Unlike many people I know (Hi, website co-founder Luke!), I am ‘delightfully analog’ (to quote a family member), and LOVE books on paper. Not to knock e-books, but turning a literal page versus a virtual one will always be better to me. Which is why I must at least take a moment to note how much I liked the feel of the cover of Burn Down The House And Everyone In It. The velvet/smooth combo sensation was enticing, and I found myself offering pets of it to people (‘feel this book! But don’t read it. I have to read it first.’). And I am glad to say the inner contents were equally enjoyable, though less a combo of velvet and smooth and more a combo of humor and horror. Nine short stories, all independent of each other, await your eyes and imagination. None of them are even remotely the same, and like my favorite desserts, I liked them all for different reasons (PS- yes, I am allowed to have nine favorite desserts). And I really did like them all – a rarity for a selection that truly begins and ends on each title page – no overlapping characters, no reuse of setting. All original. This book seemingly has a selection for everyone, and honestly, it caused me to remember very fondly a book I read, and reread multiple times, as a Young Horror Virgin (a virginal virgin if you will): Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark. If, like me, you checked out this book from the library as a grade/middle schooler only to wonder HOW in HELL it was allowed to be read by your age group, you will thoroughly enjoy this grown up, even more grisly version. The only thing keeping this from being truly the adult version of Scary Stories is the omission of some horrifying line drawings of Captain the Cat (oh, Captain, my Captain of Holy Hell Horrors you poor, poor creature) the three masked, asexual, head escaping Dandies- not to mention finding out if Little Danny the pet looks like he did in my imagination.
This book was a great read – a terrific blend of horror, sadness, intensity, and – my favorite – camp. Not sleep away camp – but ‘camp’ a la Elm Street. Camp is one of my most favorite additions to horror. Laughter and fear live a hair-width apart – think of the times you’ve been startled by a friend hiding behind a door. Your first instinct after feeling pure terror is to laugh. To combine the two is, for me, to keep you on edge because you aren’t sure what emotion to plan for next. (See also: Cabin In the Woods, Fright Night, Scream)
These stories touch on just about any angle of fear that you may have – from the common fear of clowns to the things you may not have known you should or could be afraid of – the loss of a treasured item, or worse, its memory. On the surface, hearing the subject of some of these stories may not seem they have any fear to give, but with the turn of a page, you will soon realize there is fear everywhere.
I will hold true to my silent vow to not post spoilers in my reviews. However, I do want to say I enjoyed these stories. I found myself checking the time to see if I could read one more before putting the book down, and I saw not only the horror, but the humor in each entry.
Burn Down the House and Everyone in It [Book Review]
Well Worth the Burn