This book hit so close to home, it scared the sanity out of me. Everything about Amanda reflected major aspects of my life onto the page, pulling me in like an invisible lead on a collar. I couldn’t help but fall in love with her. Some people might call her plain, or boring. I, however, found her “normal” nature and “normal” issues to be an intriguing characteristic in this type of novel. Too often characters in this genre are so over the top that they become completely unbelievable, unreal, thereby crushing any credibility the story might have held. Amanda couldn’t be more real if she sat snuggled up beside you on the couch, breathing softly against your neck as you read to yourself. All the characters are realistic. These people could be co-workers, friends or even family; I feel I know them so well.
The story on a whole rarely came off sounding false. I had to keep pouring back over events in my own life to see if perhaps I could be suffering from a similar scenario. Evil is everywhere. It could lurk inside your mailman, your pharmacist, your daycare worker or nanny. No one is immune. Who knows, perhaps there’s a demon inside me right now screaming to be let out, and you wouldn’t even know it until it was too late. Is there one in you? There are no flowers or puppies or choirs of angels in this story, so break out the pitchfork and welcome to Hell!
There was no fluff to this novel. Clocking in at a scant 192 pages, the pacing was perfection. Sara Gran expertly uses the rule that states you should only write to advance character or plot, nothing more.
I was extremely ecstatic to find that the author followed through all the way to the end, tying everything off exactly the way I hope. This woman has balls and isn’t afraid to write the way the story should be told, rather than the way the Powers That Be want it told. Her writing style flowed with ease, making for an effortless read.
The only thing that grated on my nerves, like fingernails on a chalkboard, was Amanda’s husband, Ed. An annoyingly anal-retentive hard-ass, he is overly observant and prone to picking at details, but conveniently becomes blind to the glaring differences that manifest in his wife. I found it very hard to swallow that he could so easily overlook certain actions that should have alerted him to Amanda’s plunge into despair, such as the sudden reintegration of habits that she had given up years ago to better their relationship.
I give this book 4 flaming pitchforks. It was so close to perfection, (minus the hubby slip), that I would encourage everyone to rush out and grab it now--grab it in trade paperback, don’t wait for the mass market edition. Indulge yourself, read it over and over, and descend into darkness.
Review originally posted at http://www.horror-web.com/reviews/YaBB.cgi?board=Books;action=display;num=1179147273 on May 14, 2007.