Book Review: My Best Friend’s Exorcism

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix is a dreadful book. It features a killer cover which won me over at the bookstore.

(Note: this review will contain spoilers about one particular plot point. But I honestly don’t know how the main story line is resolved, or what’s up with the possession and its subsequent exorcism.)

exorcism

How cool is that cover? It looks like an old rental cassette. And the rainbow goes around the side and beyond. It’s such a beautiful book that I’m in love with it. I want to marry it.

At any rate, I DNFed at page 50. Someone somewhere likened this book to what happens when horror meets Tina Fey, but I can’t find the quote. Oh well. Anyway, I’m a huge fan of campy horror. Heck, I write campy horror. But this was disappointing.

First off, the writing seemed solid in a technical sense, but I couldn’t connect with the characters to save myself. There was no, like… no intimacy with them, and they felt flat and empty. Even when they were crying, I had no feeling of connection to them, as if there was a huge wall between us. It was really strange.

Second, the book became offensive. Date rapes were mentioned casually, in a “boys will be boys” sort of way. Ugh. And the two best friends–both of them girls–loved each other DBNQ (which apparently stands for “dearly but not queerly”). And in high school, they and two other girls do acid. The character who winds up becoming possessed didn’t want to do the acid. Her friends pretty much slammed her over the head with undue peer pressure, and they also lied about the origins of the acid. (They said it came from a drug dealer she trusted, when in reality it was found under the mattress after a raid on someone else in a hotel room.)

But I’m saying this as if I had any connection to what was happening. It felt as if these characters were miles away.

That was when I stopped reading. I couldn’t muster any interest at all.

According to multiple other reviewers, the dog is killed in a horrific way. None of the reviewers would clarify except to say that it was that bad. Several reviewers viciously cursed out Grady Hendrix. I don’t even want to know. One reviewer even went to a website called something like doesthedogdie.com, and yes, he discovered that the dog does die. Goodness gracious. Oh wow, it’s an actual site. Okay. Huh. Good to know.

The author tried too hard to make a nostalgic connection to the 1980s. I was his target audience, since I lived the magic of that decade. Roller rinks, yes! And E.T. is one creepy alien! But nostalgia only works in a book when you feel connected to the characters. Otherwise, you can have all the Reese’s Pieces in the world and they won’t taste good. Or something. [Shrug.] (That made sense in my head.)

*****

I’ve been trying to read more books lately. I’m into horror, and I also want to reread some Christopher Pike while continuing to tackle my current read, Sweet Miss Honeywell’s Revenge. It’s rather slow-paced, so I have a bad feeling that I’ll DNF it.

I got back into reading by asking myself how I intend to stay entertained on the flights to and from Prague this October. So that’s been good.

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