Top positive review
9 of 10 people found this helpful
on March 18, 2007
I was fortunate enough to read this book before I knew that Joe Hill was actually Stephen King's son. That was to my advantage, as I went into the book with no expectations. Having said that, had I known who Joe Hill was, and had I built up my expectations - they would have been surpassed. I absolutely loved this book. I thought I recognized the style - but to be honest it seemed more like Peter Straub than Stephen King. What a great surprise to find out the connection.
I made the unwise decision to start reading as I went to bed, and boy, that was a mistake. I was scared to death by the time the ghost made himself at home at Joe's house. I have a rocking chair in my bedroom in the corner and I had to actually move it out of the room and into the living room! Then, I couldn't sleep... I had to continue read the book until I could put the characters in a "safe place". I finished the book as the sun was coming up.
Heart Shaped Box has a great basis for good ghost story: Joe Hill buys a ghost off of an ebay type website. After the "ghost" arrives in the heart shaped box, Joe encounters the ghost of an old man who is obviously set on terrorizing Joe. It's during this period of time that you are introduced to Joe's Goth girlfriend, Georgia. We learn that Joe is an arrogant, self-centered jerk. Georgia encounters the ghost, Joe learns that the ghost is a man named Craddock, and he is the stepfather of one of Joe's old girlfriend, Florida. Florida seemingly committed suicide and Craddock is blaming Joe.
I enjoyed the book very much up to this point, and was truly freaked out by the ghost. However, after Georgia and Joe take off to meet Florida's sister and try to get rid of Craddock, I felt the book got trurly amazing. I fell in love with these characters. The transformation that Georgia/Anna and Joe made while traveling south was mind-blowing. I never thought the book would take such an unbelievable plot turn. It's a very rare book that I can refer to as a true "page turner", Heart Shaped Box most assuredly falls into that category. I have since recommended this book to every one that I know (who can stomach being scared!) and have bought it for both of my sisters.
When Heart Shaped Box comes out as a film, I will be first in line and I will buy any and every book Joe Hill writes.