Tuesday, November 2

Book Review: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Title: House of Leaves
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Fantasy, Thriller
Format: Paperback
Pages: 709 
Published: March 7th 2000
Where I Got It: Borrowed from friend

The story remains unchanged, focusing on 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.

A friend of mine really wanted me to read this weird book he found thanks to a YouTuber he likes. The boy never reads (except comics) so when he said he read this and liked it, I knew I had to check it out too.

How do I even sum this up? Okay, I'll try. 

We follow a troubled guy named Johnny who finds this book that was in an apartment of a deceased blind man name Zampano. The book has notations and notes and so forth about this weird documentary called 'The Navidson Records' which was created by Pultizer Prize-winner Will Navidson. This documentary follows Will and his family when they move into a house on Ash Tree Lane. They soon discovery something is very, very wrong. There is a darkness that seems to follow them. The house is getting bigger on the inside. More corridors...more hallways....more stairs. It's all very scary. This ever-growing abyss and an unholy growl seem to haunt them and consume everything. 

By darnit - I will try to not give away any spoilers!!!

I have been sitting on this review since Halloween when I finished the book. I have been mauling this over. I read some reviews. I watched some YouTube reviews. I even discussed a little bit with my friend who recommended it. This is either a love it or hate it book.

My friend and many reviewers encouraged reading this very slowly...which I did. I took SO many notes. The book is littered with sticky notes. I took this journey VERY serious. Hahahaha. 

So what did I think? 

This was creepy. The house was creepy. I tried not to read this before bed since many people advised against that especially when things started happening. I enjoyed this very much. I enjoyed how weirdly formatted this was. I enjoyed watching the characters try to survive. I enjoyed watching the characters unfold. I enjoyed the mystery and the thrill. I loved writing sticky notes and jumping around looking for clues. It was very, very stimulating. *cough* there as some major paper waste though....there are some pages that would have a word or two....it was done to showcase stuff/situations.....but oooo the poor trees *cough*. 

I loved how it ended. It really leaves it up to the readers to interpret and think about. It makes you think and feel. 

My theory?? I'll keep this as spoiler-free as possible. 

After thinking for a couple of days (I finished this dang thing on Halloween) and looking over some of my notes and even re-reading some bits. I have concluded....that Johnny is a liar. This was well established at the beginning. I caught the boy in SO many lies. Even weird things that are weird that do not need lies. But when I say Johnny is telling a big lie, he is being super honest....okay. Confusing, yes, let me explain. 

I truly think that Johnny is Will's son. Johnny didn't "happen across this" in the blind man's apartment. Johnny is telling the story of why he is so messed up. That House ruined him and his family. Mom went nuts. Dad and uncle gone. Sister....who knows. This is his story. However, he is pretending it was not him who went through this. He is unreliable. He has shown this multiple times. He even calls himself out at one point. He flat out created fake journals entries. 

I think The Navidson Records is his story. 

What will drive readers mad is that anyone could be right. That is the true mystery....what...who....why? It is left to you to interpret. Everyone will take something different from this. Much like how the House haunts the people in the story, it will haunt you.

My theory about the House....is not concrete yet and I'm not sure how I fully feel. I will say, though, that I think the house manifests people's fears. It feeds on the guilt...the shame....the bad intentions....it is a Hell of a sorts. Maybe like a purgatory? You can find your way to the light, but it is a maze.  

This is a great book for discussion 100%.

I can ramble about this book for an eon. This is for sure a book that is different. You need the paperback version. Ebook won't cut it. Audio....is there a thing? The formatting is weird. There are a lot of moving parts. You'll find yourself flipping to different pages (there are little hints in the text). Take notes like me. This is about the journey...not a rush to finish. 

There are things I was meh about....yes. Like the waste of paper. I do wish there had been more of a conclusion...but you know me. I have a love-hate with open-ends. It drives me literally mad. Overall, I am so glad I borrowed this and read it. It was certainly different and makes me want to read more. I'll end up giving this 4 stars. 


Sophia Rose said...

Well, this sounds intriguing. I'll have to keep it in mind for next year's spooky reads.

Blodeuedd said...

Such a nice photo! You have the skill, I just use a cat

Carole Rae said...

Sophia, it's a good spooky read

B, awwww thanks! I love your pics more though!