meant for Ig to have the cross. I think somehow, even if Lee had given her the cross back she would have found her way to Ig.
Q – When Lee gets blinded in one eye from the explosion, Ig comes to visit him. While talking to Ig, Lee says to Ig that Merrin will discourage him from being with Lee thenceforth. In reply, Ig says that that isn’t the case and in fact, she’s so worried that she herself wanted to visit him. And then Lee says, “I know why this happened.” “It was a shitty accident. That’s all.” Lee shook his head. “It was to remind me.” “Remind you of what?” Ig asked. Lee was struggling against tears. He wiped at the blood on his cheek with the back of one hand and left a long dark streak. “Remind you of what?” IG asked again … but Lee never got around to telling him. What did Lee think his accident happened for? To remind him of what?
A – I believe that Lee thought that the explosion was punishment for giving up Merrin to Ig for the cherry bomb. Lee had thought that God had given him a gift to take what he wanted and instead of taking it he gave it away. It’s interesting to me too that his eye goes blind, but he still can manage to see Ig with the horns. Maybe that was a “gift” from God?
Q – What did you think of the book?
A – I loved it. The writing is dark, beautiful and interesting. I saw the movie a long time ago and had no idea it was based on a book. Because of this I imagined Daniel Radcliffe as Ig, but things could be worse. It’s a great book for horror / fantasy fans and I highly recommend it. Joe Hill is a great author and has definitely made his own name for himself.
Firstly, I’d like to start with the fact that I love how flexible J.K. Rowling is in her writing. I’ve read all of the Harry Potter series, and I read the Casual Vacancy as well. All of her writing is different – and each is very good in it’s own genre.
I loved the character descriptions and development… even minor characters like Guy Some that Strike was interviewing had enough description and personality that I could picture them. In a lot of books I have a hard tie really figuring out secondary characters. I imagine them as 2D people. This book was quite different.
Strike is such a fun character to read about – and Robin is as well. I haven’t read the second one yet (it’s on my “to read” list) but I hope we can read more from Robin’s point of view.
The story plot was well thought out, and I didn’t get bored during the interviews or the not so important parts of the story. I was very surprised by the ending! I had no idea what it was leading up to, and I’m usually really good at that.
All in all Galbraith did a wonderful job, and I really enjoyed this book.
I really enjoyed this book. I’m not usually one for historical novels (fiction or non fiction – which i’m fairly certain this book is a little of both).
The life of Robert Louis Stevenson and Franny Osbourne Stevenson as told by Nancy Horan is really interesting!
I empathize with both main characters; each painstaking journey, each failing of health, each mental breakdown. I think back in the day it is a miracle Louis survived as long as he did. I think maybe his cheerfulness and Franny taking care of him had much to do with that.
I loved the characters (and yes, they were real people). I loved that Horan gave them thoughts, lives and personalities that I’m not sure anyone would have known about unless they were a history buff.
This is an interesting story about love, life, the struggle of being an author and dealing with hardships.
The main character is Melanie – a genius, super strong, super human Zombie. As we learn we also know that she has a photographic memory (comes with the genius title) and can experience a wide range of emotions. She develops a deep infatuation with Helen Justineau, a “teacher” at Melanie’s “school”. At this school for genius zombie kids is also a scientist; Caroline Caldwell. Another character is Sergeant Parks – the man who disciplines the zombie kids.Each day the kids are chained and bound to a wheelchair to attend their lessons. Sometimes a child will get wheel away by Sergeant Parks to Caroline Caldwell’s lab – and they don’t come back. It is assumed that Caldwell is experimenting on these children.
Something happens at the school one day that changes Melanie and everyone else’s life (I’ll try not to give too much away, but beware this review will contain some spoilers) and Melanie, Miss Justineau, Sergeant Parks, Doc Caldwell and a soldier called Gallagher are on their own trying to survive in the post-apocalyptic world. They have to all learn to trust each other and try and fight to stay alive. This is hard because 1. Sergeant parks does not trust Melanie. He keeps her chained and bound for awhile because he’s terrified she will eat them the first chance she gets and 2. no one trusts Dr Caldwell.
MAJOR SPOILER TO FOLLOW DUDES.
Just to warn you.
In the end though – only Melanie and Miss Justineau survive. They learn exactly how the Apocalypse happened and what caused it; something called Ophiocordyceps. Melanie and Miss Justineau learn that Melanie was born as a Zombie… not made. They learn this when they find a group of children like Melanie, but living in the wild.
The Girl with All The Gifts does not need a sequel because we find out that before Melanie’s generation of born Zombie kids, Ophiocordyceps was only transferable through blood and saliva (like your average Zombie infection). However, events lead to Melanie releasing the virus which has adapted to be airborne… this will turn the remainder of humanity into “hungries” which will eventually adapt, evolve and become more like Melanie.
This book is an interesting take on Zombies, and I enjoyed it a lot. I am a sucker for Zombie stories and this is one of the top ones I’ve read!
I’ve also learned that this book has been made into a movie! View the details HERE
So I started reading this book expecting creepy. I can handle creepy. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors. This book does creepy, and it does it well. When I wasn’t reading I was thinking about the book, and itching my skin and looking for worms (which to be fair, I finished it in about 5 hours but still – during my breaks it was all I could think about)
The Troop messed with me.
When Tim (The Scout leader) let the man into the cabin I knew everyone was toast. That’s the thing about creepy skeletal strangers in the woods… YOU DON’T INVITE THEM IN. At least I don’t, because I’ve seen enough horror movies to know better.
But I digress. The book is excellent! It gave me the creepy crawlies, had me looking at other people in case they were too hungry and trying to see if I could feel worms in my skin.
If you are looking for something that’s icky, makes you want to keep reading and creeps you out – this is the book.
Some Taylor Thoughts (Taylor Thoughts are when I stop reading and ponder something about the book)
These will make more sense if you’ve read the book 🙂
* PAGE 12: “All boys gave off a scent, Tim found..” Do girls give off a scent? What would my scent be?
*PAGE 16: When the creepy guy is eating a sand crab. My first thoughts were “Okay, ew”.
*PAGE 46: “Who’d win in a fight: a zombie or a shark” A legit question! Who would win?
*PAGE 66: When Shelley is killing the cray fish… that’s when I knew he was a messed up kid. It’s also when I knew I would only skim the Shelley parts. Good thing too. I like animals too much, and that little future killer creeped me out more than anything else.
*PAGE 144: “What you should do is get some candles and blankets and head down to the cellar… I think… I’ll stay right here, Max.” I like the Scoutmaster. I like that his conscience stayed with him WAY longer. I like that even though he was creepy and sick, he still put the boys worries above his own. I’m glad he died pretty quickly.
*PAGE 193: AKA the chapter I mostly skipped over. Shelley is creepy. I hope the virus gets him.
*PAGE 212: This is what overthinking gets you. Poor Ephraim.
*PAGE 224: The difference between Max and Shelley? Remorse. That poor turtle.
In conclusion: Shelley is especially weird – he enjoyed being infected TOO much.
Kent didn’t deserve what he got, neither did Ephraim or Newt. Newt was the saddest. I really liked his character.
In the end – The worms must have gotten smarter, no? I mean.. Max was tested and tested and then one day.. .BOOM. Back to the Island cause he’s hungry. But he’s looking for solitude. Good kid to take himself to an isolated Island though.