Last year I began my own tradition of reading a horror/thriller book around Halloween. Consider it my way of mentally getting into the season. The first book I read was a classic; The Shining by Stephen King. It was an exciting read and I couldn’t wait to read another creepy kind of novel when this recently passed Halloween season came about. I was planning on reading another of King’s novels, perhaps Carrie. However, I settled on reading a new fiction book I saw on the shelves of Barnes & Noble while book shopping a few weeks ago.
I was captivated by the title and cover of The Boy Who Drew Monsters, as it seemed to be perfect for what I wanted to read. The brief plot description on the back also helped in pushing me to buy the novel by Keith Donohue.
When it finally came time for me to read it, I was excited to see what kind of psychological thriller would unfold before me. Every chapter my anticipation grew and grew. Then it grew some more. Then my excitement, and even my interest, began to wane.
Don’t get me wrong, Donohue is a skilled writer. The main characters became well developed as the story progressed, as did the story itself.
The novel revolves around the Keenan family. Specifically, the story is about the single child of that family, Jack Peter Keenan. Jip, as he is referred to by his father, suffers from a severe form of Asperger’s. Jip’s condition, as well as his fear of leaving the house after nearly drowning a few year’s earlier, is taking a toll on his parents. His father still holds out hope that his son can overcome and even outgrow his current state, while Jip’s mother seems resigned to the fact that he will only get worse and will need more help then her and her husband can offer.
Th extent of the stress of caring for Jip, as well as the difficulty it took conceiving him, compounded with a serious indiscretion carried out by the father years earlier is very evident in the relationship between husband and wife.
As can be deduced by the book’s title, Jip somehow has the ability to draw creatures that come to life to haunt him and his family, as well as Jip’s closest and only friend, Nick. How Jip can accomplish this is never really explained which, in my opinion, detracted a bit from the book.
In any case, in a town that is rumored to be the location of a horrible shipwreck who’s unfortunate victims haunt the land, the Keenan’s make their home.
The combination of emotional and mental fatigue from a damaged marriage and caring for a son with serious needs leaves the Keenan family nearly helpless to the frightening onslaught of monsters that can only be created through a child’s overactive imagination.
What was supposed to be a dream house, and a dream life on the shore in Maine, turns out to be something much darker than anyone could have imagined.
As I was saying earlier though, despite the premise and character development being intriguing, I believe the book lacked the creepy build up to a big frightening moment(s).
Having said that, the ending of the novel and the startling plot twist revealed, more than made up for any issues I had with the rest of the book.
Overall, The Boy Who Drew Monsters, is a very readable and well developed book that will leave your jaw dropped in the ending pages.
I would certainly recommend you give this novel a read!