Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean, and she seeks answers from the local Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper, who fill her head with stories of shipwrecks and ghosts. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition running wild in the dunes. And the boy’s only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all.
In the tradition of The Turn of the Screw, Keith Donohue’s The Boy Who Drew Monsters is a mesmerizing tale of psychological terror and imagination run wild, a perfectly creepy read for a dark night.
Song for This Book: To Build A Home by The Cinematic Orchestra
This is one of the few books that I came across in a bookstore and bought on the spot because the description just sounded so good. I rarely do this – I try to only buy books that I know for certain that I will like. But it just sounded so good, and who can resist a scary story?
Am I disappointed that I bought the book without researching it first? No. Did it turn out to be as good as I hope? Also no.
Maybe it’s just because I usually go the film route when it comes to horror, but this just seemed to drag a bit. Passages that were clearly trying to build suspense just ended up being a bit dull and long. That being said, if you can get through the rather uninteresting first half, the second half of the book is much, much better, and makes up for forcing yourself to get to that point.
The Good Points of The Boy Who Drew Monsters:
-The ending!! I wasn’t expecting it to turn out the way it did, and it was a very pleasant surprise. I won’t say more on this (though I want to!) so as not to ruin it for any one who hasn’t read it yet.
-I liked the way that Asperger Syndrome was portrayed. As someone who works a lot with people on the autism spectrum, I felt this was a good depiction of one way that it can manifest in a child.
The Downsides of The Boy Who Drew Monsters:
-The language that the author used didn’t sit right with me. It almost felt like the language didn’t match the story. As well, there were some really strange analogies and seaways used, especially in the first half, that almost felt like the author was just trying to find a way to get to a flashback or another scene.
-The characters were rather flat. With the length of the book, I thought they could have been fleshed out a bit more.
If this book were to ever become a movie, I would definitely go out to see it. It would make an amazing film with all of the strange creatures that Jack Peter comes up with.
All in all, not a bad book, but not a great one either. If you are looking for a horror story that isn’t too scary, this would definitely be a good option for you.