The Barretts seemed like a regular family. Dad, John, has been out of work for some time and his wife, Sarah, is doing what she can by working at the bank and taking care of her two daughters, 14 year-old Marjorie and 8 year-old, Merry. But something strange is going on. Marjorie is acting weird. She’s telling her little sister scary stories, not that little Merry is afraid but she is concerned with how Marjorie has changed. Her parents are too. John and Sarah think their older daughter is going through some kind of mental breakdown and take her to a psychiatrist. Even with treatment and medication nothing seems to be helping.
John has turned to religion for guidance and asks for help from a local Catholic priest, Father Wanderly. The priest believes that Marjorie is possessed and wants to do an exorcism.
Meanwhile the family cannot pay their bills with just the income that Sarah brings in. But a television station learns about the problem with Marjorie and pays the family to allow them to film their problems for a reality television show.
Things get progressively worse for the Barrett family. Protesters are outside their home calling Marjorie names and Merry is being bullied at school. John and Sarah are being torn apart and constantly argue about how their oldest daughter should be treated. Sarah would prefer that Marjorie keep seeing her psychiatrist but John insists on the exorcism. Sarah eventually agrees with John just to keep peace between them.
When the night of the exorcism arrives the family, the priests, and the television crew are all jammed in Marjorie’s bedroom when bedlam and the real horror begins.
Some 15 years later Merry is now a young adult and is being interviewed by a best selling writer for a book. The interview gets Merry thinking once again about the horror that happened in her home and her life when she was 8 years old.
“A Head Full of Ghosts” by Paul Tremblay is not the kind of book I usually read. Ghost stories and tales about exorcism frighten me. When the movie, “The Exorcist” came out I was terrified to be alone and I didn’t even see the movie. I thought twice about reading this book but decided to give it a go because I read that Stephen King recommended it.
The book wasn’t bad. It held my interest and it was a fast read. There were some frightening moments but the character of little Merry keeps the fear from being too intense. Merry was never really afraid of her sister even though it seemed that Marjorie was doing some scary things to her young sister and was definitely threatening her.
Most, if not all of the story is told through Merry’s eyes and her understanding of what was going on around her. The reader sees things from the 8 year-old Merry and then again through the adult Merry.
The book gets you thinking about possession, the concept of evil, and if things like this can really happen.
I liked, “A Head Full of Ghosts” but would only recommend it to readers who really enjoy reading about this topic.