My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix – Book Review 


I’m not going to lie. This book was a total cover acquisition. Just look at it. 80s Horror perfection, and I adore how much it reflects the contents too. Beware crimpers!! 

This is a perfect Halloween read but I’d say it was more creepy with a slow building tension than out and out horrific. Although a few scenes may turn your stomach! Personally I found Gretchen’s mother’s attitude to books the most horrific thing in the book. 


What I loved about this book was the friendship. The back tagline suggests MBFE is a cross between Beaches and the Exorcist and OMG the Beaches vibe totally hit and left me a sobbing mess at the end. 

Abby and Gretchen first meet at Abby’s ET themed 10th birthday party, to which Gretchen is the only class member to turn up. Their friendship develops from there until the fateful night where everything changes. Don’t do drugs ladies or you’ll get possessed by a demon. 

Can skittles lure a demon too?

After a failed acid trip Gretchen turns from sour emo to grade A bitch. Think Heathers on steroids. But Abby stands by her and gradually works out what is going on with the help of someone whose demon vision is super-powered. The exorcist is a beefcake called Brother Lemon who reminds me of Edgar Frog from The Lost Boys in his intensity. Are he and Abby successful in saving Gretchen against all odds? You’ll just have to read to find out. 

This was a witty, fun and surprisingly emotional read. Definitely one for ‘Be Kind Rewind and Read Again’.

Perfect for fans of the 80s, of Stranger Things and for people that enjoy reading about the power of female friendship. Each chapter heading references an 80s song and there’s even a Spotify playlist available. I just need this to be a movie now. 

Thanks to Jamie-Lee and Quirk for the copy for the purposes of review. All the flailing above is my own. 

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mother! – film review 

Discussion does contain some spoilers 

I went into this film knowing it was a marmite film and that generally people were falling into either the ‘it’s a masterful work of genius’ or ‘it’s a pile of poop’ camp. Some people from the former have made suggestions that those who don’t like it don’t understand cinema, metaphor etc. 

So as an avid film buff, and voracious reader, well aware of metaphor, I leaned more to the WTAF did I just watch camp and indeed my face looked like this through much of the film. 


What I liked

The acting Especially from the main female leads.

Jennifer Lawrence did an excellent job as a slightly downtrodden but lovestruck wife. 

Michelle Pfeiffer is amazing as a bitchy older woman who acts much much younger and is very very unaware of personal boundaries. 

The use of setting

The house in the middle of nowhere and it’s alive. The setting definitely ratcheted up the tension. 

The first part

Initially the film shows you the peace of Lawrence and Bardem’s couple being shattered by the arrival of someone who turns up saying ‘they’ said you were a B and B. Who are they and why is Bardem so accepting of inviting strangers into their house and so dismissive of his wife’s concerns? Creepy enough. 

What I didn’t like

The film length

I was definitely watch watching and the pacing at the end was so off I would not have been distraught it the film had abruptly ended. 

The ridiculousness

By the time the Gleeson brothers (sons of Harris and Pfeiffer’s characters) turned up my friend and I were laughing incredulously and almost wondering when the marching band and jugglers were on their way. 

The gratuitous violence

There’s a bit with a baby that was bad enough but when Jennifer’s character was being beaten I had to look away from the screen. 

The odd supernatural elements 

Personally I’d have found it more effective had their just been a creepy fan come to meet his favourite author but what even happened at the end?? 

Issues re consent and vulgar language 

There’s a bit where the traditional ‘man attacks woman she fights then gives into passion’ trope and the use of c**t etc when a man doesn’t get his own way. 

I’m pregnant!!!

That scene was so odd. I’d have preferred a gradual appreciation of her state of affairs rather than the supernatural we had sex last night and now I know I’m pregnant oddity. 

Themes/Use of metaphor 

There has been discussion about religious allegory which I kind of understand. But what I read into it more was things like the absurdity of celebrity. The lack of agency that women often have over their bodies when pregnant. The disintegration of relationships where couples don’t truly discuss what is happening and tiptoe round things. 

I’m sure the film does have some very clever things to say but to me it just wasn’t enjoyable enough to warrant a rewatch to work them out. Remove lots of the second half of the film, especially once Bardem has written again and it might be something worth exploring. 

Maybe save to watch on the telly box rather than spending £9 to be confused. 

How Do You Like Me Now? Holly Bourne – Book Review 


How Do You Like Me Now? Is Holly’s first adult novel which isn’t actually out until June 2018. Thanks to Netgalley I managed to get hold of an early copy and what follows is my honest review. 

Synopsis 

‘Turning thirty is like playing musical chairs. The music stops, and everyone just marries whoever they happen to be sitting on.’ 

