Published by William Morrow on June 2nd 2015
Source: Library Book
The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.
To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts' plight. With John, Marjorie's father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.
Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie's younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface--and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush Soda Saga or Trivia Crack.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
Wow, you guys, this book is so deliciously disturbing! I still have so many feelings and theories and questions, and it the author kept surprising me- in a good way, not a cheap way.
I normally listen to audio when I’m driving, cooking, cleaning or walking, but last night I couldn’t stop listening, so I threw dinner in the oven and sat down and listened in the living room for almost two hours., only taking breaks to say hi to the Hubs when he arrived and to try to get the dog to go outside (which didn’t happen because it was rainy and Her Morkie Highness does not go outside if it’s wet or damp or the wind blows on her face when the door opens).
I had to stop after a while so that it wouldn’t be the last thing on my brain before bed, because of all the horror plots that terrify me, the two biggest are Bloody Mary tales and possession. And A Head Full of Ghosts is a tale of possession… or maybe not. I’m still not sure what the hell happened in the book- although I’m not complaining, it’s just that it’s not the kind of books that lays the plot out for you from point A to B and everything is tied up in a pretty bow. Bombs are dropped, along with my jaw, and I long to discuss this book.
Merry is such a compelling character, and I enjoyed the journey with her as she tries to make sense of events that happened when she was just 8 years old. The story is told in flashbacks as she meets with an author writing a book on her family, and also includes a blogger who is doing a feature on the family’s tv show- a show that was about Merry’s older sister Marjorie’s alleged possession.
But memory is such a crazy thing, and what the hell do you remember from when you were 8? There were times in this book when I totally thought I knew what was going on, but then the rug was ripped out from underneath me.
Here there be spoilers- do not read unless you’ve already read the book:View Spoiler »Here’s what I think. I don’t think Marjorie was possessed, but there was something horribly wrong with her and she kind of indulged it. She became obsessed with fathers who kill their families, and manipulated her whole family to fit her obsession. I think she genuinely loved Merry, but also resented her. So she saved her, in a weird fucked up way. I do think the show manipulated the exorcism. Or hell, maybe Marjorie was possessed and the demon wanted to screw with poor little Merry. « Hide Spoiler
So if you’re looking for a spooky, scary, shut the front door kind of story for October, then I can’t recommend this one enough!
Joy Osmanski is the narrator and she does a hella good job capturing the difference between 8 year old Merry and adult Merry, and all the voices that Marjorie and Merry do, along with the rest of the cast of characters. I’m sure I would have liked this book in print, but listening was a particularly creepy experience and I would definitely recommend the audiobook!
Book counts toward my R.I.P challenge: