October Book Club--The Haunting of Hill House

Every October our book club always mixes things up, gets crazy and chooses a scary book.  This month we chose a classic--The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. We also decided to make the evening all the more spooky by going to an Escape Room ((this was so much fun--we weren't very good, but we definitely enjoyed it) before dinner at the ever-fabulous Mabry House.  We chose this restaurant, located in an old, historic Shreveport home hoping for a little spooky atmosphere.

The Haunting of Hill House book definitely got mixed reviews from our book club.  (Warning--spoilers ahead!) The book is about four characters, Dr. Montague, a supernatural investigator and author; Eleanor Vance, a shy young woman who previously cared for her demanding disabled mother; Theodora, a flamboyant, bohemian artist and Luke Sanderson, the heir to Hill House, who is host to the others.  Dr. Montague hopes to find scientific evidence of the supernatural. He rents Hill House for a summer and invites as his guests, several people whom he has chosen because of their past experience with paranormal events. Of these, only Eleanor and Theodora accept. Eleanor travels to the house, where she and Theodora will live in isolation with Montague and Luke.

Hill House has two caretakers, Mr. and Mrs. Dudley, who refuse to stay near the house at night. The four overnight visitors begin to form friendships as Dr. Montague explains the building's history, which encompasses suicide and other violent deaths.  All four begin to experience strange events including noises and ghosts roaming the halls at night, strange writing on the walls and other unexplained events. Eleanor tends to experience phenomena to which the others are oblivious. At the same time, the narrator implies that Eleanor may be losing touch with reality.

As the book progresses, it becomes clear that the house is beginning to possess Eleanor. The others persuade Elanor to leave for her own safety, however, she regards the house as her home and resists. Dr. Montague and Luke force her into her car; she bids them farewell and drives off.  The book is vague and implies that Elanor is killed as she hits a large tree. The final paragraph that follows, the reader is left uncertain whether Eleanor was simply an emotionally disturbed woman who committed suicide, or whether her death at Hill House has a supernatural significance.

So, really most of us did not enjoy this book. It is well written, but not scary in the least.  Several of us also watched the movie, The Haunting, and the Netflix series.

The movie is closely related to the book, however, it ends very differently.  The movie ties in child abuse and a familial relation to Nell.  I actually liked the movie more than the book (which never happens), but I liked the Netflix series most of all.  

If you haven't watched the Netflix series, I recommend it 100%.  Most of us in our book club also recommend it, the others just haven't watched it yet.  It was completely different from the book, making all of the characters a family.  The show was also very, very spooky and scared the be-Jesus out of most of us (I'm not a huge scary movie fan, but I could handle this one).

We chose The Basement at the Escape Room and it was very hard.  

The Chef at the Mabry House posed for our picture--our food was absolutely delicious.

 Here's a few pics of our yummy food--Baked Oyster Appetizer, Snapper with Crab Meat Entreé,
Grilled Vegetable Risotto Entreé, Sauteéd Crab Cake Entreé, Duck Appetizer, and Mahi-Mahi with Shrimp Entreé.

We have decided to skip our November Book Club since we had October's so late in the month and we are planning our big annual Christmas Book Club early in December.  We are reading one of our favorite authors for December and her new winter series. (We have read The Winter Street series for the last four years.) If you've never read her books, you have to--they are some of my favorites--maybe one day she'll set one of them in Louisiana and want me to provide the recipes!!

Have you read any good books lately? We are always looking for a new one to love.



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