Who the f*ck is Tori Bailey?

There’s no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. A straight-talking, bestselling author, she’s inspired millions of women around the world with her self-help memoir. And she has the perfect relationship to boot.

But Tori Bailey has been living a lie.

Her long-term boyfriend won’t even talk about marriage, but everyone around her is getting engaged and having babies. And when her best friend Dee – her plus one, the only person who understands the madness – falls in love, suddenly Tori’s in terrifying danger of being left behind.

When the world tells you to be one thing and turning thirty brings with it a loud ticking clock, it takes courage to walk your own path.

It’s time for Tori to practice what she’s preached, but the question is: is she brave enough?

The debut adult novel by bestselling author Holly Bourne is a blisteringly funny, honest and moving exploration of love, friendship and navigating the emotional rollercoaster of your thirties.

(From Goodreads)

What I Thought

HDYLMN was not a completely enjoyable read for me (it kept hitting a nerve) but it was a very important one. It has been proposed that often books might come along when we need them. This was Authentic, Raw and Validating. It’s also very contemporary and real. I have definitely had variations of the discussions in this book with friends and family. 

Holly has an ability to tap into the collective consciousness of women and girls. During reading there were times that I felt she had climbed into my mind and splurged my thoughts and feelings on the page. 

The main character Tori is flawed or as her own guru Taylor would say ‘She’s a difficult woman’. Except she’s not. She’s human. She has emotions and those emotions are valid and okay to display. 

Because I was reading an eARC the formatting was not what the final version will look like however this is what I can gleam. The book is split into 9 chapters spanning 9 months (I only realised after I finished how clever this was!). My only issue with that is that each section was quite long and hope on printing there are some natural breaks (white space) included. I may be odd but I don’t like to leave a book mid chapter and I struggled to find clear break off points. 

I loved the use of social media statuses in each section. The plot does explore issues around social media including ‘does seeing other people’s statuses make you depressed’ and ‘how important is it to get likes and validation’.

Tori’s relationship with her boyfriend Tom was so conflicted and Holly really explores the challenges of long term relationships. Personally there are a couple of things he does that I find unforgivable (there is definitely some gaslighting) but I can totally understand why Tori is in the situation she is. 

I like this quote from Taylor which says ‘Anger is neither a positive or a negative emotion. It’s just a signal that a boundary of yours is being crossed.’ 

The challenge for women in particular to be seen as successful is to be doing the next thing. Whether that is marriage, babies, a promotion, a new book. The issue of children is hugely important here and it is personally the sections around this that had me in tears. Both of laughter and sadness. Whether you are a woman who has had, hasn’t had, wants or doesn’t want children there is something in this book you will empathise with. I would urge women to be cautious when talking with peers about children because we often don’t know what is going on behind the scenes with respect to that. Not only is it a perfectly acceptable lifestyle choice to not want children there are also people that desperately do want them but for whatever reason can’t. 

Feminism and female relationships, which are central in Holly’s YA books, are just as important to older women. The struggles of being a ‘good feminist’ is addressed along with a discussion about pubic hair that had me shaking my head in disbelief. 

Tori’s friend Dee is awesome and there were some great scenes in the book that reminded me of nights with my mates. The evolution of female friendships especially when children come along is also examined. I love how the concept of jealously is understood and that is acknowledged that it’s okay to be jealous and happy for someone at the same time. My younger sister is getting married next year and just this weekend, before I finished the book, she asked me how I was feeling about it. She gets that it might be tricky for me and I love her for that. Luckily I am mega happy for her so any slight jealousy I have is only fleeting. 

Tori goes to counselling in the book and oddly enough I have just started going too and I even spoke about this book in my last session?!? See – art imitates life people. That’s why it’s important. 

Mental health issues such as eating issues and self harm are touched on but are not the main focus. There is a sense given that there is no quick fix but just an acceptance that problems exist.  

This book may not speak to every reader in the way it spoke to 39 year old me but it’s almost turned into Tori’s second book ‘For women in their thirties’. Obviously it’s a story not a self help book but there are some good nuggets of advice amongst the humour and drama. Men who are with women in their thirties should totally read this too. It might help them understand some things. 

I most often read fantasy as I like some escapism in my stories. This book is so evocative of real life that I did actually get a book hangover and it made me think about changes I want to make. Holly please keep sharing the truth with a capital T. Publishers keep sharing women’s fiction that isn’t just romance with a happy ending. Holly has taken the authenticity and relevance that I love about reading YA and put it info a book that I won’t be criticised for reading at my age!!! (Not that I give a f**k what people think about what I’m reading – now to work on giving less f**cks about other things too). 

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