Book Review 223 // Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament by Clive Barker

Something a little different this week. I've wanted to change up my reading of late and move beyond sci-fi. With this in mind, I started reading and reviewing some of my other loves - horror.

I am a big horror fan, especially the classic stalker-style or cosmic horror versions. But before diving head first into some classic titles, I wanted to visit some short stories. And where better to start than a Clive Barker tale.

Title: Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament
Author: Clive Barker
Page Count: 35 pages
It can be found in Clive Barker's Books of Blood (amazon link).


The story is straightforward and almost too simple in its direction. With it being written in 1984, it is a testing point for his later works and set his style for otherworldly body horror in motion. I could also be wrongfully incorrect and made up that fact.

Our lead character, Jacqueline, could be more likable. Though she is a strong-willed, independent character, she suffers from a weak back story. The title begins with an attempted suicide from which she is saved by her husband. The reason why she tried it is unknown, and we are just left with a character suffering from "nobody understands me" issues. This lack of understanding hinders the reader from bonding with the character as we should. This is an issue Barker fixes in later tales, so we can put this down to a lack of experience.

Following the suicide attempt, Jacqueline is sent to therapy, a place she does not want to be. To make matters worst, her doctor is shit! He is condescending and toxic, blaming her for wanting to commit suicide for attention and saying she is failing in her womanly duties. This helpful behaviour triggers a hidden power within Jacqueline, where she can manipulate human flesh with her mind. As she images the Doctor with breasts, we read has his body warps and starts producing breasts. Unfortunately, Jacqueline can't control these powers, and the doctor ultimately ruptures from the inside out!! Realizing her power, Jacqueline starts to practise and manipulate the world around her, and we join her on this life-changing adventure that ultimately leaves a pile of bodies behind.

Her time as a rich man's mistress was a highlight of the tale and definitely helped show character growth. While the ending was sad and depressing, it definitely rounded out the story.

Overall a solid read. Had its faults, but it gave me plenty to write about, so altogether a win.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I hope you enjoyed the post? I would love to hear your thoughts and start a conversation on the topic. If you have time please do hit follow.

Thank you for stopping by.

Search This Blog

Blood Bowl 2 League 4 - Summer Season - Union Elves VS Norse

Game seven of Blood Bowl 2 League 4 - Summer Season - Union Elves VS Norse Gameplay. Want more Blood Bowl? Follow me, and reach out if you a...