Seventeen-year-old Natalie Waite longs to escape home for college. Her father is a domineering and egotistical writer who keeps a tight rein on Natalie and her long-suffering mother. When Natalie finally does get away, however, college life doesn’t bring the happiness she expected. Little by little, Natalie is no longer certain of anything—even where reality ends and her dark imaginings begin. Chilling and suspenseful, Hangsaman is loosely based on the real-life disappearance of a Bennington College sophomore in 1946.
You have no idea how much it pains me to write this review, and to say, in short that I really didn’t enjoy this one as much as I anticipated.
Shirley Jackson is one of my favorite authors, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle placed her there. But, throughout reading Hangsaman, I was just bored. This book is barely 200 pages, and it took me way longer than it should have. Things like two-page paragraphs, and lengthy descriptions of things that really didn’t seem to matter made this book feel more like an essay.
In the end, I’m glad I read it. You can’t love them all. And, there were parts I enjoyed, as I will include a few of my favorite parts below, but overall, I felt this was a snooze fest.
However, on the bright side, there were often moments where I just felt totally enamored by Jackson’s way with words, and that’s ultimately what kept me from DNF’ing it.
Well written. Interesting characters (in the beginning). Snooze fest.
- “Adolescence is a time when . . . one is too untaught for literature and too young for drink.”
- “Everyone only knows one ‘I’, and that’s the ‘I’ they call themselves, and there’s no one else can be ‘I’ to anyone except that one person, and they’re all stuck with themselves and once they find out they’ve been tricked, then they’ve been tricked and maybe the worst of it is that it isn’t like anything else . . . “
- Anything which begins new and fresh will finally become old and silly.
- I feel so much at home here that I don’t really remember what it was like to live anywhere else, and I sometimes think that first day is all you know of the place, and you still see it like that, and I can’t remember.
- Never wish for anything until it’s ready for you. Never try to make something happen until it’s on its way.
Have you ever been disappointed by an author you really like? If so, who was it and what book? Let’s talk in the comments!