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Neverland (1991)

Neverland (1991)

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3.66 of 5 Votes: 5
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0671672797 (ISBN13: 9780671672799)
pocket books

About book Neverland (1991)

There is something about childhood that makes horror so effective. Whether or not the child is the main character, victim or sometimes the object of horror, it seems to be a prevalent theme among horror. I believe it's partly due to the child-like innocence. As a child, the world is new to you. You don't know much about the world. You're still learning your rights from wrongs. You are very curious about new things. You don't want to listen to your parents, but rather play all day in a world of your own imagination. Neverland is just about that. It is about the fear of growing up and getting old. It is also about bored children with an over-active imagination. In addition, it is about not being able to distinguish right from wrong. The name Neverland is an obvious allusion to the story of Peter Pan where Neverland is a place where children never have to grow up. In this story, Neverland is nothing more than a run-down old shack, yet it represents all these ideals and beliefs. The main characters, Beau and Sumter, don't really know their right from wrong. They just want to escape from reality and immerse themselves in a fantasy world. In doing so, they discover Lucy, the resident god of the shack. Lucy is considered a god, even though her only real followers are just a few kids. Clegg does a good job of keeping her secret a mystery to the reader. Is she a devil? A ghost? Whichever she is, the kids worship her, hesitantly at first. While Beau is very skeptical of her, as family problems grow, he retreats more and more to Neverland. Because Beau gets isolated from his reality at home, his mind begins to delve more and more into fantasy and the distinction between fact and fiction is almost unreal. Like I said before, Neverland is very much a novel about children’s fantasies. All children are prone to imagining the monster in their closet but Neverland takes that premise and takes it to a whole new level. It begins hard to distinguish whether or not our main character is merely delusional or not.Like all Clegg novels, it is certainly creepy. There are a number of situations that are simply so absurd that only Clegg could’ve written it. However, the absurdity is great here. It makes the fantasy element of the book so much more prevalent. While not as outstanding as some of his other novels, Clegg’s taste for the uncanny is seen. The characters are believable. Although they do feel a bit stereotypical at times, there were a few moments that I believe almost any reader can relate to. Any readers who can flashback to his or her childhood can probably relate to something as simple as Sumter’s temper tantrum after losing his stuffed teddy bear. The most terrifying part of the experience is that any readers can possibly put himself or herself into Beau’s shoes and wonder what exactly they’d do in his situation. During the age of youth, something as dreadful as animal sacrifice can be seen as just an innocent game. With a child’s innocence and lack of judgment, these things can quickly become out of hand because the child doesn’t know any better. When a problem does arrive, it becomes that much more dreadful for the child.

There is a fine tradition of telling coming-of-age stories in the horror genre. Robert McCammon's "Boy's Life" and Stephen King's "The Body" are period pieces clearly inspired by the authors' childhoods and the era they grew up in. The late 50's or 60's coming of age horror novel is almosta sub-genre itself. We are just seeing my generation start to write these kinds of stories set in the 80's. A great example is James Newman's Midnight Rain. Neverland stands up quite strongly next to the classic works in this sub-genre, a coming of age horror novel so rooted in the 80's it's like holding a 288 page time machine in your hands. The strongest element at play in these novels is the almost magical reverence paid to being a child in those times. I have a hard time imagining the youth of today writing poetic novels about this age when they spend their time playing video games, talk by text message and hang out online. Neverland is a story that exists because the children who make up the characters' greatest entertainment is not a computer or a phone but their imagination. Beau and Sumter are cousins who have gathered at their grandmother's island home off the coast of Georgia each summer to create 'Neverland.' Sumter has created a childish fantasy that an odd shed mysteriously placed in the middle of the woods, used as a clubhouse, is like a beacon to communicate with a god he calls Lucy. According to Summter they must worship and sacrifice animals to Lucy. The novel really starts to take off when Beau, our narrator, begins to hear the voice of Lucy himself. Is Lucy an angel? A devil? Or is Lucy something different? Clegg does an amazing job of building and maintaining family drama while the mystery and terror surrounding Lucy's identity grows. As you can imagine, the price of the sacrifices continues to get higher as this short and effective novel builds to the exciting conclusion. Douglas Clegg is a long time veteran of horror and dark fantasy, and has great reason to be proud of this novel. There is no doubt it is one of his best and most solid novels. Considering the power of several of his past novels that is no small praise. This is Stoker quality horror. Beyond that, the book looks amazing. Vanguard Press did an amazing job of designing a beautifully packaged trade paperback, with "old-school" looking rough paper, and there are amazing illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne, who recently made waves adapting Stephen King's short stories in the Secretary of Dreams black and white comics. Neverland is a horror novel that readers will eat up, and fellow writers will read green with envy. This is how it is done.This is essential for every collection and recommended for readers 15 years of age and older.Mild violence, alcohol consumption, and brief mention of sexuality.Review by David Agranoff

Do You like book Neverland (1991)?

