Heart-Shaped Box

In Book Reviews on September 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Heart-Shaped Box

Gollancz 2007

He put the box on the shelf, in the back of his closet, and decided to stop thinking about it.

Nutshell blurb: Jude is an aging rocker with a collection of morbid items. He bought a dead man’s suit online for a laugh only to find out that the consequences weren’t that funny.

Jeepers. This was a really good read. It was difficult to put it down when I needed to. This was one of those books that tempted me to stay on the train past my stop during my morning commute. (I was a good girl, though, and didn’t let it make me late for work. *sigh* It’s hard being responsible.)

I didn’t find the main character likeable AT ALL. However, I was intensely sympathetic to his plight and didn’t want bad things to happen to him or the people around him. That’s quite a delicate balance to achieve as a writer and I was seriously impressed by Mr. Hill’s mad writing skillz. There were a few times when I thought that I had figured things out only to have some new development that would throw me for a loop. Seriously, people. Skills.

There were a few things that didn’t make sense to me or weren’t explained thoroughly, such as the significance of the box the suit came in being heart-shaped. Perhaps I missed something, but I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t explained. I also didn’t understand how the ghost came to be as he was. I’ll leave it at that so that I don’t spoil it for you, but it wasn’t clear to me.

These things didn’t really matter in the scheme of the story, though. It was well written, fantastically creepy and full of suspense. I usually have two books on the go; one for home and one for my commute and this was my commute book. I was so transfixed that I read it at home as well in my travels and it was time well spent. I’m looking forward to reading more of his work in the future.

  1. Normally, I don’t read creepy books, but this one does sound intriguing. It’s definitely hard for writers to write an unlikeable character that you don’t want to fall off a cliff! Lol.

    • I know! Usually when I dislike a character I want them to die off in the worst possible way and I end up rolling my eyes through the whole story. Not so with this one. It was really good.

      Although, now it’s night time and I’m a little bit scared to go to sleep.

      • Oh no!! The last book that made me stay up all night (reading, and then I was too scared to sleep afterward) was The Lovely Bones.

      • I haven’t read that one. I saw the film and thought that it wasn’t very good, so it kind of put me off the book. (Which is probably better, so that’s silly.) I could see how it might keep one from sleeping though. If I’m honest, I like being deliciously scared from a book. (Not in real life though.)

      • Lol! I’m a scaredy cat all the time. The Lovely Bones book was vastly better than the movie. It didn’t seem to translate to film because it was a lot of her reflecting on what happened.

      • Ah, that makes sense. Perhaps I shall give it a try one day.

  2. Heart-shaped box, it’s very unlikely, but does it have any possible connection to Edgar Allen Poe?

    • Hmmm, that’s an interesting thought, but I’m not really sure. His was The Tell-Tale Heart and although I read that story a long time ago, it didn’t seem to have any similarities to this book.

      I really hate it when something like this happens because I always think that it’s just me reading too fast and missing it rather than the author leaving it out.

      I’ve actually just googled it now and read that Nirvana has a song called Heart-Shaped Box, which makes it very relevant as the protagonist was a rock star and there were references to Kurt Cobain as well as many other singers/bands. Probably should have done that before I wrote my post…

  3. Hi Buffy, I am glad you liked this book as it is one of my favourites.

    I think the significance of the box is because there is a Nivarna song of the same name (heart shaped box). There is also more information about how the ghost came to be in NOS4R2 another Joe Hill book
    Great review by the way

    • Yeah I ended up googling it after I wrote the post. haha! I’ll definitely have to check out more of his work. Thanks for reading!

      • Can I recommend reading his comics as well?

        I am currently reading a saga called Thumbprint and it is rather good.

        I really enjoyed his one called “The Cape” it is rather graphic however the whole series is only 5 comics long so it is a nice quick read

      • Oh wow, I didn’t know that he wrote comics as well. I’ll definitely check those out. Thanks so much for the recommendations!

  4. I love Joe Hill’s stuff. This was the first book of his that I read, and I think maybe the best, just in terms of coherence. I would also really recommend his collection of short stories (20th Century Ghosts).

  5. This sounds interesting! I like when I think I have things figured out and I’m wrong! It sounds creepy and awesome.

  6. Joe Hill is FANTASTIC, just like his father. read 20th-Century Ghosts!

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