Book Review: The Dead House
ashley | I knew I had to read The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich the minute I saw the cover. After reading a few positive reviews, I tracked this book down through Netgalley and indulged. This book was beautifully, wonderfully weird and creepy and it was far more captivating than I could have ever imagined.
The idea of using diary entries and letters to tell a story has been done before, but The Dead House is told exclusively through archived interviews, police reports, video transcripts and journal entries from therapy exercises in a mental institution. It sounds like a lot of mixed content, but it worked really well and it created really vivid images in my head as I read through it. I think this could easily be adapted into a really cool movie, there’s a ton of interesting elements used through it. This was a highly unique, although sort of unreliable, narrative and I LOVED it.
The whole concept of Carly and Kaitlyn fascinated me as well and also kept me guessing through the entire book. Everything was so murky, both believable and suspicious. The other characters were trust worthy and foolish. There were so many unknowns, so many different pieces to this story that conflicted and teetered and could really go in many directions and I couldn’t quite figure out where things were heading. It kept me on my toes, it kept me interested and it kept me on edge.
The Dead House, specifically, was awesome. I loved what it stood for, I loved what it meant for the characters, and I especially loved Kurtagich’s descriptions of the house and everything that was happening in it. It was terrifying; that part of the book was so vivid, it really got to me.
The ending is not neat or pretty. It’s one of those that are kind of left up to reader interpretation, depending on what you sort of clung to through the story itself. It also all came together pretty quickly, reveal after reveal after reveal, though it’s still kind of unclear exactly what was revealed, depending on who is being interviewed in the last few pages. I don’t want to give the two sides of it away, but I really loved the divide and I was really torn about what side I fell onto.
I’m still torn about it. And what I think about the ending. I don’t know if I liked it ending this way? I think I thought I would feel something sharper cut into me when I reached that last page, but nonetheless, this was definitely a mind trip. One of those books that makes me want to share with everyone so that I have people to talk to about it. It’s also the kind of book that makes me wish I had come up with the idea first. I am instantly a Kurtagich fan. Give me more!
September 15, 2015