I was given the chance to read this by the publicist and I have to tell you I was really excited to get it in the mail. I was giddy the rest of the week, antsy with anticipation, wanting to dive into this as soon as time allowed. The synopsis sucked me in, the cover gave me the chills, and the illustrations throughout the book were brilliantly done. So when the day came for me to finally get started on it, I was on cloud nine. Then reality set in and I was left feeling a little gray, a little down in the dumps. I don't want anyone to think that this book wasn't good or didn't have a storyline that wouldn't horrify you, because it does. The character of Sumter belongs in the pantheon of "demonic" children, right alonside Damian and the gang from "Children of the Corn." My problem with the book and in writing this review, is that the book left me feeling nothing once I was done with it. There was no lasting memory or image from the book that was burned into my brain for all time. Which is what I want from a horror novel, I want to be so horrified that I can't wait to read the book again in order to feel those goosebumps raising on my arms and find my breath catching as I get to a really scary scence. This one just left me a little underwhelmed and a little disappinted by the "surprise" explanation given to explain Lucy. Anyone who is paying attention to the story should be able to figure it out way before the big reveal. There is no shock or awe to it and the way it's explained feels hurried, almost as if it was an afterthought. I wish I could say I either loved or hated this book, but I can't. All I can say is that it's ok, nothing to horrible but nothing that screams at me to read it again. I do think it's worth reading if you are a big fan of the genre and enjoy being scared, even if the thrills don't last long after the last page.
—Ryan G

Overall: 3.5This review refers to the audiobook version.Story: The story is fairly strong until about 2/3rds in when it just becomes repetitive. It is fairly clear what is going on -- minus a few details -- and what is going to happen, so this was tiresome. Seriously, we already know what Governor's happy sound is. "Dit do" whatever. Ditto for the main storyline. However, the plot was generally engaging in a suspenseful, not really scary, sort of way. For gore fans, there are minor ickies here. (view spoiler)[ A bit of animal sacrifice, a face falling off, maggots and what have you. (hide spoiler)]
—Leah Polcar

Three pages into this book, I knew that I was going to like it. The story starts with a family on their way to Gull Island, GA for summer vacation. They're in their station wagon....two 12 year old girls (twins) a 10 year old boy, a baby, and the parents. It is a typical road trip with the kids squabbling and carrying on and their parents trying to intervene and keep the peace. This story is narrated by 10 year old Beauregard (Beau). I love stories narrated by kids.....their descriptions of things are so hilarious and true. The way he describes the members of his family, including his Grandma Weenie who is crabby, wheelchair bound, and carries and silver-handled brush on her lap that is often used for spankings, is very detailed. I could picture her in my mind, as well as the other characters. I laughed out loud several times while reading this...especially when Beau is teasing his sister about her dead hamster!Beau's family vacations every year on Gull Island GA at his grandmother's house. His Aunt Cricket and Uncle Wayne join them, along with their son, Sumnter. Sumnter is strange, and Beau and his sisters are reluctant to join in any of his games. Sumnter chooses an old gardening shed which is strictly off-limits, to make into a clubhouse. There is a password to the clubhouse....and there is a god of the clubhouse. Before they know it, Beau and his sisters are sucked into Sumnter's weird world of games and hallucinations. He claims to have a god by the name of Lucy, in a crate in the clubhouse. Lucy must be fed....and by fed, he means sacrifices. The kids go along with Sumnter for awhile, but then things start to get out of hand. One evening they all experience "flying" up into the sky, and Sumnter begins to sacrifice small animals to Lucy's crate. From inside the crate there are sounds of scratching and growling. Sumnter swears the other kids to secrecy, but Beau confides in his mother about what's been going on.....but did he let her know too late? Lucy is expecting a very large and promising sacrifice; a human sacrifice; and she has asked Beau to get it for her so that she can come out to play.This Southern-Gothic type horror story is one of the best that I have ever read. It kind of reminds me of Boys Life by Robert McCammon, which is one of my favorites. Douglas Clegg does an excellent job weaving this twisted tale. I highly recommend horror lovers everywhere to check this out.

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