Review for A Head Full of Ghosts

Review for A Head Full of Ghosts

“I sneak into your room when you are asleep, Merry-monkey. I’ve been doing it for weeks now, since the end of summer. You’re so pretty when you’re asleep. Last night, I pinched your nose shut until you opened your little mouth.”

A book about a girl with a mental illness, and her family that is falling apart, about a tv show, about exorcisms and more.

After our first disastrous buddy read we decided to pick another book and we settled on this one. I am very happy that I have read this one as it was a book that is unputdownable. I just had to continue reading, I had to know what would happen, especially as the situation in the house escalates.

Before I start with the review, I want to say that I am giving this book 1 star less for the blog posts. They aren’t around much (thank heavens), but they were so utterly boring, the writing style just wasn’t for me in those posts. I sped read through them as I just wanted to continue with the story as told from Merry/Meredith’s POV.

There is, next to the blog posts and Meredith’s 8-year old POV, also the fifteen years later and the interview with Meredith. How is she doing now, and what kind of things does she have to tell. I also wasn’t a big fan of those, but I liked them much more as they give a bit more insight on how Meredith is now doing.

Most of the book is from Meredith’s 8-year old POV. We see her hop around house, see her notice things changing in her sister (to horrifying points), be a bit annoying (but I could forgive that as she is 8-year old + her parents are mostly caring for Marjorie), see her get scared (as her sister does some messed up things), see her try to help out. I have to say I loved that the author decided on letting the younger sister tell us the story. Show us her family and the descent into madness that not only Marjorie, but the entire family, experienced.

I was shocked that the father, and also the church, were so adamant on it being a possession. Then again, I have read a few other books and also seen documentaries/shows that this isn’t such a weird thing, sadly. Mental illness is still not accepted and treated correctly everywhere.

Marjorie? I felt so sorry for her. You could clearly see that she wasn’t doing well. At times she seemed very normal, just like a teen, but then she would go in strange voices, hurt herself, scare others, make threats, and you would know that this girl needs help. I knew that she wasn’t faking all the things she did. The masturbation? The things that happened during the exorcism? The way she stalked into her little sister’s room to wander around there and pinch her sister’s nose? 100% not faking, no matter what she may have said, I just don’t believe it. It was just too disturbing to be faked.
At first she was getting help, but everyone could see that it just wasn’t working. Then again, it definitely didn’t help that no one apparently took notice of pills taken or not, and that the doctors just saw a surly teen. I wonder what would have happened if Marjorie had gotten the right kind of help and the assistance with the voices.

The dad was definitely also not right in the head, so to say. I already had some issues with him in the beginning, but as the story continued we could see him descend into madness as well. Violence, anger, hatred.

The tv show and how that was all done, oh boy. It was quite interesting to read, how the enactment worked, how they tried to get good material, how their presence ripped the rift between the family even further. Protesters on the street, bullying, Meredith who couldn’t go to school any more, arguments between the parents.

The exorcism? Welp, that one was quite frightening, but I mostly felt sorry for Marjorie (and also for the mom). No one deserves to be treated like this.

The ending? OMG, I was so shocked, I definitely hadn’t expected that. <spoiler>Poor Meredith. Tricked by her sister. Tricked into poisoning her family. Tricked into murder. That poor thing. If only she had known that her sister was not better, that her sister had gone down the very dark side (even further than many moments in the book). And to make it all more horrifying was the fact that it took them 3 days to find the family. 3 days in which a very traumatised little girl was sitting against her mom’s decaying legs. shivers Oh, and I definitely dare to bet that if it wasn’t Marjorie plotting her family’s demise, it would have been the dad. </spoiler>

What more? I think I have mentioned all I wanted. Sorry if it is a bit chaotic, and I hope I phrased everything correctly. I would recommend this book, yes, I gave it a 3 stars, but that is only for those blog posts, the rest of the book is good!

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