Sorry folks, this was another dud for me. I didn’t dislike it, so that was a nice change of pace! I simply expected more… haunting. And not wrongfully so. According to the title, I anticipated a fair amount of haunting. At Hill House. But I can honestly count the “strange phenomena” on one hand, and probably have some fingers leftover. Mostly, the story was sporadically peppered with instances that could only really be deemed odd; lots of supposed movement in the distant bushes and doors being closed when they were formerly left open. When a legitimate haunting occurred, you better believe I was ready to be scared; however, the characters reacted so strangely and mildly that it lessened my ability to take them seriously. At one point, there is a disembodied knocking and giggling happening outside Eleanor & Theodora’s room and their response is to giggle themselves. I would not be giggling!
I will say that the characters are obviously the main focus of the book, and with good reason. They’re freaks. Eleanor, especially, is one of the most bizarre characters I have ever encountered, which I suppose helped make her intense influence from the occurrences, and on the house itself, far more plausible. Clearly, the point of the book is to highlight the human condition and the ability of mystical circumstances to have such a strong effect on an already unstable individual. In that way, the book was scary. Witnessing Eleanor’s mental and emotional decline is far scarier to me than the spirit manifestations that cause it.
Like I said, I didn’t dislike the book. The best I can is that I considered it a bit of a dud. It was slow and the exciting moments were few and far between. Like Hannah said, the ending is pretty crazy. But you have to muck through 150 pages of Eleanor’s freakishness to get to that point. I wouldn’t read it again, but I’m glad to have it under my literary belt.