the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Stephen Graham Jones’ Category

 

I’m reading The Only Good Indians, by Stephen Graham Jones. All I heard online was how good this book is.  And it is damn good.  It is also scary AF.   Apparently while people were talking about it online, my eyes kept glossing over people saying it was a horror book.  And that it’s, ahhh, kinda gruesome. 

 

And I love that people love horror! 

 

But I don’t love it.   It’s just too scary for me, it always ends up feeling like something I can’t escape, like an itch that I can’t rub off because the itch is on a phantom limb.   And the thing in the world I fear the most is not being able to get away from something that is freaking me out. (it makes sensory overload super fun. And by fun, I mean super awful) In scenes in books or  movies where someone is powerless and can’t escape, I am flat out terrified to the point where I may not even register that other, happier plot points are happening.  

 

And sometimes I fall so deep into stories that I find myself at the bottom of a deep well. And sometimes it takes me a while to climb out.  

 

As I write this blog post, I’m most of the way through The Only Good Indians,  I just finished the sweat lodge scene.

 

Spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned.   (any of you remember that rambling not-a-review blog post I wrote about Artificial Condition by Martha Wells?   Yeah, this post is kinda like that).

 

The plot of The Only Good Indians goes something like this:  ten years ago, four friends did something really, really stupid. Cassidy, Lewis, Gabriel and Ricky knew what they were doing was wrong, and they got in trouble for it, and they thought they’d paid the price, and they tried to get on with their lives. 

 

This is a story of revenge. 

 

The tribal authorities punished the men for their poaching.

 

But the spirit of that mama elk, she answers to no human authority, and she will have her own revenge, in her own way. She will take what was taken from her.

 

What I need to keep reminding myself, is that in any horror story, the fate of the characters is already sealed.  Doesn’t matter if I haven’t gotten to the last page yet,  the author wrote that last page months or years ago, hundreds of thousands of people have already read that last page.  That character I’m reading about? Their future is literally set in stone. Mine isn’t.  It’s a difference between us: my future isn’t written yet, theirs is. 

 

But something we have in common is that our pasts have already been written, and that character can’t escape their past mistakes in the same way that I can’t escape mine. 

 

To be crystal clear:  the “dumb shit” I did as a teen and in my early 20s was 99% thoughtless and selfish things.  I never did anything stupid enough that someone got hurt. But they could have. I could have, and a couple of times I did.  That thing parents say “what were you thinking? Oh yeah, you weren’t.”, yep, that was me.  Did I do plenty of good things? Of course I did! But all can I remember is the thoughtless  and selfish things that I can’t escape.  I don’t usually beat myself up about these things, but I can’t forget that I did them.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.