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Thursday, October 9, 2014

#Book #Review: 3/5 stars for The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson @PenguinClassics #ripix

TITLE: The Haunting of Hill House 
AUTHOR: Shirley Jackson 
PUBLISHER: Penguin Classics
PUBLICATION DATE: November 28, 2006 (first published 1959)
FORMAT: Paperback, 182 pages
GENRE: Classics, Gothic, Horror
ISBN: 9780143039983

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


Because I have always wanted to read this gothic classic, I joined The Haunting of Hill House Readalong hosted by The Estella Society.

Dr. John Montague, a doctor of philosophy with a degree an anthropology, has a keen interest in supernatural manifestations. He rents Hill House for three months because of its reputation of being haunted. He handpicks a group of assistants who have had some past involvement with what can only be described as paranormal occurrences and invites them to spend the summer at Hill House. Out of the dozen people that were invited, only two take him up on his offer: 32 year-old Eleanor Vance and another woman named Theodora ("Theo"). It was also recommended to Dr. Montague to take along a member of the family who owned the house, and the owner's nephew (Luke Sanderson) joined the trio.

While I did enjoy the story, it was not as scary as I hoped that it would be. I was hoping for the same level of psychological creepiness as Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger but, for me, it did not deliver the same chills. The best part of the book was the ending, and I give props to Jackson for that! It was a five-star ending, and I only wish that the rest of the book could have achieved that level of enthrallment!

I intend to watch both film adaptations, both called The Haunting: the original 1963 version and the re-make from 1999. I will come back later to edit my review to add in my thoughts regarding the movies!


3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it!

This book qualifies as: 
#4 for my 2014 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
#4 for my 2014 Let Me Count The Ways Reading Challenge: Book Level
#3 for my 2014 Quick Fix Challenge       
#2 for my 2014 Women Challenge
#3 for my New Author Challenge 2014
#3 for my 2014 Reading Challenge: First-Reads   
#4 for my I Love Library Books Reading Challenge 2014 
#3 for my 2014 Literary Exploration Reading Challenge 
#2 for my The Eclectic Reader Challenge 2014
#1 for my 2014 Reading Outside The Box Book Challenge
#1 for my 2014 Horror Reading Challenge
#1 for my The Classics Reading Challenge 2014
#1 for my Back to the Classics Challenge 2014
#1 for my 2014 Book to Movie Challenge
#4 for my 2014 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge
#2 for my 2014 Monthly Key Word Challenge
#3 for my 2014 Monthly Motif Challenge
#2 for my Retreat's Reading Bingo Challenge 2014

View all my reviews


  1. I have seen both films, but have never read the book. I bet the book has so much more. I enjoyed the original film best, but perhaps it was more because it left me with chills that I remember to this day that now would seem campy :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today.

    1. That's what I've heard as well, Denise. I heard that the re-make is not true to the original story. I'm looking forward to seeing the original! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. A horror book that isn't very scary is kinda disappointing, so I can definitely understand your rating, but at least the ending kind of made up for it. Hopefully the movies will have a higher chill factor to them. Have a wonderful weekend, Darlene!

  3. Bummer it didn't give you chills, but I am glad the ending made up for it.

  4. I think that scary in 1959 was likely quite different than what we consider scary today. Society continually becomes more desensitized. Do you think that would apply to this story? I just know watching classic movies like the original Psycho, The Omen, etc aren't nearly as scary now as they were when first released. I am guessing though as I haven't read this book yet. I have been wanting to and will add it to my list. Thanks for the reminder. (Also thrilled to find a fellow Winnipegger :))


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