Wednesday, 10 September 2014


by Susan Hill
208 pp. Vintage £7.99. (Ages 15 and up)


Rating: ? Stars

    This book started off on Christmas day with a man called Arthur thinking about his past and then deciding to write a book about the experience he had with a ghost when he was younger. He decides to write a book about his experience for the other members of his family to read. The rest of the book is the book he wrote about his experience with the woman in black. It starts of with him going to an old house to sort out the papers of a lady who died. He decides to go to the lady’s funeral as he is sorting out her things. Surprisingly, he is basically the only person there. At her funeral he sees a lady wearing all black with bluish white skin. Strangely, when he asks who she is no one seems to want to talk about her. Also he begins to hear strange noises at night even though no one except him is inside the house. To find out more, read the book.     The main character in this book was Arthur. However, he was not my favourite character. The dog, called Spider, was my favourite character because he seemed like such a good dog and helped Arthur not be so afraid of the strange noises in the night and of the woman in black.
    The scariest part of this book was when Arthur and his dog, Spider, heard the noise of someone dog whistling. At that point, Spider ran off and got stuck in the quicksand and nearly died. Luckily Arthur barely managed to pull Spider out without going under himself. The strange thing was, no one was near them for miles around. This was my favourite part because it was much more scary than the rest of the book as, firstly, the dog and Arthur nearly died and secondly no one could have whistled to Spider but someone did.     The worst part of this book was the entire first half, as I found it quite boring. My main reason for thinking this is that nothing scary happened at the beginning. Instead there is suspense, but no promise that the story will build up to a real ghost story. Suspense is good…but you have to make more things happen than seeing a strange looking lady and hearing whispers about her. Basically, you shouldn't leave all the scary and exciting bits to the end.
    The reason I read this book was for school as we were learning about suspense writing. In my opinion this book had extremely good descriptive and suspense writing because she conceals who the woman at the funeral is, only letting on that she’s a sinister and spooky character, but was a bit too slow and boring for my taste. However if you are a writer and need ideas for how to write a ghost story then this book is perfect because your getting shivers up your spine throughout most of the story.
    I think this book deserves 3.5 out of five stars because it was scary and sad, but a bit too dull for me. I would recommend that if you are under 10 you definitely don't read this book because you will probably find it very boring, as it is quite slow and action lacking. If you are older you may like it, but I suggest you wait until your 15 to read it because or else it may be hard to enjoy it because although you don’t need quite so much action to make it interesting when your about 13, but it would still probably be too slow. I also suggest that if you dislike scary or sad books you don't read this as it's quite scary and has a really sad ending.
    I realize this review has been a bit contradictory so I shall explain my muddled feelings as well as I can. On the one hand I feel that this is definitely not a page turner, spends to much time on the boring parts and that I wouldn’t recommend it to most people. However, on the other hand I appreciate that it does send some shivers up your spine and that when you are on the scary/sad parts she does write very well. I hope this has helped explain my contradictory feelings to you, I apologise for not being able to pick one side.