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House of Darkness: House of Light- The True Story, Vol. 1 Paperback – Illustrated, March 8, 2011
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Frequently bought together
- Publisher : AuthorHouse; 1st edition (March 8, 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 528 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1456747592
- ISBN-13 : 978-1456747596
- Item Weight : 1.69 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.32 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #73,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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What I liked the most about book 1:
This is a rare experience. New England has lots of old houses, some are haunted with spirits, and this book is a privileged peek into what living in a haunted house with an evil spirit was like and how the family of seven were affected by their decade at the farm. Despite all the chaos the spirits created in the Perron’s home, Andrea did a good job of depicted how their life in the countryside was pretty ideal and peaceful. There’s always a sense of balance in the book: for example, the evil Bathsheba, trapping a child in a trunk in contrast with the benevolent spirits at Fran’s house helping to turn the sheet music when Andrea plays the piano. Even Andrea’s passages of deep analysis is balanced with ‘Boo!’ throughout the book. I also liked the occasional philosophical analysis and the Socratic style of questioning which allows the reader to examine his or her preconceived ideas about spirits and the paranormal, and not just vicariously experience these events through the family members. I don’t think some of the other reviewers have considered the benefits of this approach and can consequently fail to get a deeper awareness of what this family’s journey was like. I agree that the enlightenment is in the question, not the answer. It makes perfect sense that unwillingly sharing a house haunted with so many spirits and an evil one like Bathsheba would create more questions than answers.
Before reading this book, I listened to American Sniper by Chris Kyle. He could see a target through his rifle’s scope better than he could see himself because his book was fairly lacking in insight. I don’t think that he really reflected on his experiences to understand the world more deeply. This was the next book I choose to read and I appreciate the academic and philosophical approach she took to make sense of a deceptively idyllic environment that in some ways seems very similar to Fallujah. (By the way, this book was scarier than reading about the Iraq war.)
What I disliked about it:
I did not like how the book affected me. I had been reading it through the night and was on the page about how Bathsheba would stop clocks in the house at 5:15am and just after I read that I looked at the time and it was exactly 5:15am. Very, very creepy. I had to put the book away for a little while. For me, the story affected me the way some people are affected by studying the grisly details of the Holocaust, slavery, or the Apartheid -- you get too close to it and it seems to get too close to you and you need to take a break and be away from it for awhile. I also didn’t feel comfortable with Andrea’s depiction of Bathsheba Sherman in the book, which I will explain below.
What I still don’t understand after seeing the film and reading the first book:
Is Bathsheba a ghost or is she a demon? In the film, Bathsheba possesses Carolyn very rapidly and it takes an exorcism to force her to leave; she is also capable of leaving the area she haunts; she leaves the Perron house in order to attack the Warren’s daughter, so it fits to call her a demon; in contrast, in the first book, Bathsheba seems less systematic, intelligent, and less powerful than a demon. I don’t recall coming across stories of the children having a dramatic encounter with Bathsheba outside of the house or after moving away for college other than a few times when she followed people in a car who were driving away from the farm. Her ambitions are fairly human: to be the respected mistress of the house; above all, to have its dwellers follow her, not Satan; yet her presence is accompanied by a rapid plunge in temperature (psychic cold) and a foul stench. I thought the spirit of a person who was once alive cannot become a demon, as a demon is a fallen angel who was never alive on Earth to begin with. They’re different types of entities even if they are playing for the same team. I read the book hoping that there would be a clear distinction, but I realize that in real life such distinctions might be blurred or unknowable.
What should have been clearer in the first book:
After reading 500 pages, I felt that there was some important information that was omitted, or somehow not emphasized as much as it needed to be. It could be that the writing style did lead to things getting overshadowed by the philosophical musings, descriptive sentences and the lengthy passages about all the feelings involved, and so forth, but in any case I felt that these things should have been clearer:
1. If Bathsheba were a living person, then by the end of the first book she would be serving hard time in prison for multiple attempts at murder. She could also be charged with assault with a deadly weapon, arson, damage and theft of property, creating mental and emotional distress, being a creepy groper, and so on and so on and so on. Whatever she really is -- and even if she does have feelings of genuine ghostly love for Roger and some of his kids -- her behavior is very criminal compared to the other spirits, and she kept the family, Carolyn especially, living in real and present danger for nearly 10 years.
2. It isn’t very clear what Bathsheba means to Andrea. Why doesn’t Andrea pass harsher judgement on her after she beat and nearly murdered her mother? In the first part of the book, before ever even seeing the house, Andrea broke a neighborhood boy’s nose after he murdered her dog. (Coincidentally, the dog was also named Bathsheba and as another reviewer mentioned this strange coincidence is not explained or explored.) By the end of the first book, I got the impression that Andrea is a little attached to Bathsheba, the witch. One of the spirits in the house, evidently a very creepy one, caught Andrea's boyfriend cheating on her with one of her sisters and scared him away from the farm and the family. The book says he eventually died young of a drug overdose. After the incident with Andrea’s (ex)boyfriend, there is an account of the first time Bathsheba manifested in solid form in front of Roger. Andrea takes on a more critical tone towards Roger for being rude to her and speaking to her without the decorum and deference that Andrea seems to feel Bathsheba is entitled to in "her house". I don’t know if these events happened in chronological order, or if they were just written in chronological order, but it seems the writer has misplaced sympathy for the devil. The real life Bathsheba Sherman was formally tried for murdering an infant and found guilty in the court of public opinion. She was accused of abusing her household staff. She was regarded as a witch in a time before Wicca and 'witchcraft-lite' occult practices. She may not even be resting under her headstone because the townspeople didn't want her buried in consecrated ground. She didn't make better choices after death.
