Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Castles: A Fictional Memoir of a Girl with Scissors Paperback – May 11, 2011
|New from||Used from|
Books with Buzz
"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. See more
"Whoa.... I love Speculative Fiction.... I love Horror.... I LOVED this book!" -- The Kindle Book Review
"If there is any justice in the literary world the name of Benjamin X. Wretlind will be spoken alongside those of Steinbeck and Hemingway as a truly great American novelist." -- Michael K. Rose, author of Sullivan's War
About the Author
Benjamin ran with scissors when he was five. He now writes. He has been--at different times, of course--a fry cook, range boy, greens maintenance technician, reservations agent, room service attendant, editor, banquet server, meteorologist, instructor, program manager for Internet applications, curriculum developer, training simulation engineer and certification coordinator.
The author of A Difficult Mirror, Castles: A Fictional Memoir of a Girl with Scissors and Sketches from the Spanish Mustang, Benjamin has been called "a Pulitzer-caliber writer" with "a unique American voice." Aside from novels, he has been published in many magazines to include The Horror Express, All Hollows: The Journal of the Ghost Story Society, Horror Carousel and Bare Bones.
He also gets up before 4am to milk (words, not cows). His wife, Jesse, is an artist and counselor, which helps dealing with the five kids they raise as well as a dog, a rabbit, two hamsters, a gerbil and three fish. You can find Benjamin psychoanalyzing himself on his blog (bxwretlind.com/), on his Facebook page (facebook.com/bxwretlind/) or lounging about in the Twitterverse (@bxwretlind).
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle Edition for FREE. Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
This wasn't a book with a neatly wrapped up ending, where one could rest easy knowing the fate of everyone involved. This wasn't a book with a cliffhanger ending, where you're either irritated with the authour or eagerly awaiting the next installment.
This was a book that left you with uneasy doubts and unanswered questions...in a good(ish) way. I'll read any other books by this authour....during the daytime......in a room full of people......and noise.
I received this book through Amazon- free after having read a rant by the author. I enjoyed his words so well that even though this is out of my usual genre I decided to give it a try.
I admit to being somewhat squeamish sometimes- more so with movies than books. Often enough I've seen movies that have made me shut them off part way through wondering why I endured it that long. This book made me squeamish that way sometimes, but I had decided that I wanted to see it through. As a horror novel it's quite balanced and sustains just the right element throughout to make it top notch.
A problem though, with part of the squeamishness, is that I kept seeing this less as a horror and more as literary fiction. It reminded me of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest mixed with Richard Farina's Been Down So Long it Looks Like Up to Me.
Maggie tells us her story in a simple almost innocent honest fashion. Not apologetic or deflective, but earnest description of the things that have happened and are happening in her life.
This is realistic story of abuse from her mother's boyfriends and even her own mother sometimes. Both physical and mental in the way that more often than not reduces the abused person to a point where they have no self worth. The result is that Maggie is distanced from most other children her age and is more often than not picked on by them. She takes it all in stride; possibly because of her experience at home she might view it as natural. It is easy to empathize with this child as she attempts to grow up. Her only port in the storm is her grandmother.
Maggie's grandmother is the person who has raised Maggie and she protects her when she can from both the myriad of boyfriends who are in and out; and her mother's wrath. It's ironic that grandma might figure more than anyone in Maggie's descent into madness. Maggie is afraid of storms- particularly the dust storms that seem to plague them and they often leave her with a mess of sand and broken glass that she's expected to clean. Grandma tries to help Maggie with this fear, often through the telling a sort of tale of castles in the sky.
I somehow read between the lines that there is some sort of indictment here against telling children certain fairy tales and fanciful stories. In particular in this instance because there seems to be a thread running though the generations of this family that involves abusive relationships and often what take the form of anti-male sentiment. Always the abuse from the men seem to overshadow those of Maggie's mother. The notion that the bricks used to build the castle in the sky are used by girls to make castles for girls.
There is another realistic thread in this novel that has to do with Maggie's apparent descent into madness. This is played out well, as the reader comes to understand that Maggie has no real grasp on how far she might be slipping. When Maggie's only defender, her grandmother, dies; Maggie must take care of herself. And when grandma's ghost visits her constantly along with the discovery of strange sand eels, it become increasingly difficult to tell if this is a descent into madness or if it's a page out of something akin to a Stephen King horror and suspense.
I'll admit that there's a point half way through this that my sympathy for Maggie sort of dies. In a twisted way though it's like watching a loved one you've tried to help, who is in a bad relationship and can't seem to fight their way out. You don't want to give up on them but there's a point where they could drag you down with them if you're not careful. In Maggie's case at the beginning she has less control over her destiny because she's a child.
There are no other characters in the story that I felt sympathy for. They get their just deserts. This is not their story. It's a study in abuse and how some people handle that abuse and about how rebelling against that abuse can easily take someone down the wrong road for all the right reasons.
This book is well written literature and though I'm not sure how soon I want to venture into any more of Benjamin X Wretlind's worlds, I recommend this read as; Something great for a good thought provoking jarring of our regular everyday complacency.
But I suppose I can tell you what Castles isn't. It isn't a book you will be able to put down. It isn't a book you will be able to forget. And, most of all, it isn't a book that you will read without spending nearly as much time thinking about it as you spent reading it.
I suppose the best thing I can say, perhaps the only thing I should have said, is this: Castles is a work of true brilliance. If you read it you will not regret it. If you don't read it, know that you will be missing one of the great literary achievements of the 21st century. I know that sounds a bit much, but that it truly how I feel about this novel. If there is any justice in the literary world the name of Benjamin X. Wretlind will be spoken alongside those of Steinbeck and Hemingway as a truly great American novelist.
Castles is a dark story of abuse, rape, victimization and revenge; however it is REAL LIFE.
In our darkest moments we are alone, with a voice, the voice of someone who once loved us. If we listen to that voice are we "mad" or just wise?
I loved this book! I really loved it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Castles: A Fictional Memoir of a Girl with Scissors.Read more
Are you done? If you said "yes", I'm assuming you're lying, because after reading the book you're not going to...Read more