Book Review–The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson




This is the 78th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.


Picture Source:
Picture Source:

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Published in 1959


First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror.

It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.



This was another Stephen King recommendation. I love Stephen King and am glad he was inspired, but lately it seems I don’t really enjoy any of his recommendations.I was really excited to read this one, especially since I’d heard great things about The Lottery, which I still intend to read one day.

As for Hill House, it was really just “okay” to me. The writing style was a bit difficult to get into at first–really long sentences and almost excessive punctuation–but once I did, the book moved along fairly fast. I didn’t fall in love with her writing or the story, but it also isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read, either.

I’ve seen the 1999 version of the movie, which I actually remember liking. I couldn’t help but picture the characters from that movie even though they didn’t much mirror them in the book. As far as the book goes, I didn’t care much for any of the characters. Theo came off as being overly harsh, the doctor’s wife was beyond annoying, as was her partner Arthur, and Luke was drab. The only characters I could tolerate was the doctor, and for the most part, Eleanor.

The atmosphere is creepy, but there’s not much of a haunted house story. Half the time things happened I was confused at what was exactly going on since it’s vaguely explained most of the time. I also found the dialogue to be really odd. Not sure if this was how they spoke back then or if all of the characters were mad.

The saving points of the book was the scene where Eleanor believes she is holding Theo’s hand, the actual journey to Hill House, and the next-to-last scene before the climax. As for the ending, I’m not sure what to think. It was definitely brash and unexpected, but also kind of left me hanging.

Overall this is something I would never read again and don’t agree that it is a great haunted house story. I will continue on my quest to find one.








Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s