Paul Tremblay‘s book A Head Full of Ghosts tells the haunting story of the Barrett family while one of its members showing signs of acute schizophrenia. Merry is relaying to a best-selling author what her life was like when she was eight and her fourteen-year-old sister Marjorie started hearing voices and acting in frightening ways in response to these voices. In an attempt to cure his daughter of her illness (or of her demonic visitor, depending on what is really causing her to act the way she is), the girl’s father recruits the help of his priest who recommends an exorcism. Due to their financial situation which is becoming more desperate, he parents allow a production company to film the family’s day-to-day life leading up to the exorcism and to film the exorcism itself as part of a reality TV show called The Possession. Merry recounts one horrific event after another for the author writing her story and must come to terms with what really happened to the family during and after their stint on the reality TV show.
While the plot is a little slow in spots, there were some delightfully creepy things that happen throughout the book which kept me reading. The ending was not at all what I expected, but in a good way. Paul’s characters are very natural and lifelike, easy to picture in mind, like a movie (speaking of which, this would make a great movie).
My only complaint is I did not like the chapters that were told from a blogger’s point of view. But that’s just because I typically wouldn’t read blogs written in the style with which the character used. While the character’s writing style was bothersome it did make sense why the chapters were in the book once you got to the ending.
Overall, the book was well-written and I plan to read more from Paul Tremblay.