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Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Joe Hill

Do you sleep with the light on? Are you in the habit of checking your doors and windows before you go to bed? Maybe even checkingunderyour bed? If you are about to crack open Joe Hill's chilling thrillerHeart-Shaped Box, you might want to rethink your … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Joe Hill
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
1 review about Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel

Ghost story with heart

  • Mar 10, 2010
I remembered reading reviews of Heart-Shaped Box when it came out--vague memories of Joe Hill being related to Stephen King, and of the novel being inventive, scary and new... So when I found it second hand at ...'s I just had to take it home. Of course, that was before Christmas, and I'm still catching up on all the books that Santa brought me. My son said he wouldn't like this one because it was too "hyped." But hey, I've been late catching lots of good movies for the same reason (Forrest Gump, Shakespeare in Love, even Avatar, which I only made it to a few weeks ago). So... Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box...

I guess another thing that put my son off the book was the fact that the protagonist is an aging rock star. So, maybe I'm aging. I'm over it. Actually the protagonist is a surprisingly three-dimensional character, and "aging rock star" only scratches the surface. The story of where he came from, how and why, is skillfully woven like music into the mystery of how he might survive the blade-wielding ghost. Other stories interweave as well. The girlfriends--Goths all, but always deeper than the stereotype; the office assistant who's built a new life beyond pain; the grandmother; the aunt; yes, and the ghost.

For a story filled with such wounded lives, and haunted with particular viciousness, Heart-Shaped Box is a surprisingly satisfying read. No one is quite as bad as they believe themselves, except perhaps the ghost, and redeeming features really do redeem, even the dead. One of the most beautiful scenes is, I'm sure, another that would make my son refuse to read. It involves the rock-star's beloved dogs rushing to his aid, proving to be surprisingly powerful talismans against ghosts. When Jude feels himself "honored with a glimpse of something beautiful and eternal," as he watches the shadow-dog, the reader feels the same.

People die in this book. Not a lot of people; not a slaughter-fest. But some people, and their death are handled beautifully too. Funny, sad, sweet, scary and magical in turns, Heart-Shaped Box is probably not a book for the squeamish, but it was certainly good and well-worth the reading.

So maybe I'll at least try to recommend it to my son.

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"Ghost story with heart"
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