Friday, January 25, 2013

Classic Read: The Haunting of Hill House




Title: The Haunting of Hill House
Author: Shirley Jackson
My Rating: 3.2


This ranks up there with one of the most...engrossing books I've read this year. Not because the story line was so amazing. But just because the psyche of Eleanor was so completely wonky jumping from place to place. I found myself with an enormous headache when I finally finished, and walked around in a haze for a couple of minutes still trying to recover my sense of reality. It's one of those books for people who like to forget where they are. People would talk to me and I wouldn't hear them. I couldn't put it down once I got started.

Jackson paints a pretty picture of an awful scene. It's done in such a way that, even though you know that it will all turn out badly, you want to be there with them. Her characters are beautifully flawed. You hated them, and it was done with careful precision. Your feelings for each character shift throughout the book, causing a jumble of emotions.

This isn't a haunted/mystery story. It's a psychological profile of a troubled woman trying to find a place in the world. Eleanor is who the book revolves around, following her from beginning...to end. Throughout the book, we see her slowly change, though you tend not to notice until the end. Looking back, it was all quite obvious from the beginning.

I was guessing throughout the book, one of the things that I really like about it. Usually one can sniff out the reasons and actions of the book. Most are predictable. Most are forgettable. This is not. I find it difficult to write a review about this book, mostly because after finishing it I strangely forgot. The details are hazy. All I remember is to stay away from the house. At first, I wondered if the hauntings were only a ploy set up by the doctor. They weren't. Then for portions I believed Eleanor to be in a dream. None of it was real. She was still with her mother. Then I believed Eleanor to be imagining all the people around her. Then I thought she wasn't real. Nope. And so it went. Each possible plot was set up, just to be knocked down at the turn of the page.

I would suggest reading it, contrary to the rating I gave it.

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