I finished reading My Best Friends Exorcism last week, and honestly, I was a little let down…
Spoiler free review:
This book is full of amazing descriptive accounts of 80’s referenced gore, but there were bits of abandoned plot that I was genuinely interested in following up with, and the end… well… it ended, but I was left so unsatisfied that I’m not sure this did anything good for my reading rut!
All of that being said, I’m glad I read this book, because I certainly needed an 80’s exorcism in my life cram packed with oozing detail, aesthetically pleasing all around, but if plot is a big deal for you, then don’t read this book with high hopes of a decent story line. STILL WORTH THE READ!!
For a more in depth opinion of this book, with spoilers, please continue reading below:
Here is a quick summary of the events in this book so that they may be referenced easily. Four friends drop acid in the swampy woods behind one of their houses. They decide to go skinny dipping, and Gretchen runs ahead, the first to strip her cloths and jump in. This event became dangerous and Gretchen became separated from the others, for the entire night, naked and alone in the woods. Abby found her, at dawn, near an abandoned shack, spray painted with foul and vulgar, evil words, broken beer bottles every where. After this, Gretchen begins to act oddly out of character for herself.
I was excited to find at the beginning of this book that there seemed to be a reason for what appeared to be the possession of Gretchen. Gretchen’s friend, Abby, is on a quest all her own, to discover who has physically taken advantage of her friend, because that is the only rational explanation for her odd behavior. She must be displaying signs of stress due to trauma.
It was a frustratingly well written perspective, as you wouldn’t expect a high school age girl to immediately suspect that her friend has stopped her personal hygiene regimen because she has a demon in her. However, Gretchen brings up a girl who went missing, and was buried somewhere near the abandon shack in the woods where she became possessed. The town ghost story about this girl says she was sacrificed by a satanic cult, and Gretchen believes that finding her for a proper burial is exactly the answer to ending her suffering, and she is suffering. If she sleeps she is touched by hands, if she eats she is sick, she doesn’t bathe, or brush her teeth, and she begins acting out violently against herself and others. Gretchen mentions more than once about finding this grave, and there were a few moments when I suspected the schools pastor of possibly either evil, a cult leader, secretly worshiping the devil, or stealing girls away in the night to become possessed, etc. It made some sense as to why, as a man of faith, he adamantly disregarded Abby’s pleas to help Gretchen when she finally understood that it wasn’t sexual assault plaguing her friend.
We end up being taken on a roller coaster of Gretchen destroying her friends lives, and Abby attempting to exorcise the demon out of Gretchen all on her own. All of this in gory, oozing, ripping, gasping, burning, 80’s inspired detail. Yet never once do we return to any substantial plot, or reason as to why or how this happened. It just did, somehow, and at the end, there is a detailed account of both girls growing and aging, with jobs and children, marriage and houses, dying old and grey, and it was so disappointing.
I wanted, at the very least, some yellow eyed priest to peak around a corner and smirk at Gretchen while the girls were out to the movies, and for Gretchen to wink back. At least in that case, there would be hope that more would unfold. Or at the very least, anything at all.
How many more times can I rephrase at the very least? I am seriously wanting anything, spread as thin as possible. What about the rumor of the girl who was sacrificed? What about finding her body? Why was that abandoned shack in the forest as a place where someone could become possessed? Was there a secret cult in the town, a secret anything, anything at all? I don’t know, and that is what was so frustrating about this story. However, sometimes, snacking on junk food is nice when your bored and have time to kill, and that’s how this felt. A junk food book for those with a craving for all of the 80’s references in a horror story.