The Haunting of Hill House

Happy Halloween, Ghoul Friends! It’s time to get spooky and ooky here at Booky Nooky! There is no better way to celebrate this horror of a holiday than reviewing the mother of all haunted house stories: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson!! OoOoOo (creepy ghost ooo). Let me be honest: I hate being scared. BUT, and it’s a big but, I love horror movies. Don’t worry, I don’t get it either! There is something that attracts me to horror but also repels me. That said, I have very little experience with literary horror so I didn’t know if reading this book would be a trick or a treat for me!

In quick summary: Dr. Montague has arranged for 3 strangers to join him in documenting the paranormal activity at Hill House, a mansion that has a long history of mysterious deaths and unexplainable events. There is impressionable Eleanor; lighthearted Theodora; and the Heir to Hill House Luke. Throughout the group’s stay they experience an escalation of terror that doesn’t jump out and slap you in the face but slowly boils over until your heart is racing and your spine is tingling! This is one of those stories that a plot summary does not do it justice, you really must read it for yourself!

Jackson is truly a master of the written word. She uses beautiful prose to describe the events of the book and expertly expresses the internal thoughts and minds of the characters, including the mind of Hill House. The house becomes a main character; a living, breathing, fully formed figure. What I liked most is it wasn’t necessarily horror, it was more of a thriller. As the story progresses reality begins to bend and eventually break. The events, characters, and conversations become disorienting; you don’t know what to believe or who to trust. Jackson proves that the unseen and the unknown are often the scariest. This book is a master class in how to perfectly and succinctly create a psychological thriller.

I also have to touch on the new Netflix miniseries. The show has hints of the source material, but takes great liberties with the plot and characters. Usually I despise when movies are not true to the book, but I actually loved the differences. There are enough similarities for those who have read the book but more than enough differences to make it a totally new experience. The cinematography is brilliant on the show, seamlessly weaving the present with the past. Plus, the show is scary as HELL!! It is a definite must watch!

Though y’all might already be sick of sweets this Halloween, who can deny themselves of a literary treat? I highly recommend you pick up The Haunting of Hill House. It’s so obvious that bits and pieces of this book have been extracted and Frankenstein-ed together to make every other haunted house story since the original publication in 1959. And let me tell you, the original is the best! This book will mess with your head and leave you longing for another visit to Hill House!

**This book was provided by Penguin Books for an honest review

  • Title: The Haunting of Hill House
  • Author: Shirley Jackson
  • Published: 1959 (Penguin Books)
  • Genre: Horror
  • Booky Nooky Rating: * * * *

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