Back to top

How do you feel about scary puppets?

Cover of How to Sell a Haunted Hous
A review of How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

Louise left Charleston behind when she moved away for college at sixteen and returning to her childhood home after the unexpected death of her parents sends her into the same negative space and patterns she escaped from decades before. Louise's estranged brother Mark notifies her of their parents' fatal accident nearly two days after it takes place. The decisions he's made in the time between their death and Louise's arrival sends her into a spiral of anger and confusion. And then there's the house.

I thought I was digging into a story of grief and the delicate task of working with a sibling to clean out the home you grew up in. Based on the title, I expected there to be some haunting. It turns out there's a lot more in the house than ghosts. Louise's mom ran a successful puppet ministry and the house is full of her puppets, art supplies, materials and memories. If creepy toys scare you, this is definitely not the book to read before bedtime. If unresolved sibling rivalry scares you, be warned there's a lot of that to wade through, too.  

Wild family dynamics, generational trauma, and a fascinating culture of puppetry and religion provide an excellent framework for all of the otherworldly action. Overall, there's a lot of humor and I learned a lot about radical puppetry, something I knew nothing about before reading this book. I predict this will be made into a blockbuster horror film. There's definitely an audience for it.

Jul 24, 2023