In an attempt to enter into and better understand the entertainment shaping my kids and the rest of today's youth, I submit my latest review of books effecting a primarily YA audience. My goal is not to critique the art form as much as look at how the story reflects and shapes the readers' worldview.
This review will look at Horns, a novel by Joe Hill, talented son of Stephen King. As is increasingly the case with popular YA fiction, a movie is in the works (Mandalay Pictures and Red Granite Pictures are making sure Horns comes soon to a theater near you, with
There will be spoilers.
Most people believe that Ignatius Martin Perrish raped and killed his girlfriend, Merrin. Ig didn’t do this, but since that tragedy he has steadily spiraled into chaos. He wakes up one morning after a drunken binge to discover horns growing out of his head. It makes a twisted kind of sense. The horns are just a visible reminder of what is arising deep inside. To make matters worse, when people get near him they reveal their most evil thoughts. He sees their history in a moment when they touch him, and it’s not pleasant.
He learns that his friends, family, priests, doctors, and policemen all secretly hate him, but they are hardly in a position to judge, They have their own terrible secrets. As Ig realizes that he has the power to influence them toward things they secretly want to do, he begins to embrace the hell within and use his power to create a world more to his liking.
“Now that he was used to it, he far preferred being a demon. The cross was a symbol of that most human condition: suffering. And Ig was sick of suffering. If someone had to get nailed to a tree, he wanted to be the one holding the hammer… If you were going to live in hell on earth, there was something to be said for being one of the devils. ”This book’s language is coarse, its characters crude, and its message terrible. Did I say that bluntly enough? It's also extremely engaging. Mr. Hill is an accomplished writer, and he understands his YA crowd. If you have teens or work with them in some capacity, Horns is worth knowing about just so you understand the way in which this generation increasingly views the world. Trust me; it's unsettling.