A head full of ghost by Paul Tremblay

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The Barrett family is a typical middle class American family: father, mother and two daughters, 8 years old Meredith and 14 years old Marjorie. Like every other family, also the Barrett’s have some issues, the father lost his job and the major daughter shows symptoms of a mental illness, for this reason she is seeing a doctor.

The situation and the symptoms get worse, the medications seems not to have relevant effects: John Barrett, in the middle of a mystical-religious phase, is convinced that his daughter is possessed by a demon. To help her he persuade his family to being part of a television production, “Possessed”, that to be filmed needs the family to be followed by a television troupe in the house.

These things I’m telling you do not happen in the present time, but are told as a memory by Merry who, fifteen years after the events, retrace the events for Rachel, a non-fiction writer who has the job to write a book about the Barrett family.

So we have second-hand events, averaged by the passed time and by the fact that Merry was a child when she lived through them. We have the Possessed tv series analysed by a horror blogger, Karen. We have religious fanaticism (Marjorie is possessed or simply very ill?) and the cruel television reality (how much is true – and false – in the troupe shootings?).

The very good part of the novel are the first two sections of the book, where the elements are perfectly balanced, the story is fast paced and thrilling and horrific. Another good point id the fact that at the end we don’t have certain answers, but lots food for thoughts.

Reflections concerning the plot – we have so many unreliable sources that everything could be true  – and concerning the other two main themes, the religious fanaticism and television cruelty, that are catalyst of other events.

I talked about the book with other people, and it emerged that the third part is the more weak, maybe also because of the homage reference (that I did not catch immediately) to Shirley Jackson that can appear as a way to simplify the ending. I forgive the weakness of the last section because the other two-thirds are a wonderful reading experience.


A head full of ghost by Paul Tremblay ★★★★★

*I read this book in english

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[ARC] A calculated life by Anne Charnock

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Jayna lives a calculated life: she is not an organic (a standard human being), but she is a genetic engineering construct with some enhanced capabilities, such logic, analysis, in order to be extremely efficient on work without being burdened by the common human emotions.
The world she lives in it is full of being like her, some works are given to them, so much more able than human beings. Humans can access manager roles or more humble works and to live in the suburbs.

The ones like Jayna live together in central structures where their Constructor may monitor them, sometimes some present anomalous behaviours that force the Constructor (a corporation a few is known about) to take them back and to reallocate them in another work with their personality overwrite.
Jayna herself is aware of her changing in character: she is more and more interested in her coworker life, she has developed some hobbies and she begins feeling attracted to a colleague of her.

The novel follows Jayna perspective, and this allows to follow her changing in behaviour from being mostly analytical to developing emotions.

The worldbuild is described by Jayna eyes, so the reader becomes aware of the true society structure only once Jayna visits different places. The novel is nice and interesting, more focused on the psychological component and on Jayna’s increase of self awareness.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* A calculated life by Anne Charnock ★★★☆☆½

*I read this book in English

The silver linings playbook by Matthew Quick

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“The silver linings” means to be optimists about life, and this is what Pat tries to do once out from the mental health institute where he lived for a certain time.
His purpose is to be again suited for his wife Nikki, for this reason he begins reading, running and lifting, exercises useful also to contain rage episodes.
He comes back to his family, to his mother and to his not so interested father and also to his brother and friends. In Pat’s life will enter also Tiffany, a woman who suffered the loss of her husband.
The novel is less predictable than the movie and its focused on Pat’s reflection more than his love story. It deals better the protagonist situation, his insecurity in coming back in an almost unknown world, his emotions towards friends and family who are unable to understand fully his situation.
The movie is nice, the novel is better.

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* The silver linings playbook by Matthew Quick – ★★★★☆

*I read this book in English

The round house by Lousie Eldrich

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This book is set in 1988, but the tangle of laws that hinder prosecution of rape cases on many reservations still exists. “Maze of Injustice,” a 2009 report by Amnesty International, included the following statistics: 1 in 3 Native women will be raped in her lifetime (and that figure is certainly higher as Native women often do not report rape); 86 percent of rapes and sexual assaults upon Native women are perpetrated by non-Native men; few are prosecuted.

The novel “The round house“, set in Nord Dakota and near a native americans reservation, begins talking about a tragic theme: the rape of native women.

The main character’s mother undergoes a sexual assault, the shock of the experience makes hard the reconstruction and the woman will close herself up trying to overcome the tragic memory.

Her husband, a judge, and her son Joe will try to find out the culprit in order to have justice.

The theme is interesting as the setting within a less known reality – the native americans one – the novel describes a different way of living and various characters.

The thing I did not like is the writing style: everything is filtered by Joe’s POV – dialogues included – and the reading experience was somewhat burdened by this. Another aspect I did not find completely believable is the way of acting of the main character, some actions were quite extreme considering his age, but maybe this is not due to my lack of knowledge about the context.

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* The round house by Louise Eldrich ★★☆☆☆

*I read this book in English