A Head Full of Ghosts
by Paul Tremblay
This book! So smart, so clever, so unnerving.
Merry’s older sister, Marjorie, has begun to act strangely. Marjorie watches 8-year-old Merry while she sleeps, tells her increasingly disturbing secrets and threatens to cut out her tongue if she tattles. Meanwhile, Merry’s mother shuttles Marjorie to a string of doctors while her father drags in a priest.
After a denouement of serious weirdness, the parents decide to sign up for a reality television show (The Possession) – this decision, of course, goes terribly awry.
I found this book to be incredibly clever. We only know what a protected youngest child would know; the parents try to keep things as normal as possible when, in reality, the entire family is skidding off the tracks. Then, when we think we know exactly what happened, we are treated to the viewpoint of the grown-up Merry and a blogger who works very hard to discredit everything shown in The Possession. We are constantly, and delightedly, kept a little off balance.
I mean, what could be more frightening than a trusted family member turning against you, the exploitation of reality television and a demon-possessed teenager? This book definitely deserved it’s 2015 Bram Stoker award.