Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

Posted On 19 December 2022

Filed under Book Reviews
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My Five Word TL:DR Review: Disturbingly dark, haunting and compelling

Just Like Home Final for Peter

So Just Like Home isn’t my first Gailey read nor will it be my last.  In some respects, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure that I liked this and yet I was glued to the pages and can’t deny that the author has come up with a compelling read.

I’m not going to discuss the plot other than to say this is about a woman, called back to her childhood home where her mother is dying.  This is a strange house.  Once home to a serial killer unspeakable crimes have taken place behind it’s closed doors and if it’s possible for a house to absorb the evil, to become a haunting itself then I’d say this particular home has turned into something creepy, not to mention, the house itself has become something of a macabre museum.

The main character is Vera and her story is told in alternating timelines.  We flip backwards and forwards to a much younger version and observe the strained relationship Vera has with her mother whilst enjoying a close bond with her father.  The later storyline is about Vera’s reluctant return home at the request of her mother.  The other main character is a young man, an artist, who seems to have wangled himself into the affections of Vera’s mother and is undertaking a project that involves an art installation using bits and pieces of house memorabilia.

I’m not going to elaborate too much more as I don’t really want to give anything away  but I would say that this does make for a disturbing read and there are numerous elements that compel you to keep reading.  I found myself fascinated by Vera, I couldn’t make my mind up if she was a reliable narrator or not, she came across at times as scared to be in the house but at the same time as her secrets are slowly revealed I found that impossible to believe.  To be truthful I actually didn’t like any of the characters here and this is something that undoubtedly makes me struggle to like a book.  I mean, on the one hand, you’re not really supposed to like these characters, they’re hard and unforgiving, but on the other hand I wanted somebody here to redeem themselves a little.  If I manage to put those particular feelings to one side I can confess that I was hooked, I wasn’t maybe pleasantly hooked, but I simply couldn’t stop reading.  The thirst for clarity pushed me onwards. I was fascinated by Vera’s childhood and desperate to know what really happened all those years ago.

So, although I wouldn’t say that I particularly enjoyed this book, it’s dark, a bit dismal, a little slow to start and is populated with characters that are impossible to like, it is undoubtedly a hypnotic read with startlingly eloquent prose and a shocking ending that brings a touch of the supernatural. If you like your horror to come with a touch of weird then give this one a try.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 3 of 5 stars

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4 Responses to “Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey”

  1. readinginthewildwood

    Awesome review! I’ve heard mixed things about this one, but it keeps catching my attention.

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Your review proved very intriguing because on one side the story proved compelling while the characters were not. That’s enough to make me very curious… 😉

  3. Tammy

    This wasn’t my favorite Sarah Gailey either, but I thought the unsettling atmosphere was fantastic.

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    You and I are pretty much on the same page with this one. On the surface not much was wrong with it, and I didn’t dislike it…but I think the overall grim mood definitely dragged down my mood and that might have biased me against the book somewhat.

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