Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Halloween Children by Brian James Freeman and Norman Prentiss book thoughts

Title: The Halloween Children
Series: No
Author: Brian James Freeman and Norman Prentiss
Published Date: June 13th, 2017
Publisher: Hydra
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 189
Genre: Horror
Read: June 2017

Goodreads Synopsis

The accommodations at Stillbrook Apartments aren’t exactly glamorous, but they’re quiet, affordable, and well maintained. The handyman is usually available to help with a leak or a broken bulb, his wife and two adorable kids often tagging along. When occasion dictates, the neighbors gather to wish each other well and spread the requisite holiday cheer. Everything’s very nice. Very normal.

But as Halloween approaches, strange occurrences are happening all around Stillbrook. The children tell disturbing stories, bizarre noises bleed through the walls, and one abandoned unit is found to be inhabited by something sinister—something that’s no longer alive.

For the safety of the tenants, the Halloween party has been canceled. There will be no decorations or masks, no candied apples or witch’s brew. But without treats to divert the Halloween Children, they have no choice but to play some very nasty tricks.

Rating: 1.5/5

My Thoughts

TW: Suicide, Fire

Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Sadly I didn't like this book. Mostly it just made me angry. I'll start with the negatives to get them out of the way and try to end on a better note.

The main characters are Lynn and Harris, a married couple. They don't really get along or see eye to eye when it comes to parenting their 2 kids, Matt and Amber. Actually they both seem to favor the same-sex child and neither are really good parents if you ask me, though that seems to be at least some of the point and it is what it is. That just made me roll eyes a lot. They aren't uncaring or anything, but they both have some problems. Lynn is, well, paranoid. Harris, I liked Harris much of the time actually though I wouldn't call him perfect either and also had issues. Obviously I don't want perfect characters, and flaws are realistic. I generally like that. It felt, especially in Lynn's case, a bit exaggerated to me at times but again, I think that was the point and there probably are real people like her. They both seriously favored the same-sex child which got on my nerves.

It involves Halloween of course. Halloween gets canceled because reasons and well...The Halloween Children aren't happy about that, and as you can guess things get creepy.

Now onto my main issue with the book. Ableism. People, apparently everyone in the apartments actually including Harris, think a woman is faking a disability to rip off her old employer or an insurance company. It's said she looks pretty young to be having any kind of mobility issues. Stop, just stop right there. I was born with vacterl association (among other things) and have always had issues getting around (getting worse as I get older, but I was BORN with mobility issues, as many people are). There is no such thing as being "too young" to be disabled or have mobility issues.

The word invalid is used which just pisses me off in general. It's said she wanted everyone to believe she was an invalid, but that her neighbors all knew better. Also that she looked healthy enough...as if all disabilities can be seen just by looking at someone. Newsflash, MANY DISABILITIES ARE INVISIBLE (or in my case some are covered by clothing and i'm not going to run around naked just so you can see them, and some are, in fact, invisible to the general public). Invalid...i'm not invalid just because i'm disabled. Disabled people aren't invalid, they are still valid people...am I the only one that word pisses off?

Because it's an ARC I won't be quoting it, and of course stuff is subject to change and i'm not going to buy a copy of a book I seriously didn't like, so there's that. I mention that because some things are hard to get across without quoting, but i'm going to try my best, and remember stuff is subject to change.

It talks about her, Joanne, as a very annoying and even kind of evil person (in my opinion). It mentions guilty side-to-side glances, as if she was afraid of someone getting an incriminating photo, say of her lifting heavy boxes, dancing or running. Also...just because someone is disabled, doesn't mean they can't do anything. So many people seem to think "Oh if you are really disabled then how do you do this huh? See, you're not disabled after all!" people even say that about tweeting or reading and you do those things sitting on your butt. Disabled in one area doesn't mean disabled in all areas or absolute disability. I can't walk much, but that doesn't mean I can't at all. Harris also suspects that it is one of those deals where you figure out where a security camera is, find a slick hard spot on the floor to fall on, then go oh my neck/back/whatever to fake a disability claim at work.

These are stereotypes able-bodied people have of disabled people and often stuff they throw in our faces to try and deny that we are disabled or that we are people. People with rights and feelings. Disabled people are often made to be the villian or some asshole character, like I saw in this book. If an able-bodied person can't easily see your disability or you can do something like...I don't know..breathe...you must not really be disabled after all they say. It's all faking it etc. I don't think I can accurately describe my feelings for these things but hopefully i've described them well enough. This stuff actively harms disabled people, these betrayals that are too real and cause us real harm (and even death) in the real world. This stuff is NOT OKAY. I don't even understand why it had to go so far in the book. It was through-out the book and i'm not sure why it was all necessary. If a horror book has to harm disabled people/a marginalized group in order to get some creep factor in, then it isn't a good horror book. There are plenty of ways to be scary without being harmful in this way. I hate to say all this stuff, i'm not generally easily offended, but this stuff hurts people in real life, causing real pain and real deaths and this contributes to it, and it is so far from okay.

There are some good messages asides from all that, as Harris is a caring parent and has some words of wisdom at times that I did appreciate. There was also a creep factor that I did appreciate and like at times, and it's also a fast read. Sorry I don't have much else to say besides that.

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