Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Full Spoiler Post about Help for the Haunted because I need to talk about it

If you haven't read Help for the Haunted and you plan to, please DO NOT READ THIS POST.

If you have read the book, I really welcome your thoughts!





Here we go with the spoilers.

This book consumed my reading time, caused me to lose sleep because I was reading and lingered in my thoughts (not necessarily in a good way) after I finished reading it and I wanted to talk about what bothered me about the book as well as the experience of reading so I am making this post and risking wrath. But why do we read if we can't discuss this stuff? Anyway.

First of all, I really liked this book SO MUCH at first because I think Searles did a great job of creating an atmosphere that was all creepy and haunting, this couple that worked with ghosts, etc. felt really real, as a reader, I was excited and eager to read and learn about the stuff in the basement, etc, from a craftmanship standpoint as a mystery (IN THAT REGARD) it was really good?

But you guys....I HATED THE ENDING. I think part of it is that I'm just tired of "secretly gay child" being the twist to so many mysteries. Like, this particular device has worn its course with me and I'm really curious what other people think about it. Like...does this need to be the solution to every mystery. I read another mystery/thriller this year, Reconstructing Amelia, where her sexual identity also played a big role, but unlike Help for the Haunted where I spent most of the book thinking Rose was a psychopath, Amelia was given her own voice in half the novel and I loooved the way she sort of discovered how she felt, and while SAD, yes, it never felt cheap. But this "twist" with Rose sort of felt cheap to me, there was only one indication and it didn't even seem to bother or surprise Sylvie when it happened, so it's not like you can argue that Sylvie just didn't see it or whatever in her limited POV as a sheltered child of conservative religious parents. By cheap what I mean is that it seemed like it was supposed to be shocking for the sake of shock value and not a considered and careful story.

Also, like the whole book Sylvie was all, "THAT SUMMER ABIGAIL LYNCH CAME TO STAY" like it was the worst thing in the world, and what happened actually turned out to be super anti-climatic.

I think I just also disliked that the resolution in general stripped the story of all its supernatural elements. And while I can kind of sort of appreciate what the author was maybe attempting to do--showing how children make things bigger and more mysterious in their was disappointing to me. I felt like all the creepiness of Sylvie's life was oversold (i.e. why would the mother care if they touched Penny since she didn't believe any of it anyway?) and the conclusion of the story was just dull and to be honest, a bit nonsensical.

I do think it's interesting how their father abused them, and in turn Rose abused Sylvie...not taking care of her, feeding her popsicles, lying to her, etc. Rose was really not any different from Sylvie's father in this regard...she gladly used Sylvie to achieve her own means. But eh, I don't know, that conclusion...ugh.

Anyway, the book is mostly getting rave reviews so tell me why I'm wrong, or what you think about "secretly gay!" as the key to so many mysteries.


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