A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

— feeling beaten
A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel - Paul Tremblay

Wow! I am going to have a hard time writing this review simply because I have all these questions rolling around in my head. I'll try to make it brief as I do not want to give much away. I think anyone who reads this book will come away with something different about it.


Here we meet the Barretts family. They are suffering financially after the father is laid off. Not only is this putting a strain on the family , but then their oldest daughter, Marjorie, starts exhibiting signs of schizophrenia, or maybe demonic possession. In an effort to get her help as she rapidly descends into madness, and to make some money in the process,  they agree to become part of a reality show that documents their plight.


Their story is told mainly through the eyes of their youngest daughter, Merry, who is now much older and telling her story to an author writing a book about her experience.


I loved the relationship between Merry and her sister and how the author portrayed them. That was well done. I also think he did a fantastic job showing how the different characters' personalities deteriorated as the stresses of what they were going through increased.


There were many twists and turns to this story as you start to question what was real and what was not. I am sure much of it had to do with Merry's imperfect recall of the events, which took place when she was only eight years old. 


I have to say this: I hated the blog part of the book. It almost took me completely out of the story and I felt it was unnecessary. That being said though, I must admit that the last blog post did make me pause, as I tried to assess everything I've read to come up with some kind of explanation. I got this niggling thought in the back of my brain that somehow, Merry, might have been just as messed up as her sister. It's hard to explain, but

the Merry telling the story, and the Merry writing the blog seemed like 2 very different people, and I wondered if maybe she wasn't also schizophrenic herself. I realize that some people think that her character might have also been 'possessed'. I don't know if I would go that far, but I do think something strange was going on with her too. It's hard to explain, but there it is.

(show spoiler)



Anyway, I truly enjoyed this one, but I am subtracting a star for the blogs (although I did enjoy the movie references). I would love to see this one made into a movie.


I normally don't read books on this subject as I find the storyline has been done to death, but reading the review of this book by another Booklikes member made me pick it up. I am glad I did. Don't let the slow beginning fool you, it does get better.


4 stars- Recommended