Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Book Review: The Uninvited, by Steven LaChance

I love scary stuff. Absolutely love it. It is awesome. The scarier, the better.

It's a widely known fact about me that ever since the first birthday party I remember-my 5th birthday party, which was in St. George-I have loved Halloween and everything about it. Being an October baby, I had a Halloween-themed party, and my parents invited a bunch of kids from the ward over and we watched Donald Duck's Scary Tales and I got a bunch of really awesome presents, including a He-Man sword that could break into two different swords AND ONE OF THEM GLOWED IN THE DARK.

Anyway, The Uninvited.

So this has a pretty scary cover on it, which makes it look a lot scarier than it actually is. Just kidding, it really is that scary. No joke, it's flippin scary. When it comes to scary stuff, I almost exclusively only read non-fiction, so this is the true story of a family's experience living in a haunted house in Union, MO.

And wow. One of the most blatant/open/not remotely subtle hauntings I've ever read about. This beats the Enfield Poltergeist, I think, and that basically rearranged everything in the house twice a day.

So here's the problem: the haunting was evil. Nothing cool or spooky about it-it was just Satan being evil and letting evil things do evil stuff to some good people. That becomes less interesting.

See, for whatever reason, ghosts are only cool if they're scary but not evil. I'm not sure why. I think it's because outright evil is predictable, and stupid. Obviously there are evil spirits, and they do evil things, and if you wanted to learn more about them, you'll kind of be crazy. Who wants to read about real life evil that can hurt you and be disturbing? Not me.

I prefer my ghosts dark enough to be spooky but not so dark that you need an exorcism. And surprisingly, there IS a happy medium out there, and I've generally been successful at finding those books. Why this book wound up being so much darker than those was just bad luck.

This being a book about evil spirits, it's filled with all kinds of disturbing stories. So I'll spare the blog audience all of that and say that I probably wouldn't recommend this book because of the subject matter/content (but if anyone would like to hear about them and/or lose a few nights of sleep, text me).

 It was an OK book, written by what seems like a genuinely good man, and I really liked the structure. That is, when the first really blatant disturbing thing happens to them, he MOVES OUT OF THE HOUSE. The entire rest of the book is about him helping the family that moved in after him, and contacted him through the internet. Very neat structure. Too bad it was so dark and crazy and then kind of descends into a possession story, which shifts the focus away from the haunting stuff and onto just being semi-posessed by an evil spirit or two.

To kind of cleanse the palette, I switched to another 'I died and visited heaven' book right after this. I needed something light and fluffy and not too heavy, and actual general authority books are great but they make my brain work too hard sometimes. So up next in a day or two, watch for that review. I know you'll be waiting...


Hillary said...

I read this a couple months ago. It was horrifying. There's another book I read about a haunted house in Canada or somewhere that is a non-malicious ghost. A much lighter read. I'll see if I can find what it was and tell you.

I was really pissed at the end of this book how that insane landlord let another family with kids move in. Ugh. So irresponsible.

Hillary said...

It's called "Haunted" by Dorah L. Williams.

Christian said...

Oh cool, I didn't know you'd read it. Yeah, it was very scary, especially the 'miscarriage' dream and the guy at the beginning who was like 'look upon me for I am glorious!" Freaking crazy. What prompted you to read this book? Did you get it from the library?

And yes, the landlord was clearly evil himself.

Haunted's been on my Amazon wishlist for a year or so; it it worth the read?

Christian said...

Did you happen to go to Steve LaChance's website and view the Union house evidence pictures, though? Those were cool. Especially the weird bonfire one that he mentioned in the book.

Hillary said...

I didn't check out the website because the book scared me too much to investigate further. I did google and see pictures of the exterior of the house so it kind of put things into perspective about where the stuff was happening.

I get all my books at the library. And the Haunted book has a lot of steady activity throughout it. Spooky stuff, but nothing outright evil. I finished the book so it must be worth the read. If there's nothing happening with the hauntings, I usually give up after 50-75 pages.

Hanny said...

Christian, your Uncle Daryl and I love all things haunted! I would love to know more. I can't get the book from the library because I can't read regular books anymore (can't see). If you give me a scary enough story or two maybe I can talk Daryl into checking it out!