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A Gandy Girl

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Willow Man

Willow Man - John Inman

So it has been a few days and I am not sure this will ever be a book that will leave my memory entirely.  Like "Boys on the Mountain" this, for me, is John Inman at his best. The writing...the way in which John brings you into his world...is quite mesmerizing.


Now, I will say this one for me was possibly more disturbing than Boys. There were certainly scenes in Boys that ripped me in two, left me holding my breath and my heart racing...however in Willow Man, these feelings were a continual part of the entire book itself.  While not explicit, Willow Man is vivid.  As a reader we are completely drawn in and taken into this dark place where "all pain is born."


It was in this hollowed-out spot of ground that Willow Man worried the bones of those first tiny victims, and where he had first seen the children who stood there now. And in the seeing, coveted. And lusted.


Yes, lusted.  If you know me at all, child rape and torture is high on my list of no-no's and yet I would not stop reading this. As I mentioned, John's writing pulls you into this one without overly explicit details. But will you be disturbed...yes...yes you will.  And for me, I love that aspect of storytelling. I want an experience, good or bad, which grabs my insides and makes me feel.  And John did just that.


Now, there were a few aspects of this that didn't quite work for me.  The children, while I understand need to be 13, did not feel 13 to me.  From their actions to their words, they seemed older.  And Bobby's character was simply heartbreaking and some things said at the end regarding his apparent feelings left me a little devastated.  Some inconsistencies in Willow Man's actions as well seemed off at times.  But overall, none of this took away from the overall horror ride we experienced.


While I love John's more humor driven books, these just reach me on a whole other level.  Bring on more John...I think there is certainly more to be told. :)



BR with Teri and Marco 


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This was no longer his home. He was an interloper, trespassing on the past, intruding into a place that was no longer meant to feel his presence."



They could not know that even the most promising of journeys can be interrupted. Sometimes the beginning of happiness, the beginning of the journey, is as far as some people ever get.

Inman is quite brilliant.



—Woody’s mother, screaming over the body of her dying husband, before the blood-drenched knife that killed him was pulled from his chest and plunged into her as well, blending her fluids with his one last time, not in passion this time, but in a final excruciating blast of pain.




How could a love affair that took place when he was thirteen years old—damn near two decades earlier—have left him so emotionally fucked up?





Friendship wasn’t diminished by time or distance. It was not weakened by the passing years as people were. Like music, friendship lived a life of its own, safe and strong in its own little cocoon of perpetuity.



What the small creatures could not understand, however, was that the creature that stalked the canyon now, did not do so for its own survival. It did it for the joy of the hunt. The pleasure of the kill.

Fear, after all, was the true prize. And it shone in the eyes of a child as it did in no other.



"I kept him from you, didn’t I?”



And unthinking, he stepped into the shadows beneath the trees, into the darkest part of night, losing himself to the moonlight, seeking the laughter.

Seeking his mother’s love. Just like the child he really was.

But in the seeking, Bobby found something else. And what he found, there in the shadows, or what found him, froze his heart in fear.



It was in this hollowed-out spot of ground that Willow Man worried the bones of those first tiny victims, and where he had first seen the children who stood there now. And in the seeing, coveted. And lusted.



One still arm hung downward, stripped of flesh, flayed, and from the fingertip of that fleshless hand, the blood was slowly gathering until the weight of each precious drop pulled it away, carrying it to the ground with that gentle tapping sound as it splattered onto the bed of small bones beneath it.



This is the place where all pain is born.