Over at The Kill Zone, author Clare Langley-Hawthorne wrote about giving away scary books for Halloween. Read the post for details, if you’re interested. What caught my attention were the questions she posted at the end. She asked, “Which book was the scariest you ever read?” and “Has there ever been a book so terrifying that you couldn’t even finish it?”
I’m a wimp when it comes to scary books. I don’t read too many. But when I was a teenager, I couldn’t get enough of Stephen King. His books answer both those questions for me. The scariest book I ever read was Pet Sematary. Interestingly, Stephen King says writing that book scared him so much, he had trouble finishing it. I don’t doubt that. It was the intensity, the unexpected twists, that made the book such a terrifying read.
The second scariest book I ever read was It by Stephen King. I had nightmares for decades after that one, but it was the movie version that haunted me more than the book. I didn’t actually watch the movie. My husband did. I just happened to be wandering by the living room on the way to the kitchen when I inadvertently saw the shower scene. You know it–where the clown comes up through the shower drain to do whatever he needed to do. For years, I couldn’t take a shower without watching the drain intently. Do you know how hard it is to rinse shampoo out of your hair when you can’t close your eyes?
There are a lot of books I never finished, but mostly that was due to bad writing, uninteresting plot, or unlikable characters. But one scary book stands out in my mind because I picked up, then put it down, too scared to continue. Then I’d pick it up at a later date, only to put it down again, pick it up, put it down (you get the picture). I finally finished it, and wished I hadn’t. That was Stephen King’s Misery. It was the hopelessness of the protagonist’s situation that got me, and even thinking about that plot line sends shivers down my back.
Those are my answers to Clare’s questions. What about you, loyal followers? Which book was the scariest you ever read? Has there ever been a book so terrifying that you couldn’t finish it?