I decided to read Paul Tremblay’s The Cabin at the End of the World because I’m still in the mood to be (fictionally) scared and creeped out. I want my mind to bend and my morals to twist and my thoughts to rattle and brim with indecision and questions of morality and humanity. Which is incredibly specific now that I think about it. Let’s start of with the fact that I went into this with very high expectations because – from the blurb and other reviews that I’ve read – this thriller seemed like a book I would absolutely inhale — and let me tell you, the first chapters were awesome. That kind of awesome that leaves you in awe and makes you get that tingly feeling all over your body and soul and heart that tells you that this could possibly be a new favorite.
The setting, cabin at the end of the woods with no reception or nearby neighbors, paired with the likable characters, a girl and her two dads that feel so very human to you from the get go, set you up to be completely destroyed by the events that are going to follow. And those events are scary and crazy. Not as crazy as I thought but still bizarre and nervewreckingly questionable in that „this doesn’t seem as farfetched as I imagined?“ kinda way. The crazy that you see on the news. The crazy that you’ve read about before. Which makes it scary in a different way than what I thought going in.
Book: The Cabin at the End of the World // Author: Paul Tremblay // Publisher: Titan Books Ltd. ©
I read the first 100 pages or so in the car ride back to my dorm room and I loved every second of it. There were those moments were I would catch myself making the „oh, no“ and „was that the right decision“ faces and those generally resulted in me needing a second to get my head on right and think straight again. I would probably describe it as the moment after you had to make a decision in a special timeframe in a video game. That moment that makes you go „should I have done that?“
Quote from my mum: You look like you’re in pain.
After being confronted with the stress and exhaustion of uni again, I dreaded reading the next pages because suddenly it felt like work. It started to feel like the „Kill Creek Sensation“ (that’s what I call it in my head) again aka: loving the start and then extremely suddenly not enjoying it anymore because of other factors. So I stopped. Immediately. Because I had a feeling that I would love it if I didn’t force myself and waited instead for a period in my life that would allow me to read the last part in one more setting. I took a break and read a „buffer book“ that makes me feel fluffy and warm. I was super scared that I wasn’t going to be as engaged anymore when I would pick The Cabin at the End of the World back up – especially because I truly adored it before. I felt wrecked with anxiety. And then I just did it. Ignored those feelings and just told myself that it wasn’t going to be the „end of the world“ – even if I didn’t. (Pun intended by the way.) I know it was bad. But the thought counts, right?
I didn’t enjoy the rest of the novel as much as I wanted. Woop, there it is. It took turns that I can definitely appreciate from an objective standpoint — but subjectively I would’ve wanted the storyline to go different places and the overall story to end differently. What I’d like to say, though, is that Paul Tremblay sure has talent when it comes to writing and especially Joe Hill’s description of Tremblay’s horror as „empathic“ resonated and stuck with me. I will 10/10 pick up Tremblays A Head Full of Ghosts because I think he’s definitely still an author for me — if the choices vary in his books.