There couldn’t be a more perfect example of how polarizing a book can be. When I finished reading this the first time around, I couldn’t decide whether it had been a waste of time or completely brilliant. There aren’t many books that come to mind that can produce that effect.
See, the issue is you cannot fully comprehend the story being delivered unless you’ve read it twice. Obviously, despite the book’s short length, that’s not a foreseeable circumstance for most readers. For that, I have to commend the author. He must’ve known while crafting this novel, or perhaps was forewarned, that many readers would leave with their first impression. Somehow, he still decided to travel down the path of less complimentary opinions, and certainly more discord, so kudos to him for going against the current.
In the spirit of that, I’ll start with my first impression. For one, this novel was creepy. Now, I’m someone who complains a lot about horror novels not being able to scare me, and how much I’d love for something to finally be able to freak me out. I’m not going to lie it’s a bit of a flex sometimes. However, that all changed when I was barely a fourth of the way through this book and already wanted to cry. Turns out being scared is actually not that fun.
If you’re looking to get frightened I’d definitely recommend the audiobook. That voice for the creepy caller? Straight up chills.
The thing too about this novel is that it’s not creepy in a stereotypical sense. There are so many moments when goosebumps creep up your skin, or you feel as if you’re being watched, yet you can’t pinpoint what exactly is disturbing.
That being said, if you’re a type A personality like me, meaning a severe hatred for a sudden change of plans, you will have a hard time stomaching the end. It’s the sort of story that delivers a premise, drives you down that road for 95% of the book (pardon the pun), and then decides to tell you it was a different story all along. However, once shock reels back in, and consideration, I mean true consideration, for the premise and what it all really meant comes into play, then I think you’ll be able to admire the craftsmanship, or at the very least the beauty of the idea.
As for my final impression of the story, once I read it a second time, I found that I understood things more clearly but not necessarily liked it more. There isn’t much I can delve into without spoiling anything, but I will say though that the twist at the end was one I did guess at the beginning of my first read. However, I quickly dismissed it when I felt there’d be too many plot holes, so when it ended up being true I worried that my second read would involve a lot of loose ends. Luckily, that wasn’t the case, and I was able to make sense of the storyline even with the new information.
Ultimately, I’ve come to the realization that I’m able to appreciate what a brilliant idea this was, and how much effort must’ve been put into it, but at the end of the day it’s not the story I wanted. I think there’s merit to both versions; one for entertainment value; and the other for depth and profoundness. The issue was I was so grossly invested in finally being creeped out by a story that I didn’t care much for the moral of it all, and would’ve rather kept things surface-level if only for my entertainment.