My Heart is a Chainsaw

My Heart is a Chainsaw – Stephen Graham Jones

MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW follows Jade, a seventeen year old on the verge of graduation.  She’s lived a pretty rough life and to cope, she immersed herself into an obsession with slasher movies hoping that one day a real-life slasher would manifest in her town.  Well, that day has arrived.  Someone is killing people in the sleepy town of Proofrock, Idaho and it’s up to Jade to see it through and find the final girl who will be left standing when all is said and done.

I found MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW to be a difficult read at times.  While the story starts off strong, it takes some time for things to get going as the author lays the groundwork for Jade and the novel’s wide cast of characters.  The bulk of the novel focuses on Jade’s obsession as she guides the reader through the history and importance of the horror subgenre, while at the same time noticing trends in her real life that suggest a maniac is on the loose.  

Horror aficionados will likely enjoy the deep cuts in Jade’s knowledge, but to me, it became overly repetitive.  I was eager for the blood to start spilling.  I found myself growing numb to the constant mentions of the virtues of 80s slasher cinema and the 70s films that paved the way.  While the copies of Jade’s essays handed in to her history teacher helped to grow the character, I felt there were too many of them and I began to tire of reading them.  Jones really wants the reader in Jade’s head and I felt like I was locked in there at times looking for a way out.

All that said, once the action kicks into full gear around the 70% mark, the book becomes hard to put down.  Stephen Graham Jones has a visceral style that is akin to gawking at a car crash – you just can’t look away.  Much of the violence here is memorable to say the least and will stick with me for some time to come.

While I generally liked MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW, it’s not the best Stephen Graham Jones book I’ve ever read (THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS holds that title), but it’s definitely one I can see selling well come the spooky season this fall.  I think there could be a way to shave off nearly 100 pages and make this story tighter, but that’s just me.  

3 thoughts on “My Heart is a Chainsaw

  1. Pingback: Chainsaw lists, reviews, more – Stephen Graham Jones

  2. Pingback: My Heart is a Chainsaw – Stephen Graham Jones

  3. Pingback: The Final Girl Support Group | Every Read Thing

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