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This book felt very uneven to me. There should have been better flow, balance, plot structure, etc.
Was it creepy? Yes, a bit in a few parts.
It started out with a long, slow section that was a set-up for the upcoming story. That part was too long, nothing much happening. Once the four people are gathered at Hill House to begin their stay & their study/exploration of weird events, you would think it would move along better. Mostly, it doesn't. It is repetitively dull for multiple days in a row -- same daytime set-up, something creepy at night after dark. It's not always clear what is happening for real vs. what may be imagined. That's generally ok in a scary story, but the effect here was... just completely uneven. The characters weren't very likeable & they weren't really fleshed out as to their backgrounds, their motivations, their thoughts. Maybe 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through, two new characters appear & are tossed into the group. For me, their appearance was a jarring interruption. (Which should have been welcome as I wasn't enamored of the book anyway, but they are not any more likeable than the others & their appearance doesn't further the plot.) And while creepy & weird things did happen, there's never really any exploration of what those things were or why they might be happening. The group never really addressed those things, which was supposedly their purpose for being there. As a reader, I felt like I was left hanging.
I guess, ultimately, it showed that one character was indeed affected by the house (or did the character cause the house to react instead?), going around the bend of sanity in about a week's time. But, again, there are no real answers, nor any real explorations of possibilities. Just random characters, a few creepy events, then someone flirting with insanity.
There was the possibility of a great story with some good bones, but it was wasted by not developing the characters or the plot. What comes to mind repeatedly for me is that it is lumpy & unpolished. That's a shame.
Adapted for the stage and film, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson just keeps on giving. This is the book that defined an entire genre.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is the perfect spooky October book for those looking for a quick and captivating read. Following a group of adults who spend a little over a week at the infamous Hill House, Shirley Jackson’s novel introduces us to a house plagued by its history, death, and the impact it leaves on the visitors we become so familiar with. What I liked best about this book is that it was descriptive in the horror aspect, yet not too scary that I couldn't sleep after reading! Shirley Jackson’s novel inspired a chilling Netflix series of the same name, which I personally couldn’t continue watching due to the fear I felt after the first episode. The Haunting of Hill House novel was quite the opposite; scary enough to keep you interested and engaged, but not enough to really petrify you. The Haunting of Hill House is perfect for anyone too scared to see the horror, but all well in reading it! 5/5 stars, coming from someone who usually does not like horror!
@readingmouse of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board
Shirley Jackson excellently executes a character-driven narrative hidden behind a supernatural frame. Jackson does such a good job of misplacing your focus and getting your guard down while at the same time painting such a beautiful scene. It is easy to lose yourself in this tale. This was a perfect October read.
I've found this novel charming, hilarious, scary and addictive. The conversations are so clever. It's a book I feel immersed in like I'm watching more than reading. Also very short and satisfying I feel like I'm going to need some more Shirley Jackson sooner than later
The novel by Shirley Jackson that was adapted to the stage by F. Andrew Leslie. THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE is a spooky tale. The star of this story is a house with a sordid past. When a young woman (Eleanor) who's "sensitive" where psychic matters are concerned takes up residence as part of an investigation into strange occurrences at the residence, the old place just gets stranger. By novel's end, she's showing symptoms of bi-polarity.
Nice to read the book that's said to have influenced so many psychological novels to follow. Might still stand the test of time too. By the end of the story, not sure if protagonist was possessed by the house, or driven insane by it.
First, let me say this: this book, like its author, is highly misunderstood and underappreciated. Many critics and scholars acclaim this book as the greatest horror novel of all time (I disagree; I think The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is the greatest); because of this, readers pick of this book expecting shrieking ghouls and bloody gore with green slime running down the walls. None of that is in this book, so the hopes of readers with these expectations are dashed and they call this book stupid and boring (yes, I'm looking at those of you who gave this book 1 star reviews); this is just simply not true and exposes their ignorance. This novel is a masterclass in psychological horror as Eleanor descends into madness and Hill House's malevolent awareness absorbs her. There is no greater terror than our own minds, and that is why psychological horror is so much more intense. This book is in many ways similar to Henry James's Turning of the Screw, which is also psychological horror with an unreliable narrator and ambiguity that leaves readers asking if there were really any ghosts after all.
I'm a bit disappointed, I wanted tension to start building and this didn't deliver for me. Except for the scaaary questions of which way the main characters swing. Are they gay or just good friends? OoOOOooOOOoh, scary! That's sarcasm. I don't care who likes who, I just want some scares that make me think about the nature of fear and humanity. That's all.
I thoroughly enjoyed this classic spooky psychological ghost story. The whole story is really the definition of madness. There were a couple of areas in the book where I felt rather confused as to what was going on, but I think that was Shirley Jackson magic about her style of writing. It's written in very old fashioned style of writing, which isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. But that's just what I most enjoyed about the book.
This classic horror novel features a haunted house.
A slow burn spooky novel that centres on Hill House, a very strange house indeed with a history and a way of changing people. Eleanor, a vulnerable young woman without a place in the world, agrees to participate in Dr Montague's experiment of living in the house and recording anything unusual. She is joined by artistic sensitive Theo and heir to the house Luke and the doctor himself. But will they all survive their ordeal?
A more subtle horror story than what I was expecting. I was interested in this book because of the Neflix series, but the series really only used the setting and names from the source material. The story mingled mental illness and paranormal activity. I thought there weren't many scary parts, and a lot of the book focused on Nellie and her insecurities. I would have preferred if the narrative was more descriptive of their search for ghosts.
The Haunting of Hill House is one of the best haunted house stories I have ever read. It is about a man called Dr. Montague, who recruits Luke, Theodora, and Eleanor to stay at Hill House with him to collect evidence that Hill House is haunted, and it is the perfect blend of horror and psychological thriller. This book is able to scare without even describing any ghosts or figures, but just through implication. This book ends with a twist you do not see coming and will keep you thinking for days after, which is what makes it so creepy. I would recommend this book to anyone who watched the Netflix series or one of the movie adaptations and I give it a rating of 10/10. @bookaholic of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board
If you liked the Netflix series, this is definitely worth reading! It is vastly different from the series, but it is interesting to have watched the series after reading the book and seeing where elements appear and are changed in the series.
Hauntingly great. A must read for those who love the horror genre. Spookiness with suspense awaiting for you at each turn of page.
This rating would be higher had I NOT watched (and loved) the Netflix series. This is one of those rare instances where the screen adaptation is vastly superior to the book. Unfortunately, this iconic horror novel suffers in comparison.The book is old school horror, dark and foreboding vs. gory and violent. The suspense builds nicely and it's mostly a psychological thriller.
The end was kind of a let down, and it's a real disappointment after the series but still worth a read.
2019 Book Squad Reading Goals - Ghost story
Best read in a couple of sittings, and preferably when you are alone and it's dark outside and the wind is howling.
Beautiful writing (on both characters and scenes), in short volume, makes me forever hover over Eleanor's perception (illusion, hallucination). I wished I could transcend the juvenile horrific effect.
More pleasure than horror, Hill House haunts me to desire with nothing to fear.