In honour of Friday the 13th, I decided to discuss my top 5 books with dark and creepy plots! Let’s jump right to it!
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Goodreads synopsis: Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth — musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies — the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children. Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices. The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.
My thoughts: This book is all kinds of messed up! First of all, I’m proud of myself just for finishing this monster of a novel. I did not know what I was getting myself into when I started reading it, I had no idea how complicated it would turn out to be. As I got further into the book, friends and family who saw me reading it asked what it was about. I found as I was trying to explain I would have to stop and start over from a different point. This book was so complicated but in the most amazing way possible. There are multiple story lines happening at once with crazy footnotes that bring you on an adventure throughout the book. There is no possible way I could properly describe what this book is about, the only way to find out is to give it a read. It is all kinds of dark and twisted and a lot of people have stated that they felt a little off while reading it. One person even stated that while reading it she had a strange case of vertigo which she had never experienced before reading this book, and never again once finishing it. Like I said earlier, this is one monster of a book. It is massive and insane and a tough one to read, so if you do decide to give it a chance make sure you are up to it. Make sure you are in the mood to be reading the same book for a little longer than it might take you to read an average sized novel. Make sure you are ready to have your mind screwed with.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Goodreads synopsis: A vicious fifteen-year-old “droog” is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubrick’s magnificent film of the same title. In Anthony Burgess’s nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends’ social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex—to “redeem” him—the novel asks, “At what cost?”
My thoughts: It definitely helped that I watched the movie before reading the book. The nadsat language used throughout the story is hard to grasp at first. Thankfully, I was able to understand the gist of what scene the book was at because of the film. That being said, once I was about half way through the book, I had become used to the slang language and was able to understand a lot quicker. If you have seen the movie you know that it is very disturbing and hard to watch. The book is only slightly less disturbing and I believe that is because the movie provides you with visuals and music all mashed together to give you an uneasy feeling. I still can’t decide whether or not I liked the ending, which was different from the movie. I like both endings for different reasons. Overall, if you liked the movie you will like the book…just give yourself a chance to get a grasp on the nadsat slang!
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Goodreads synopsis: A teen plunges into a downward spiral of addiction in this classic cautionary tale. It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth — and ultimately her life. Read her diary. Enter her world. You will never forget her. For thirty-five years, the acclaimed, bestselling first-person account of a teenage girl’s harrowing decent into the nightmarish world of drugs has left an indelible mark on generations of teen readers. As powerful — and as timely — today as ever, Go Ask Alice remains the definitive book on the horrors of addiction.
My thoughts: I read this book way back when I was either in grade 8 or 9. Because it was so long ago, I’m having trouble remembering some of the details, but I do know that this was one of the first dark and troubling books about addiction I had ever read. I still own my copy and I think it’s about time for a re-read!
Dark Places & Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Goodreads synopsis (Dark Places): Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars. Since then, she has been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben’s innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her brother’s? Ben was a misfit in their small town, but was he capable of murder? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back? She begins to realise that everyone in her family had something to hide that day… especially Ben. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find. Who did massacre the Day family?
Goodreads synopsis (Sharp Objects): Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory. As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming. With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.
My thoughts: I could have also thrown Gone Girl into the mix, but let’s be real…it’s getting a bit overrated now. I thought I would talk about the two lesser known Gillian Flynn books that I actually preferred over Gone Girl. Both Dark Places and Sharp Objects were creepier, darker and more twisted in my opinion. Both are also being adapted into films and I honestly can’t wait, especially for Dark Places! I would highly recommend checking these two out if you have read Gone Girl, or even better, if you haven’t.
That wraps up my top 5 books with dark and twisted themes! Happy Friday the 13th everyone!
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