Weekly Geeks #16: Heart Shaped Box

Dewey's Weekly Geeks this time around was a lot of fun.

This week’s theme is to pair up with another Weekly Geek and interview each other about a book.

I was paired with Eva from A Striped Armchair. I interviewed her about Pirates by Celia Rees. For her part she asked me some questions about Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. Here's how it turned out.

Eva: What made you read Heart-Shaped Box? Was it for the R.I.P. challenge?

Yes, it was actually. Last year during the RIP II Challenge so many bloggers read it that I added it to my list of must reads. I've had it for a while on my shelf now, I bought it on sale, but was saving it for Carl's challenge.

Eva: How does this one compare to other ghost/horror books you've read?

This ghost story is updated since the main character, Jude, buys the ghost on the internet. After that I don't think there were many great surprises. One thing I found that was different is that we know the motives of the ghost. He comes out and tells us what he plans on doing. In most other ghost stories, the ghost and the haunting are usually a mystery and the characters have to figure it out. It also wasn't a very gory story, which is a good thing.

Eva: Did the book scare you at all?

Not really. I'm the type of person who shuts her eyes during a movie before the ghost jumps out of the closet. I'm not scared once the ghost is already there. I like the mystery. For me, it was more suspenseful than scary...will they make it? can anyone help them? That kind of thing.

Eva: Did you think Jude Coyne (the main character)'s evolution through the novel was realistic? In fact, in general did Joe Hill succeed in making him feel like a real person or was he more like a characteriture?

I think it was realistic. Jude grew up throughout the novel, which is odd since he's 54 years old. He career as a rock star made him very self-absorbed and childish. Then once the ghost appears, he has to start making decisions that not only affect him but the people around him.

Eva: Speaking of characters, it seems like Hill took a definite risk in that every character in the book has a lot of bad qualities. Do you think he succeeded in making the reader care about them anyway? Or were you secretly rooting for the ghost?

They weren't really awful people, just damaged. They all had a background that made them the way they were. The character I liked was Georgia, and if I could touch on your last question a little, I found she changed the most in the novel. At the beginning, I thought of her as a bimbo and figured she'd be the standard 'Girlfriend' of the horror genre. It turns out she becomes a strong female character. I was rooting for her the most!
Eva: What was your favourite scene/moment in the book? Or if not a favourite, maybe one that will stay with you?

When Jude sees the other ghost in Bammy's backyard. That was really heart breaking. I'm also mad at Joe Hill about the dogs- you know what I mean.

Eva: Was this a fast read for you, or did you have to plod through parts?

I found it was fast paced. I read it in about 2 days and was so engrossed I barely paid attention to anything else.

Eva: Without any spoilers, did you think the ending was satisfying? Was it what you were expecting?

Maybe he could have left out quite a few bits at the end. It was very Dickens, "Here's what happens to everyone" all tied up very nicely. I was still pretty pleased with it though.

Eva: Who would you recommend this book to?

Anyone with an interest in a thriller/ghost type read. I'd call it Stephen King lite. It's a great Halloween read, perfect for Carl's challenge.

Eva: Anything else you wanted to talk about that I missed?

I don't think so. I think you have it all covered. Thanks for participating with me!

Other Reviews:
Nymeth @ Things Mean a Lot


  1. I liked Georgia a lot too. And I also found it more suspenseful than scary.

    Very nice interview :)

  2. Yes! I was definitely rooting for Georgia as well. And I agree with you--a little more anonymity might've been nice at the end. And the dogs. Hmmphf. Overall a fast read for me, too.

  3. Very good points on Georgia. But really you weren't scared?! :)

    I think the very first time he sees the ghost is the scene that got me. From then on I was just in suspense as to what was going to happen.

    Great interview you guys!

  4. Georgia was my favourite too! The hallway scene scared me, but other than that I found it more suspenceful. In fact, I pretty much agree with you on everything. ;)

    This was fun!

  5. I loved the quote that it was "Stephen King lite"! That is exactly how I felt. I enjoyed the book but it didn't scare me either.

  6. This was a fun quick and fun read for me. What you mention about all the characters being a bit damaged was something I really appreciated in this book, it seemed to make them more realistic characters.
    Terrific interview!

  7. I'd forgotten about this book! I'd meant to read it last year. Thanks for the updated review. Stephen King lite. I love that.

  8. Buys a ghost on the internet! This is already on my wishlist, but that makes me want to read it even more.

  9. I've not read this one, but I'm enjoying his collection of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts.

    It must be hard to get out from under the shadow when Stephen King's your father. I reread King's Danse Macabre recently, and you can really see the influences of SK's interests in Joe Hill's stories. You can imagine him growing up, with SK talking about the history of the genre over dinner.

  10. Rob- You would think the guy would have chosen a different genre, like children's literature. ;)

  11. I like the title. I have not been this genre much. I think I will. I liked the interview.

    WG #16: Interviewing

  12. What an interesting book. I wonder, how does one go about buying a ghost online. I guess I will have to read the book to find out!

  13. Here's mine:


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