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Saturday, 16 March 2019

Book Review: Penpal by Dathan Auerbach

A man investigates the seemingly unrelated unusual, tragic, and horrific events of his childhood in an attempt to finally understand them.

"How far can you go into the woods?"

What a strange reading experience I had with this one. As I was reading it I was constantly questioning whether I was actually enjoying it? “Is this it? Where’s the creepiness?” But then during the last quarter or so, when everything started coming together and crazy things were revealed, I started to fully appreciate the creep factor. I looked back on things that weren’t initially unsettling, but with my new insight they quickly became very unsettling!!

After I finished I spent hours analysing and talking through theories with @brittreads and I’m STILL thinking about it over a week later, so it has really had an impact on me! It’s the kind of book that would certainly benefit with a reread.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style though. As far as I’m aware this story started off as a reddit post, upon which Auerbach kept building the story - and it very much reads as a Reddit post. I love Reddit, but to read an entire book in this style was just... eh.

There’s also some parts were Auerbach just goes into far too much detail about mundane things that I don’t care about. For example, when the kids are trying to create this map. That was incredibly tedious - I almost wanted to skim over those parts to get to the good bits!!

This book has left me with more questions than answers, which usually annoys me, but I’ve found it quite fun to ponder and fill in the gaps myself, as well as read theories online etc. Certainly a memorable reading experience!

3.5 stars.

Johann
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