10 September 2012

The Little Stranger - Part the First

This read-a-long is brought to you by The Estella Society, which is amazing and about which I am very excited. 

I don't read scary stories because I hate being scared. Haaaate it. This irritates the crap out of my brothers, but it's probably their fault since they liked nothing better when we were young than to jump out at me and make me scream like the little girl I was. Horror movies are Right Out; I had to be convinced by at least 3 other people - also avoiders of scary - that Cabin in the Woods (2011) was something I'd like, and even then I took a boy I could clutch in times of distress (I did like it, by the way, despite the boy turning out to be sub-par. You probably would, too).

You know how sometimes you have to revisit things to see if you still hate them? Like Brussels sprouts or fish or chardonnay? This read-a-long is me figuring out whether I still hate scary stories.

And guess what? I STILL DO.

I hate the creeping fear, I hate the gnawing dread, I hate that characters haven't read the blurb on the back of the book so they don't know they're living in a scary story so they do things like go down into the basement or up into the attic or insist on living in a mouldering old wreck of a CLEARLY HAUNTED HOUSE.

So there's this family living in a Clearly Haunted House, and they're Barely Hanging On because it's post-WWII Britain and everyone's still on rationing and the gentry are all a-wail because their parks are being broken up and they have to sell their five zillion horses, boo hoo. And in comes the Good Doctor character, our narrator, who has no premonitions, no precognitions, no nothing! As a good doctor should, but as a Good Scary-Story Narrator should most definitely not. He's a bit of a jerk, really, and I don't much like him. So there.

And shit starts happening and of course the servant figures it out first because servants are the Salt of the Earth and all. But does anyone listen to poor little Betty? NO THEY DO NOT. So I'm laying in bed reading this and getting alternately terrified of finding little black marks on my walls and annoyed with everyone in the book for being so veddy, veddy stiff-upper-lip English and practical.

And also sugar and petrol rationing. 

Sarah Waters, I miss your lesbian sexytimes, but I will finish this because I have to know what (if anything) will happen so I can sleep at night and also I have the palette-cleansing Tipping the Velvet in my TBR pile. It turns out that when you actually go into the stacks at the library instead of just from the door to the hold shelf to the checkout machine, there are other books for you to read!

Technology, you make me lazy.