Monday, October 20, 2014

Ghost Story by Peter Straub - Guest Review by Kimberly Griffin.


A group of four elderly men who refer to themselves as “The Chowder Society”, in a small town called Milburn, have a secret they’ve kept to themselves for the past fifty years.  They fear this secret may be coming back to haunt them.  There were five of them, but Edward Wanderley died at a party a year ago.  The four that are left have been different since that night.  Now when they get together for their Chowder Society meetings, they all feel compelled to tell each other ghost stories.  It started when one of them asked the other, “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” and the other answered, “I won’t tell you that, but I’ll tell you the worst thing that ever happened to me” and proceeded to tell a ghost story.  Now they take turns, each week they meet and one tells a ghost story to the others.  They all have had nightmares since the death of their friend, Edward, and they now are feeling apprehensive and fearful that something really bad is going to happen to them and to the town. 

I first read Ghost Story when I was in college.  Late at night, alone in my single dorm room, it scared the daylights out of me.  I remember reading it one night, on the train that would take me from my college town to the town my dad lived in, on my way home for a visit.  It was dark outside, and before too long, I was half expecting to see some specter suddenly appear in the window beside my seat.  I have good memories of reading this book.  I enjoyed the re-read too, though it did not scare me as much as the first time around.
Ghost Story is, in my opinion, a timeless classic.  It scares you in a subtle kind of way.  It draws you along at a comfortable pace and then everything starts to fit together in a very disturbing way.  There is no man with a saw going after everybody, no ghost children popping up here and there in a haunted house; this ghost story is more eerie than that.  You can have the children exorcised, the saw man set on fire or blown up.  Ghost Story is more about an ancient and powerful evil.  That’s what scared me the most about it, and what stays with me after I’ve read the book.  Can that kind of evil really be defeated if it exists?  The ending leaves you with just a little question in your mind.
Ghost Story is one of my favorite horror books.  It does have a few weaknesses though.  It moves pretty slowly for the first half of the book, but after that it picks up speed.  The characters can get confusing sometimes.  The townspeople are brought in sometimes with little or no introduction and it would leave me confused for a while.  Usually it turned out to not be important; they didn’t usually stick around long anyway.  Still, it was somewhat annoying.  Despite these weaknesses, I still think it’s a great read, just don’t give up on it until you’ve at least made it halfway.  The best is yet to come, and it’s worth it.


Kim Griffin is a lover of all things book related, whose favorite holiday is not Christmas, but Halloween! Oh, how she loves Halloween! Of course, October is her favorite month; the smell of burning leaves in the air, the colors on the trees, the cooler air…it all means Halloween is coming. She spends all of October reading nothing but horror books and watching scary movies that she wishes were even scarier. If she doesn’t feel frightened to go to the bathroom by herself, then it just wasn’t good enough. You can visit her blog to find book reviews of mostly YA and PNR type books (though some horror, fantasy, sci-fi and mystery are mixed in too), as well as reviews of movies that were based on books, and other book-related features at Bookworm Book Reviews.

2 comments:

M.A.D. said...

I've heard about Ghost Story before, glad tho you mentioned it as I finally added it to my wish list :)

Kimberly Griffin said...

Great! I hope you'll like it!

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