A few days ago, I shared some links for a book, based solely off my excitement for it, because it was related to a painting that I think is just awesome. And now I feel like I owe everyone an apology. Because, good god, it’s terrible.
See, I love the painting that the story is supposedly based on. Gives me all kinds of shivers, in the good way. Honestly, cursed or not, if I had the chance to actually own it, I totally would. But then again, I have a weird affection when it comes to supposedly haunted objects and weird dollies, so… Yeah. I’m insane. But oh well.
So upon seeing a novel purporting to be the true story of the painting, how I could I resist snatching it up, and spamming it everywhere, saying “Hey, look, this looks awesome!”? Short answer: I couldn’t.
But now I’m almost halfway through the book, and all it’s doing is giving me migraines. It’s not that it’s full of grammatical errors, or that continuity is something thrown in as an afterthought, or that there’s no real rhyme or reason to how and when characters and events are introduced or if it bothers to explain anything about what’s going on, giving the whole thing a surreal dream logic quality. In fact, some of that could even be good, setting the mood, if done well.
It’s just that it’s so bloody awful.
Take a look at this paragraph. Keep in mind it’s just the first marked one that I tripped on as I scrolled back in the Kindle app, and not even the worst by a long shot. Just look at it, and then tell me, what am I supposed to do with it? Besides contemplate leaving it as a suicide note, with a block quote followed by “I couldn’t take any more. The Life Swapper got me.” (Yeah, that’s the murderer’s name according to the police investigation featured in the book.)
He began to shake, and then he threw his head backward and forward meeting Jessica’s terrified eyes with his scream. Jessica began to command her legs, but they did not obey. She rolled onto the floor and began to drag herself toward the door. She looked at him as she scrambled backwards. He was en-raged, he shed tears of blood. Jessica could not escape. The boy leaned over Jessica, he opened his mouth unnaturally wide, the inhuman sounds he expelled violated the very air. He grabbed Jessica’s wrists, his sunken face inches from hers. He pulled her into him, and he tried to devour her, but her orthodontic head piece was in the way, keeping him inches from her face. With all of the strength Jessica could find, she programmed her leg, painstakingly executing each command, she placed her knee under her chest and pushed with her final bit of energy against that demonic body. Jessica felt hands behind her, pulling her up.
I have no idea what the hell I just read. From meeting eyes with a scream, being “en-raged,” pulling her into him and attempting to devour her but being stopped by headgear, programming her leg… Ugh.
Keep in mind that, so far as I can tell, we’re supposed to assume Jessica is a 15-17 year old girl – at least, I think so, since we receive no description and little context – and the “demonic body” is the little boy in the painting, which to me implies at least a little height and weight difference. With no mention of supernatural strength, I don’t even know how this works. It’s like thinking about the folks who get killed in Child’s Play. Sure, if he gets the drop on you, Chucky might win, but when he bullrushes you and hugs your torso, how exactly are you not kicking his ass?
I’ve now decided that, unless the boy in the painting gets a name later, I’m calling him “Chucky” from here on out. Given that there is a character who features in an entire chapter going by the name of “Patricia’s Mom” (yes, capitalized, and sometimes told from her own perspective, so apparently that is her name), I’m really not counting much on him being anything but Chucky. Unless he gets titled Painting Boy or something.
I think I’m going to go cry in the corner, now. Try to distance the object of my perverse affections from this pile of words. Though that probably involves actually finishing the book, since to banish it I can’t be left with any questions. Again, if anyone snatched it due to my excitement for it, I offer my apologies and one pint of blood.