Book – The Woman In Black
Author – Susan Hill
Year – 1983
Pages – 200
Genre – Horror
I shall interrupt Play-A-Day to write this one up. It is another book related to school, and this time it is the text that I have been studying with my year eight English class, The Woman In Black. Yes, before it was a long running play and a film starring Harry Potter lead Daniel Radcliffe, it was a book, and it is one that we look at for Key Stage Three due to the fact that it is a textbook example of a gothic horror.
Framed within a story told at Christmas by Arthur Kipps (the same name as the lead character from Half A Sixpence, and indeed the HG Wells book that it is based on, for no reason I can fully fathom), we look at his fateful time spent at Eel Marsh House investigating the recently passed Alice Drablow, and encountering the spooky, haunting eponymous Woman In Black.
I should show my cards right away and confess that I am in no way a fan of horror. It just doesn’t do anything for me. I am not a fan of being scared in that way, and would rather tension was earned rather than just won by saying “Yeah, but ghosts”. I may well be totally wrong here, and the ever lasting appeal of horror films and stories seems to point in that direction, but it is my blog, and the fact that this is the horror book to appear on it, and even then only because my job necessitated my reading it, seems to point me towards being right. As a result, I didn’t stand too much chance of enjoying this book from the off.
However, even if I was a fan, I think I would find this book a bit of a mess anyway. I just can’t get to grips with how Susan Hill writes. The sentences just go on and on and on. It is distractingly annoying. The number of times that I needed to go back and read over a sentence simply because of how long and winding it was is silly.
There are large sections of the book where nothing of note seems to happen, the tension is mainly reserved for one section in the third act, and to top it all off, it has a dog in it named Spider. Spider is a stupid name for a dog.
Don’t read this one. It isn’t very good.