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Shirley, a book review.

Shirley - Susan Merrell

Let me preface this review by stating that I received this book as an advanced reading copy from Penguin books. This was an ebook and I was in no way compensated mfor my review. Now, on to the review. I selected this book to read, not knowing anything about Shirley Jackson and having onlky read a few of her stories without knowing who wrote them. Listed as a thriller and an homage to Jackson's horror stories is, in my opinion, misleading to the reader. I found nothing Thrilling or Horrific in this book. What I did find is a fictional biography intertwined with real people and events. The story mainly centers on a girl coming to grips with motherhood, marriage, and adulthood all in one summer. There is a loose back story of wrong doings at the hands of her parents, and a missing mother who is briefly sought then forgotten. Through the course of the novel, the main character comes in contact with Shirley Jackson and idolizes the way she lives her life. This idolization is repeated over and over through every character she meets. There are instances of supernatural occurences which I attribute to the character's lack of her own self worth and they don't expand out into true supernatural events like a Stephen King arc. Interactions with party guests are lackluster and the instances of the Jackson children are done with so little emotion I'm not sure why they were included at all. In the end, I find myself feeling neither excited nor let down that I am done reading this book. This is a quick read, and fans of Mrs. Jackson may find a bit to pull from here but don't be misled by the genre misrepresentation.