3. To what extent did relationships between the spirits and the living inhabitants manifest? It’s clear there was mutual dislike between Carolyn and Bathsheba, but I’ve learned elsewhere online that there was a relationship between April and the spirit of the young boy she saw right after moving in, and that Bathsheba lusted after Roger. She broke items in the house knowing he would take them into the cellar to repair them, where he felt icy fingers on his back on more than one occasion. I’m looking forward to reading the second book and am hoping that some of these lingering questions will be answered.
This is my first book review on Amazon. I didn’t like all the negativity of the reviewers. It did impact how I read the book and it’s a very rare type of book to read, so I felt the need to discuss and analyze more than average. I wish some people would remember that others are reading these reviews to get more information about the book & decide if they will buy it and read it, too. This is more of a memoir -- not a novel, told in vignettes. A novel is a work of fiction and it DOES NOT need to follow a strictly linear timeline, as 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez shows. They lived in a house with timeless spirits who sometimes appear young or old, and I think the time jumping is kind of appropriate. It was almost like flipping through a family photo album. As for the academic writing style with no editor -- I think it adds to the authenticity and even a good editor could have done more harm than good with the story. Andrea's the eldest and this fits the birth order psychology theory that the eldest is the most academically driven and the most likely to become a professor.
If a revised, abridged version is ever published, it might be helpful to separate the telling of the story from the deeper philosophical analysis; perhaps by concisely telling the facts and feelings of the story in the first part of the chapter, and then have the second part of the chapter be about analyzing what those events could mean. Separating the content gives the those readers who need the graded reader version a sense of control over how much enlightenment and academia they’re exposed to while reading the story, so maybe, maybe, maybe they could come back to the more insightful parts at a later time, and it'd keep those readers who need to explore this topic more deeply happy as well.
My entire life I've only put down about 3 or 4 books without
finishing them. This was nearly added to that number. There
was one part that had a single paragraph run on for about 4
or 5 pages. If was so full of adverbs and adjectives and
metaphors that it was almost impossible to get through. About
pages 175 to 180 it began to pick up. Once it got into the
actual haunting the book and writing got much better. When it
was bad it was really awful, but when it was good it was very
entertaining and quite interesting. This first volume of the 3 was
much too long and extremely wordy. Could have cut about 125
to 150 pages off of it and would have been just as informational.
I'll read the other 2 volumes later on. Have to rest after this one.
Like I said ------ less is more!!
These books angered me because it could have been one GREAT book. Miss Perron, you've got an awesome tale to tell. My advice is to give all three volumes to a professional editor who would weed out all of the new-age philosophy and wanderings and put it in chronological order.
Trust me -- it would be a NYT best seller.
Top reviews from other countries
I bought the books of the Warrens that were straight to the point. I bought this with my birthday money and STILL waiting for something I can read that’s paranormal.... they don’t explain any events in depth just minor then drones on and on about the family. I was planning on buying the second and third book but absolutely refuse to. If you want the story with the facts without having to read a boring book that tells the story with what happens in depth check The Warrens books on the cases they worked on. Absolutely dire readings this. Highly disappointed. People buying the book will want the true story of what happened. All this book has done is drone on for pages about zero and one sentence about “the boys saw something at the door” then carried on how the family were doing. I’m losing the will to live reading this.
The story is fascinating and I wanted to learn more about the reality after seeing the movie, The Conjuring but about a quarter of the way through I regretted starting (because I rarely, if ever, give up on a book I have started!). The author has a terrible style of writing and will use 3 or 4 ways to describe a scene which is incredibly distracting and repetative and annoying. An example would be something like - Caroline was cold to the bone, the cold literally chilled her to the bone. As she sat in the cold room the chill penetrated her very bones. That is not actual script from the book, to copy the script exactly would make this review 3 times longer than it needs to be and I don't need to do that and neither did Andrea Perron! Sometimes I would skip 3, 4 or even up to 6 pages where the author would still be describing the same scene or situation without having yet got to the point of that part of the story.
I bought all three of the books in this series and though I am curious to read the others because part one only covered the very first part of the story, I am going to leave it a long while before I attempt to tackle them.
The underlying story is creepy and curious, but in order to get to any pertinent details, you have to wade through a lot of superfluous waffle. It really is in need of re-editing. The language is overly complicated and repetitive, the sequencing of paranormal events is confusing and you can skip pages only to find the author still writing on the same thing. Much is made of how the paranormal events affected family members and relationships, but the events themselves are scant in detail. All contributes to making this book an unnecessarily tough read.
I think there is a scary event to be recounted here, but it needs a heavy edit and perhaps a ghost writer to make it a single, readable volume. I am unlikely to persevere with volume 2 due to the hardgoing writing style.