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Mary: An Awakening of Terror

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I was really happy that Cassidy put a thorough content warning before the story began, because I was able to prepare myself a bit before digging in, but even with the content warning I still had moments where I just had to put the book down for a bit. It ended up being one of my favorites of last year, and is genuinely one of the most unique/memorable reading experiences period.

There is one reference in Mary which is hard to miss; Stephen King's debut novel Carrie (1974), in which an oppressed and bullied young girl gains unexpected powers once her menstruation kicks in. It goes on forever and at times I just gave up trying to work out what was happening to whom and why. Playwright and podcaster Cassidy’s razor-sharp horror debut explores women’s roles as either prey or predator and cuts deeply into the societal structures that promotes the split. The Author's Note at the beginning and the Afterword at the end pretty much say everything I was trying to *do* with this book--and the former also offers some spoiler-free content warnings if you'd like them.HONESTLY the idea of this small town, conspiratorial, anti government cult putting this serial killer man on a pedestal is something I can see happening. But being back home brings something ugly and angry back to life in Mary, and she slowly starts to try to investigate the town's history and her connection to a serial killer who was shot dead by the police almost 50 years ago.

After reading the mention of Azazel, I was hoping we’d see some cool theological horror a la Hereditary, but alas, that was just me getting my hopes up.Overall, I really liked the voice that Nat Cassidy gave Mary Mudgett, and I liked some of the creative and scary aspects of the novel as well. Teaming up with Eleanor, a local teen fascinated by true crime podcasts, she uncovers ties between her ghosts and the serial killer Damon Cross. You can watch him battle giant mutant cockroaches and twentysomething malaise in the horror-comedy film "They Will Outlive Us All," available for streaming on this very site. In my case, I get a feeling that I am going to appreciate a book once I begin relating to the characters and to the writing style.

It's a good time for Mary to leave New York since she just got fired, and found out her rent is going to be so high she won't be able to afford it. This scene of her skipping naked down the hallway and singing full of life that same song only now it has a WHOLE new and beautiful meaning.I didn't lose interest but I did find myself wanting to read faster or skim unnecessary details a few times. he adds that he aimed at closing a certain circle - Carrie being on the opening side of reproductive/cycle horror, while Mary representing the middle age/closure. Cassidy expertly twists the invisibility and disposability of society’s most vulnerable into qualities ideally suited to a terrifying avenging angel. The point of this horror is that the horror is really the world's expectations of women and how we destroy ourselves and each other to the same intensity that the world destroys us. I had my eye on it for awhile, as it touts being in similar veins as “Carrie” and “Midsommar”, which catch my eye for varying reasons.

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