Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Book Review: My Best Friend's Exorcism

I wanted to like this book, I really did. I've heard nothing but great things about this one and it has been sitting on my shelf since the paperback came out. This is one of about twenty books I brought with me from California when I moved to New York. And not to mention, the cover is STUNNING! That is probably the main thing that attracted me to this book in the first place.

In My Best Friend's Exorcism we are thrust into the lives of Abby and Gretchen who are popular girls in the South at the end of the '80s. In the summer of 88' Gretchen gets possessed by the devil and Abby does everything in her power to save her friend.

Being born in 1988, I had the privilege of growing up in the '90s, so I have a special place in my heart for the '90s, but there seems to be this overwhelming obsession with the '80s and everything that comes with it. From the music, to the cars, to the hair, it was a special era. I mean we see it everywhere, from Ready Player One (which I loved) to Black Mirror. Even though I'm not a huge fan of the '80s I did appreciate all the '80s songs that were used as chapter headings in the book.

I also really liked the female friendship that this book is centered around. These two girls had a special bond that no one could break, not even the devil himself. What really brought it all home for me was the ending and their life after everything happened. How they drift apart because we all know life happens, but how they are still in each others lives in some way or another. How in the end after everything, Gretchen was right by Abby's side. 1/4 of that half star I'm giving this book is from the end journey of their friendship, while the other half goes to that outrageous exorcist.

With all that said, I did have some issues with the book. This book did not blow me away. Half way through I almost found myself asking if I even wanted to finish it. It was a slow paced book, with a lot of 80s' cheese, and it wasn't scary or grotesque until maybe the last 100 pages (I will never look at a vanilla milkshake the same again). Also, the whole exorcism at the end that Abby performs is a big cringe worthy and I didn't feel myself throwing my fist up in the air like at the end of The Breakfast Club.

The biggest problem I had with this book is the use of race, specifically with the mention of black people. We know we are in the South in 1988 and racism is something the characters wouldn't even think twice about as it is ingrained in their everyday lives. But did we really need the use of racist terms and events to accentuate the time period? Did we need descriptions like, "the la-di-da part of Mt. Pleasant where all the houses were dignified and either overlooked the water or had enormous yards, and if anyone saw a black person walking down the street who wasn't Mr. Little, they would pull their Volvo over and ask if he was lost." Or mentions of blackface, events like "Slave Day," or telling someone they look like an Ethiopian if they are skin and bones and had a protruding stomach. I personally don't think the book needed to use these racist terms and events to drive home the point that we're in the South in the 80s.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Happy Reading!

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