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Scaring Myself

I have a soft spot in my heart for monsters.  For vampires and werewolves and things that lurk in the dark.

But every once in a while, a realistic scary story gets accidentally thrown into the mix.  And then I freak myself out.

The first one was Silence of the Lambs.  I regret reading that.  While I don’t worry about cannibalistic serial killers, the Jame Gumb part hit close to home.  Real women are abducted.  Real women are held hostage.  The scene where Starling is being stalked in the basement gave me nightmares.

I usually avoid crime scene shows or thrillers.  But this summer, I’ve been lulled into a false sense of okayness.  It started with The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  That wasn’t that scary.  Then I read Her by Harriet Lane.  That was okay, too.  Then I read The Luckiest Girl Alive which wasn’t scary at all.  And then I picked up Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl.

And I am officially freaked out.

I was reading the book while out, leaning against a counter.  A man came up and softly told me that he needed to reach past me to grab something, and I jumped a mile into the air.  He looked alarmed that I looked so alarmed, and I explained that I was reading a scary, scary, scary book and this was a bad, bad, bad idea.

He insisted that I should keep reading because I was clearly so engrossed in it that I didn’t even hear him come up beside me.  But, well, I’m not sure that’s such a good thing.

If I do get to the end of this, I’m going to need something like a Princess Bride chaser to slow down my heart.

Has anyone read Gillian Flynn’s other books besides Gone Girl.  Are they very scary?  Know any other authors that write things that are interesting vs. terrifying?


1 Fly { 08.11.15 at 8:47 am }

I’ve read the other Gillian Flynn books and I actually liked them better than Gone Girl. Very scary? Not that I can recall.

2 a { 08.11.15 at 9:02 am }

I didn’t find any of the Gillian Flynn books to be scary, per se. Overly dark and pessimistic about people, maybe. But it’s just far enough past reality for me to find it more interesting to think about why Flynn hates people so much that everyone is unredeemable. So, I don’t know if she’s doing a good job as a writer, since I’m spending time wondering about her rather than connecting with her characters.

Also, my favorite book to recommend right now is The Martian by Andy Weir. It’s got something for everyone – technology, adventure, drama, humor. But I just found a list of the 100 best romances, so I’m working on reading trash for the foreseeable future.

3 Sharon { 08.11.15 at 9:28 am }

I read two other books by Flynn – Dark Places and Sharp Places – and I found them dark and suspenseful in parts but not exactly “scary.”

The Good Girl is on my “to be read” list, but your post has given me second thoughts about reading it. I don’t need that kind of stress, LOL

4 Ana { 08.11.15 at 9:50 am }

thanks for the warning. I will NOT read that book (It was on my considerations list). I do not like to be scared. DO NOT LIKE. I don’t get what people describe as “deliciously creepy”, no, I go straight to abject terror, heart racing, can’t sleep, jumping at every noise…and it lasts for weeks after reading or watching something that really freaks me out.
I didn’t think The girl on the train was scary at all. dark, depressing, yes. Haven’t read the other Gillian Flynn books yet, but they are on my list, and I’m glad to know they aren’t scary!

5 Chris { 08.11.15 at 11:46 am }

Hmm, I’ll have to look into that. Mysteries (i.e the James Patterson books) are my favorites. I devour those in one sitting when he gets a new book. People who interrupt me when he has a new book out are met with glares and harsh comments. 🙂

6 nonsequiturchica { 08.11.15 at 12:31 pm }

I didn’t have any problems with Flynn’s two other books…

7 Jjiraffe { 08.11.15 at 2:42 pm }

Room was that book for me. I watched the trailer for the upcoming movie and it somehow made the book even scarier for me. Full body shudder.

8 Megan { 08.11.15 at 2:46 pm }

I read Dark Places and thought it was scarier than Gone Girl (I have a very low tolerance for remotely scary books). I did read Good Girl. I won’t give any spoilers, but do finish that one.

9 Erica { 08.11.15 at 4:12 pm }

I sympathize. I read Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon when I was in High School, on a night when I was home alone and my parents and brother were at a basketball game in another town. I ended up locking myself in the bathroom and freaking out when everyone came home. After that, I try to avoid any books that are more scary than suspenseful even when I know they’d be entertaining (sorry, Stephen King).

10 stacey { 08.11.15 at 6:02 pm }

I hate being scared, and I hate scary books and movies. One book that I’m not sure would fall into this category, but that I hated hated HATED was Every Last One by Anna Quindlen. I’m not even sure I would call it scary, exactly, but it was horrifying and tragic and seems like it could be very real because those kinds of things really do happen. I just couldn’t handle it. It messed with my head for months. Maybe years. I’m so glad now I can think about it without getting freaked out and put it into perspective. Shudder.

11 Katherine A { 08.11.15 at 7:57 pm }

Not a fan of truly scary mysteries or thrillers and I avoid horror movies like the plague. I like mysteries, but not so much the gruesome ones. Of course, it’s all relative – I’d read several Mary Higgins Clark books and been fine until I hit one that had a particular scene that really terrified me. Interesting that you mention “Silence of the Lambs”, that scene where Starling is stalked in the basement also got to me in a bad way. A few years ago when they made one of the sequel movies to “Silence of the Lambs”, one of the previews had an awful image of Lecter emerging out of the shadows that for some reason struck me in a much more horrifying way than the original…

I did okay with the other two Gillian Flynn novels, though.

12 Kristin { 08.12.15 at 12:13 am }

I haven’t read any of her other books yet. The writing in Gone Girl impressed me enough that I am interested in her books but I truly kind of hated Gone Girl and that turned me away. Ugh…how to decide?

13 JustHeather { 08.12.15 at 3:04 pm }

I used to like scary books when I was in high school (Dean Koontz, John Saul…No King please) and watched Pet Cemetery, It (still freaked out by drains), Kujo (uncurtained windows at night on the first floor? No thanks!) but I stopped before I was out of high school. I think it was right around the time I was reading a book where there was a black dog roaming around at night that wasn’t friendly and I had my own evening encounter. Ugh.
I don’t mind suspense, but nothing scary.

I’ve not read any of those books, I might have to check some out. 🙂

14 Lori Lavender Luz { 08.12.15 at 10:37 pm }

Room really stayed with me.

15 Middle Girl { 08.15.15 at 11:17 am }

Room stayed with me too.

While not a fan of being scared, I will read a story that scares me even when I know I may feel fearful for some time after. I don’t, however, go to the movie as a general rule, though I have seen Silence of the Lambs. I am filled up with atrocities to women. So, avoiding “women in peril” stories, generally speaking. Enough of that in the daily news.

16 Mina { 08.30.15 at 9:47 am }

I’m here just to concur with a (as usual) THE MARTIAN is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I have absolutely loved it. I will go see the film as well, even though Matt Damon is not what I had in mind when reading it.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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