Book Review: The Lonely by Ainslie Hogarth

20786095Title: The Lonely

Author: Ainslie Hogarth

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Magical Realism, Dark Humor

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A darkly humorous and imaginative story
After she discovers The Terrible Thing, Easter Deetz goes looking for her sister, Julia, but ends up pinned under a giant boulder with her legs crushed into tomato paste. Bored, disappointed, and thoroughly dismembered, Easter slowly bleeds to death in The Woods with only sinister squirrels to keep her company. As The Something Coming draws closer, memories of Easter’s family surface like hallucinations: a mumbling father who lives alone in the basement; a terrifying grandmother who sits in her enclosed porch all day; an overly loving mother who plays dead in the bathtub on Sunday nights.
As the story of her life unspools, Easter realizes she’s being stalked, making it very difficult for her to bleed to death in peace. Will The Something Coming save her? Or will it do her in entirely?

Let me start out by saying The Lonely isn’t for everyone. Right from the start, it’s obvious some people will love it, and others will hate it. It’s either love or hate, and I’m definitely in the “love” category. Dark humor is the key element of this book. It is dark – I mean, it starts out with the main character Easter ending up pinned under a giant boulder with her legs crushed. She thinks she might die, but heck, bleeding to death is cool, in some way. Sh’s more bored than anything else. While she’s lying under the boulder, Easter starts reliving memories. They’re told like some kind of feverish dream or hallucination.

The truth is, even after reading the book, I’m not sure if I grasped all the pieces of this story. At its core, it’s a dark story – about a disturbed girl and her family. Her loving mother, who plays dead in the bathtub every Sunday night. Her Dad, who locks himself up in the basement. It’s impossible to figure out what is real and what isn’t. Main character Easter is the most unrelieable narrator I’ve ever come across – and I loved reading things from her POV.

The book is specked with dark humor, and sometimes I even laughed out loud, and felt ashamed right after, because I was laughing at the most terrible things.

The writing is superb. It has a dream-like quality, almost as if the writing itself is just another of Easter’s hallucinations.

If you want something different and aren’t afraid to read a book that will leave you wondering what the heck just happened, The Lonely is definitely for you. I loved it. It’s impossible to review it and tell you just how good it is without you checking it out for yourself, so I’ll just end by saying that when Ainslie Hogarth writes another novel, I’m buying it right away.


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