The Book: [simpleazon-image align=”left” asin=”0061147966″ locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/415Zkt%2BSqGL.jpg” width=”334″][simpleazon-link asin=”0061147966″ locale=”us”]Horns: A Novel[/simpleazon-link] by Joe Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This dark fantasy surprised me with its twisted sense of humor and its periods of normalcy. The descriptions of place and action were so vivid that they played in my minds eye like a memory. Glimpses of humanity were often dark and painful as well as disturbing, cruel, unnerving and heartbreaking. The love story is touching and sweet but contains dark undercurrents because of the foreknowledge by the reader of what lies ahead. Images and conversation are often very sexual in the way of adolescent boys. The characters were well-developed. The fantasy elements were imaginative but made me long for more. I had to set my own personal beliefs aside in order to ponder the philosophy of the main character. His tragedy made doing so easier than it would have been otherwise. While I disagreed with him, I felt I understood his mindset, and some of his ideas made for thoughtful consideration. In fact, the philosophical depth of Horns was the most surprising element. Though on it’s face a revenge novel with a horrible tragedy at it’s core, it goes deeper than that, challenging generally accepted beliefs about the Christian doctrine. There is definitely a message here and some might even find it offensive. But, beyond the obvious and some might say sacrilegious “sermon” delivered by Ig, the reader may, as I did, take away something else entirely. Definitely a more though-provoking book that I expected. Not for everyone, but I found it well worth the read.
“the beatific idiocy of the functionally retarded” (p.4)
“a homeopathic remedy you could apply when you came down with a bad case of the devil” (p. 53)
“After you’d grown horns from your temples, it seemed a little silly to be too fussy about possible exposure to germs” (p. 148).
“You’re just packaging. Just a good-looking box with nothing in it” (p. 268).
“…trying to remember his enthusiasm for the corn was a little like trying to get full on the memory of a good meal” (p. 268).
Movie: 4 of 5 stars
Daniel Ratcliffe is brilliant in the movie which comes as no surprise really. I enjoyed the movie, but for different reasons than I did the book. The revenge element of the book became the emphasis while the philosophical and fantasy elements of the book were downplayed or omitted altogether. The movie tells a good story and manages to keep the mystery alive, but the only character that it really develops is that of Ig. If the movie is considered separately from the book, then it is worth watching. (The soundtrack is also quite good and is available on Spotify). Compared to the book however the only resemblance is in the skeleton of the story. The meat of it is interpreted quite differently. Nevertheless, it held it’s own kind of fascination.