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‘The Little Stranger,’ by Sarah Waters

February 3, 2010

Do you ever read a book and just feel, “Meh” about it? That’s exactly how I feel about “The Little Stranger.”

It’s set in 1940s England and pivots around Hundreds Hall, a beautiful, old mansion that has fallen into disgrace with the family who lives there. The family tries to revive itself and the house, and things start getting weird.

Perhaps I’m too direct, dramatic and like a bumblebee in a bottle for a book like this. Many of the reviews I’ve read tout the book’s subtle, thought-provoking depth.

Me? I think it was a tad on the boring side.

When I read buzzwords like “psychological thriller,” “gothic mystery” and “ghost story,” I expect a fair amount of pizazz.

I felt no pizazz when reading this.

Beyond the boring, vanilla taste, I didn’t care much for the main character. He is as logical as they come – he’s a doctor, so this trait is expected, to some extent – but his emotions never once come close to edging out logic in his world.

It was infuriating.

I spent much of my time with this book skimming through long paragraphs, waiting for something mysterious and thrilling to happen, but it never did.

If you like to be scared in subtle, thoughtful ways, pick up this book. If you want to read something that’s going to send chills down your spine and make you sleep with the lights on, skip it.

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