A true master of horror, giving even Stephen King a run for his money! Prepare to open up to the first chapter and become instantly sucked into the mouth of hell and devoured by the beast yourself! Poor Things, by Daniel Barnett is a page-turning masterpiece! Barnett is truly a Shakespeare of his craft; depicting imagery through poetic language that guarantees to make every reader shiver right down to the bone. This novel is a must read for any horror lover who appreciates a well-articulated story line with just the right amount of detail. This novel is full of depth, morality, struggles, metaphors, symbolism, imagery, scares, and plenty of gore!
Joel, the main protagonist of this story, demonstrates the most growth throughout the course of the novel. In the beginning, Joel is portrayed as a bit of a bully and the reader can definitely get a sense of the dysfunction between his two parents. However, the reader also sees glimpses of a deeper empathetic complex within Joel. Joel’s accident proves to humble his character and fosters an honest sense of morality. The struggles in which Joel faces throughout the novel gradually depicts the strength his character carries. Joel faces many circumstances in which he falls victim too, however, each and every time, he choses to defy the odds and not let himself succumb to the stereotypical victim role. Time and time again, Joel emerges as a hero.
Barnett uses many metaphors and symbolisms throughout his novel when constructing both the overall themes and atmosphere of the story. This story has Native American roots and the author incorporates those roots symbolically into the story. The bear in Native American culture often symbolises strength and protection. The bear in this story is instead dangerous and Joel has great fear for it. The true horror is that the bear is being controlled by something even more powerful. The bear can be argued as a metaphor for Joel’s character in the way Joel radiates great strength, morality, protection, and heroism. In turn, Joel’s friends prove to be Joel’s bear. Because of this circular connection, the reader can argue that there is a hierarchy theme as well. The deer in the beginning of the story also holds symbolic value. Deers in the Native American culture are often viewed as a messenger. It seems fitting that the deer was placed in the beginning of the story as a wounded and stranded animal. The deer is seen before the accident, almost as if foreshadowing what is to come.
Throughout the novel, the author details each event through vivid imagery and poetic language. In the very beginning to the novel, the reader gets a taste of the imagery found throughout the book, when the family comes across a wounded deer in the middle of the road. Barnett describes the reality of the scene with beautifully unique and raw comparisons. The image left in the reader’s mind is one that is hard to view, but rich in grotesque nature, and also heart wrenching and emotional. Soon after, the reader is faced with another similar scene, but instead, Joel and his family are the victims. Throughout these scenes, the reader can really both feel and experience what Joel is going through on such an intimate and personal level.
For anyone who is a horror buff or has the ability to stomach horror, this novel is well worth the read. Poetry lovers, those who enjoy well-written prose, and even those who just appreciate the beauty of language and imagery, this book comes highly recommended! There is much depth and culture filling this story and it is depicted in such an intelligent and philosophical way, that almost anyone can find enjoyment in the beauty of this novel.
by Daniel Barnett
Summer crashes to an end on a winding road. Just like that, football superstar Joel Harper finds himself rolling his wheelchair into a new school in a strange town. Soon he’s making friends of misfits, taking lessons in Iron Maiden, and trying to keep away from a ruthless bully with a penchant for switchblades. Little is he aware, something ancient and wounded has awoken deep beneath the tiny mountain community, and when it surfaces, all of Honaw will know its pain.