Friday, April 2, 2010

BOOK: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, 214 pages

"a dark little gothic tale"

I've always love Jackson's short story, "The Lottery" and have wanted to read more of her books. A great review at Whimpulsive this week tweaked my interest just enough to check the school library and then borrow this slim novel for the weekend. This would be a great book for the Read-a-thon, especially if you like creepy books.

As I searched around for who else had reviews up, I found lots! And I realized that apparently, I don't read too carefully reviews of books that I haven't read yet. I've read these reviews in the last six months, and I added the book to my mental list of books I want to read, but I remembered nothing about the book. I much prefer reading reviews of books that I've already read, and seeing what fellow readers thought of the book. Did they have some insight I missed? Did they like the same parts or characters that I did? For reviews of books I haven't read, I skim a review and get a sense of whether the reviewer liked the book (I appreciate ratings!) but I don't often read the plot summary. I don't want to know much, just the overall impression.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle was a delightful, creepy book. The slow, meting out of details made it a delicious read, as parts and scenes came together gradually, and characters revealed themselves more. I started suspecting that Merricat Blackwood was an unreliable narrator, and that makes a book terrific for me. I also liked how there was nothing disgusting or descriptive in the horror, just your own imagination which is worse than anything else, like the Workman's Compensation commercial with the nail. The best part of reading this book is knowing that I still have Jackson's Haunting of Hill House left to read.

Librarything has a recommendation of The Wasp Factory by Iain M Banks for fans of Merricat, although it is more grsily and detailed.

also reviewed: suziqoregon at Whimpulsive
jenny at jennysbooks
joann at lakesidemusings
chris at bookarama
stephanie at Confessions of a bookaholic