Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Giving Up the Ghost by Eric Nuzum

I received this book in exchange for an honest review through Netgalley.

About the book: Giving Up the Ghost: A Story about Friendship, 80s Rock, A Lost Scrap of Paper and what it means to be Haunted is written by Eric Nuzum, published by Random House Publishing Group on 7th August 2012. 

Summary 
(partly from here): Eric Nuzum is afraid of the supernatural, and for good reason: As a young boy, he believed he was being haunted by the ghost of a little blonde girl in a blue dress, first in his dreams and slowly in his real life. It ended with Eric in a mental ward. His friendship with a girl named Laura was the only thing that kept him "normal". She made him alive again - only to become a ghost herself in a tragic twist of fate. Years later, Eric is still scared of 'ghosts'. In order to finally face his fear, he decides to visit America’s most haunted places. But deep down he knows it’s only when he digs up the ghosts of his past, especially Laura, that he’ll find the peace he’s looking for.

My rating: 2/5

My thoughts: The book description seemed so interesting. The book was supposed to be "hilarious" and "moving", as described, but what I got, instead, was moderately amusing and overly emotional. I loved the premise of the book, the idea of such a memoir, but the execution could have been way better.

(What I liked) Look at that cover: it's fabulous, isn't it? The mysterious girl, the silhouette of that guy, the creepy shade of blue and even that font made me immediately want to grab the book and read it. And the book started off great. I was completely engrossed for about the first fifty pages. I could completely relate to the funny, quirky narration along with the descriptions of the narrator's inexplicable, overwhelming fears and obsessions. I loved that strange recurring dream, the constant feeling of being haunted, the eerie way in which it is described. I also liked the parts in the present, when the writer is hunting down ghosts in the supposedly most haunted places in America. It's interesting and well written. The premise of the book was thoroughly fascinating.

(What I didn't like) What I didn't quite appreciate was the haphazard execution of the idea. I didn't like the book, because I just found it boring. Let me elaborate: the book sounds too much like a rant, at times. I though it was a bit overdone. The book was an obviously hard and quite ineffective attempt to seem profound. It was dull in places and I felt like skipping ahead (which is something I rarely feel.) Having lost a lot of people myself, I could relate to the writer, but I still can't make out the point of the book. The worst thing, for me, was halfway through the book, I realized I was reading further only because I had to write this review. I would have loved the book, even if it had just been the writer's journey to all the haunted places all over America, trying to figure out if any of them were actually haunted. What could have been a much more charming read, seemed only okay to me.

That being said, I can think of people who might actually like it. I would recommend the book to people who don't put much thought into reading, who are looking for a light, breezy read. It is also a good horror book for people who want to avoid the violence in horror fiction, but do like that eerie feeling it gives you.

2 comments:

Bookworm Belle said...

Ah, what a shame. As an avid reader, nothing is more tortuous than slogging through a book that disappoints. The premise sounded great, though I think I would have read it if it were, like you said, the writer's journey through American haunts.

Priya -Tabula Rasa said...

You still could read it just for that!
I know what you mean. I also hate writing reviews for books I didn't really like; seems pointless..

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