Slade House by David Mitchell
Here is the summary from the back (goodreads):
“Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents—an odd brother and sister—extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late. . . .
“Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it.”
*** Spoilers to Follow ***
This book was not really scary for me. I think that was the point of buying it. I can’t really remember since it has been in my “To Purchase” list for such a long time. But I did hear about it on an episode of Get Booked (Episode 4: Haunted by Horror) and I think the theme for the episode was “Not-so-scary Horror.” I thought this was right up my alley since I’m not really a fan of gory, scary stuff. I like thrillers though, things that give me goosebumps and creep me out a bit. I was one of those kids in the 90s who was into the Goosebumps craze. There was another set of books that I read too. What were they called… Shivers! That’s it. I loved those books. They were so scary! The one about Fern Island or something like that gave me the creeps for two days after I finished reading.
Anyway, back to Slade House. The first chapter was creepy and set the expectation that the other chapters would be just as creepy, but it was not. I think it fell flat because some chapters were very expected. Except for the middle chapter, the one with the pig mask, it gave a bit of hope to the story that added some interest. Overall, I thought the book was pretty blah.
I would recommend this book for younger readers, high school age, especially if their reading level is lower. It has themes for high school and college aged readers and the language isn’t very challenging so it may appeal to those who like horror, but hate reading. Or if you’re looking for something you can read aloud to a general audience. There is a sex scene of sorts, but I don’t think it goes into much graphic detail, but you can also skip over it and not lose anything storywise.
Edit: I just found out that this book is supposedly set within the world of Mitchell’s other book, The Bone Clocks. I guess there are some nods to the book that I did not pick up on since I have not yet read it. My suggestion now would be to read that and then Slade House for a better understanding and, possibly, more enjoyment of the book.
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