Since reading last year’s WANDERERS, I’ve become a fan of Mr. Wendig. Now, with his latest book, my fandom is locked in. THE BOOK OF ACCIDENTS is full of heart, while packing in the pain and the scares, in new and delicious ways.
Nate’s estranged father is dying which is fine with Nate because he hates the man. Both Nate and his wife grew up in the same town and they decide to move back into Nate’s childhood home along with their son, Oliver. Right from the beginning things are not right; Nate sees his dad’s ghost, his wife Maddie carves wooden animals that sometimes disappear and Oliver? Well, Oliver feels pain. Everyone’s pain. How will this family cope with these odd happenings? Are these events harmful? Will the family survive this house? You’ll have to read this to find out!
In some ways this narrative reminded me of old Stephen King novels, and other novels of the late 70’s and early 80’s. A small rural town in Pennsylvania, old mines, the town’s history so vivid you feel like you can touch it. For me, those portions reminded me a lot of Salem’s Lot specifically, and how we got to know that town.
Then there’s the characters-Nate, troubled by his abusive childhood. Maddie, driven to create art even if she doesn’t know why. And Oliver, the poor young man who is so empathetic he feels the pain of others as his own. The author makes us care for them so much, and then he rips our hearts out.
There is a lot going on here, and I can’t get into it all, but Chuck Wendig blends it together seamlessly. There are other worlds than these, right? (Another thing that put me in mind of Stephen King.) The protagonists here are easy to love and the antagonists easy to hate, but these are not simple characters. They’re complicated and messy and even more realistic as a result.
This is a long book, but never once did I feel it was too long; I was too immersed in the story to care. THE BOOK OF ACCIDENTS is a marvelous read that will have you on the edge of your seat, either cringing or cheering, and who doesn’t love that?
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!