House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

 

[Click the cover below to check it out! If you don’t see a book cover below it’s probably ad-blocker settings]



[Little can you tell by this simple cover that inside waits a potential mindfuck]

 

“A young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.”

[Why is it that the chosen synopsis of a book is nowhere near what the book is actually about? I understand why, but ugh. Also, I’d look into the history of how this book came around. Just click on the amazon link.]

 


 

I want to start off that despite any negative comments I have to say about House of Leaves, this book is definitely one of the most beautifully written books I have ever had the chance to read. There were some paragraphs, sentences, worded so beautifully that I had to stop for a moment and take in what I had just read.

I was initially recommended this book by a close friend, but eventually by a ton of other people who realized I was reading it, after explaining I was just not impressed by it/not enjoying it enough to continue. With several pressures to keep going [also by a friend of mine who has the same general reading preference as me that also wanted to stop reading at a particular area.] Another recommendation it came from was when I was watching Marble Hornets with a group of people [throwback – but if if you aren’t familiar, it’s apart of the Slenderman mythos, and here’s the link: Marble Hornets ] it reminded said friend of the book.

That’s when I was finally like ‘OKAY I’LL KEEP READING IT, GOSH’ and forced myself through the parts that I found to be too slow and boring.

Without giving too much away, the story is really divided into two main parts. The experiences and perspective of a character named Johnny, in which he finds an in depth collection of all sorts of records, notes, and madman scribblings of a report that has no real set evidence it even really exists. In that record, lies the story/documentation of a family dealing with a horrible, paranormal occurrence in their house that is actually the house itself… kinda.

Ultimately, I liked the book/story. The parts about the house and exploring the deepest depths of the darkness it contained…? Kinda boring. I hated reading through those parts because I wasn’t really thrilled/unsettled/creeped out at all, and mentally groaned with how long it took some of those parts of the story.

A sidenote of this, is that this book is pretty cool in the sense that it was so many weird parts. I say that in the sense that there are backwards pages, paragraphs upside down, texts scrawling all over the places with crossed out and blacked out parts[you can image search the inside of the book to get some glimpses if you wanted to spoil it for yourself] , all to give that feel of uneasiness or just sort of giving you an idea of how insane the situation is. Maybe you’re reading exactly how the insane people who set it up wrote it, maybe the book itself is part of the blackness of the house. That was fun and all for me, but… eh. I enjoyed it sometimes, hated it in others. It was a pain in the ass having to backtrack a lot in the book and read it in different ways [it may have been harder for me because I was mostly reading this book on public transport and usually squished against other people].

Parts I absolutely loved, were all the ones with Johnny, who I’d say is the main character [definitely one of THE main characters if argued with on that]. Not just the parts about his social life outside of the insanity going on in his apartment [though all of the parts about his ‘lovelife’ were quite amusing as well – he sure does get a lot of action in this book] but just how he, his mind, and his body slowly spiral into madness and decay. Despite his flaws, I found him to be an extremely likable character, and a realistic rendition of how a normal person can be snagged out of the norm so easily.

It almost had a Silent Hill feel to it, as his flaws and past were preyed upon in some instances. There are parts where you get to know some of the strained past between he and his mother, which reminded me a lot of my own relationship with my mother, and that made me like him even more.

I think that my review may be a little harsh, I think mostly because it takes so much to actually unsettle me. [I’ve severely desensitized myself over the years] Some parts did, but rarely. And if it wasn’t that literally every single person who suggested it didn’t flail their arms with a ‘OMG IT’S GONNA SPOOP YA’ reaction maybe I’d like it more. I guess really the issue is that I was ramped up too high on the book. But as mentioned, despite that I’m being pretty harsh on it, it’s beautifully written.

I think for the vast majority of people though [outside of those who have told me it creeped them out], it would be incredibly creepy and unsettling. It’s creative, and not like anything I’ve really read before. I definitely recommend it.

 


 

I give House of Leaves  4/5 Pure Voids of Darkness 

Rating:

“What self-respecting woman is afraid of the dark? Women are everything that’s internal and hidden. Women are Darkness.”

^[This doesn’t really have much todo with the story, but I think it’s my favorite in the book]

 

 

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