The Pallbearers Club

The Pallbearers Club – Paul Tremblay

The Pallbearers Club follows Art Barbara, a lonesome teen who started his own extracurricular activity in an effort to bulk up his college applications. The club, consisting of just two people – Art and his eccentric friend Mercy – volunteers its time to act as pallbearers for those who have passed with little to no family.

The book itself is written in the form of a memoir from the viewpoint of Art. What makes it truly different is that the manuscript has been “found” by Mercy who offers up her own commentary and corrections in the form of red ink within the margins of the book.

My favorite part of the book is the execution. I loved the sort of “back-and-forth” between Art and Mercy (even though Mercy’s notes were obviously after-the-fact). You could tell they had a great relationship and Mercy’s foreshadowing made me want to read ahead as to where things were going.

But that is sort of where it ends for me. I feel bad knocking the story itself as Paul noted that it’s sort of autobiographical. I just didn’t find it all that interesting and without the gimmick of Mercy adding in her notes and contradicting Art, I’m sure I would have had a tough time continuing at points. Mercy is just so interesting and exciting and Art is so endlessly dull – I suppose that’s the point and it’s why the relationship clicks, but it made some moments where Mercy sort of vanishes almost unbearable when exposed to Art’s smugness.

All that being said, the ending was pretty wild. I enjoyed where Tremblay took things given the narrative’s weird existence between the supernatural and the just plain weird. I did go back and read the ending twice just to make sure I truly understood where things were going. I don’t know if it makes up for my whole experience, but it did raise my overall rating up from 2 to 3 stars.

At times, I feel like I’m riding this high from how much I loved A Head Full of Ghosts when it comes to reading and reviewing his other books. I still have a handful of his novels to read, but I don’t know if I would put this one near the top of the pile.

One thought on “The Pallbearers Club

  1. Pingback: Chasing The Boogeyman | Every Read Thing

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