The Girl on the Glider is the first book I’ve read by Keene, and I am so glad it was. After reading this book, I honestly feel connected to Keene. That may sound creepy however the reader is literally looking into Keene’s diary and into his life.
The Girl on the Glider is a 99 page short and written in diary form with chapter titles named “Entry 1, Entry 2, etc.” So what’s the story about? Keene is a horror writer and this story is about his very personal, and very real experience about being haunted by a girl who died in a car accident at the top of his driveway in Pennsylvania. This actually happened.
Keene also name drops actual people within the horror community who are his friends, business partners, and confidants. He explains who each of these people are by using footnotes, opening up opportunities for the reader to discover other horror writers and publishing houses. I really appreciated this.
Keene describes the strange events that followed the death of this girl and how it affected his family: his wife, his baby, his dog and cat. He writes about it in the moment and moved on to publish it as a short book. It falls in line with classic accounts of haunting experiences that you might hear from a friend, a coworker, or a family member. Naturally, the reader learns about his writing process and his life as a writer. It’s so raw.
Was it scary? Yes. It wasn’t the type of fear you experience from reading about demons or vampires. It’s that fear we have all felt when we are purely alone, maybe alone in the dark, and you just feel something around you and you know something is there that you can’t quite see. The real fear that exists in real life.
Keene’s writing is authentic, sincere, and genuine, so much so that I teared up at the end. I teared up because although it’s creepy, the death of this girl at the top of his driveway forces Keene to turn inward and he discovers some truths about himself and his life. But it’s not just a discovery for him. It’s a discovery for the reader, one that keeps you thinking about your own life too. It’s an emotionally deep storytelling about someone haunting his house and haunting him.
This book is not merely entertainment. Imagine finding a writer’s diary, opening it up, and reading an entry called The Girl on the Glider.
(Oh yeah, and I found a signed copy at a bookstore near my house.)
Here are some of my favorite quotes from The Girl on the Glider:
The only part of my body I couldn’t write without is my brain, and apparently, my brain has decided to declare war on me.
They make fun of Whitley Strieber for saying he was abducted by gray aliens possessed with a disturbing fascination for his bunghole.
My name is Brian Keene and I am either losing my mind or I am being haunted. Or both.
Writing books like that - pouring your personal shit into a novel or short story - that’s like confession and an exorcism and six months of therapy all rolled into one.
“Chugga chugga, choo choo, spin around. Every letter has a sound.”
You might just be an echo of time.
...it was over before it had ever even really started.
Check out Brian Keene’s website.
Check out Keene’s podcast: The Horror Show with Brian Keene.
Check out my last book review: The Deal Maker by Lou Yardley.
Thanks for tuning in,
I am Sterp. I write dark fiction and have a very unhealthy obsession with disturbing narratives. I am the author of The Cult Called Freedom House: Sophia Rey Book One. My short story The Lost Tea Cup is in Issue 26 of The Literary Hatchet. I am also a painter.
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