Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey
Reviewed by GGGinny
What I drank: bubbly rose with a Unicorn on the sticker! One of my friends went on a trip and this is what she brought me becauase she’s a delight.
“Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories — she’s come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there.
Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back, and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be?
There are secrets yet undiscovered in the foundations of the notorious Crowder House. Vera must face them, and find out for herself just how deep the rot goes.
Drunk Overview:Vera goes back to her childhood home because her mother is dying. But spoiler alert her father was a serial killer and the house may be haunted.
Drunk Thoughts: First off. Vera’s mother is a literal piece of shit.
- With that out of hte way, I feel like I can actually write about this book now.
- Gailey manages to capture the exact feeling of returning to your childhood home after a long time away. The way that there is so much that is familiar.
- But this book also does “fantastically creepy” really well. There’s so many interconnected parts from Vera’s mother being the biggest asshole, the artist-in-residence also being a creepy, the memory of untold murders in the house (and the way it’s been saved to highlight that), and all the weird things that happen in the house.
- I’m not sure this book would be great for people who like the jumpscare monsters.
- But I loved the way this book built up the tension so you could never quite tell whether Vera was a reliable narrator.
- I will say, I did have some issues with this book
- #1 I hate books where characters go “If only I knew then what I knew now.” I just find it frustrating and a cheap way to try to build tension.
- #2 This book goes back and forth between Vera being 13 and the modern day. And frankly, I just didn’t particularly enjoy the constant jumps back and forth. I kind of wish that it had been written entirely in the modern day, or at least use flashbacks more carefully. I just didn’t really care about 13 year old Vera.
- #3 This book was a slow burn. And maybe that’s a good thing for a horror book? But I don’t think the beginning caught my attention the way I wanted it to. There was a long section in the middle where I was just hoping things would speed up.
- Okay, back to the good stuff. I was willing to push through the parts of this book I didn’t like because I’ve read so much of Sarah Gailey’s writing and they never let me down.
- And this book didn’t either.
- I don’t want to go into too much detail, because this is the kind of book where I think you want to go in not knowing all that much.
- But I loved the way this book talked about family love.
- Vera and her father were so close and honestly there’s something in this book that makes that relationship so comfortable even if her father was, you know, a serial killer (that’s not a surprise, you learn that really early in).
- But also, the relationship between Vera and her mother was so toxic, in contrast, but you can tell that Vera wishes that relationship was different.
- It also makes me thing of humanity’s powerlessness. There are so many things we wish we could make happen, but all of those things are out of our control.
- But the book’s tagline is something about “How do you love a monster” and I love that.
- There’s so much that goes into why and how you love someone. And this book goes into the depths where that is concerned.
- I feel like I’m talking in circles because I don’t want to spoil what happens.
- But it’s safe to say that the characters are all really well fleshed out, do a great job of creating this subtle (or not so subtle tension) that had me mildly uncomfortable while I read it.
- finally, (and I’m drunk and it’s been a while since I’ve read this book so I’m trying to be careful but I’m probably not), I think that feeling of warmth can be the thing people remember most and I fucking loved it so much.
What it Pairs With: Natty Light. This is a book that makes you think back (and yeah, I know Natty Light wasn’t my childhood) but it’s something that needs to take you back. I feel like a lot of people at least remember going to a party and having a crappy warm light beer in a red solo cup and this book somehow fits that aesthetic.
Rating: 4/5. Probably not the book for me but it was still a super satisfying read.