Book Review 228 // The Juniper Tree by Peter Straub

Continuing my journey into modern horror, I was greeted with "The Juniper Tree" novella by Peter Straub. Straub is a name I have seen around and mentioned, so I was intrigued to read this. Oh boy, I was not ready for this piece! When I entered these horror stories, I expected Ghosts, Stalkers, and movie-style horror villains. So far, though, I have just been getting the dark side of humanity, and I am not sure I will or can continue on this path.

The Juniper Tree describes, in too much detail, the encounter of a lonely boy with an adult male in a movie theatre during his summer break. The boy has been skipping school-programmed activities and using his lunch money to get into the local theatre. Here he sees the local daytime viewers and is soon "befriended" by one. From here, we are led down a dark path of betrayal and some seriously dark aspects of our world.

As a parent reading this, it broke me. I can't imagine this world, though I know it exists and is sadly accurate. It scares me, which is what I want from a horror title, right? But this is too raw and real for me. I don't know what to say. The writing and story had pace, but the theme was too much for me. Read with caution.

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