"Housebroken" Book Review
Written by Jennifer Turner
Written by The Behrg
2015, 335 pages, Fiction
Released on March 17th, 2015
Just like there are five stages of grief, there are five stages of reading Housebroken by The Behrg.
The book centers on a computer mogul, Blake, who moves into a new McMansion with his wife, Jenna, and son, Adam. The family finds themselves held hostage by George, a strange teenager obsessed with observing the family's day to day activities. Blake soon finds himself doing anything and everything George tells him in a desperate attempt to save his family
Stage 1: Disterest
When I started reading this book, I thought that it was a rip off of the '97 thriller Funny Games. It had a similar storyline; the normal family tormented by psychotic and precocious teenagers. Adding to my disinterest was the fact that the family was so damned unlikable, I could not root for such pompous assholes. However the further I went into the book, I realized that was the author's intent. He wanted you to despise them and then break them down into characters that you strangely find yourself caring about the deeper you delve into the story.
Stage 2: Disgust
There's a scene with a dog death, I'm not really spoiling the story since the dog's demise is mentioned on the first page. As I have mentioned in a previous review, I can read about humans dying with no problem, but damned if you dare threatened Fido. From the first page I was expecting the dog to be senselessly shot or die protecting his beloved owner.
What I got was the most disturbing animal deaths in the history of all animal deaths. It was so descriptive and so disturbing that I immediately put down my Kindle and tried not to cry. I was already mentally drafting a "Fuck this, I'm out" email to my editor.
Stage 3: Morbid Curiousity
I wanna say that my work ethic made me read the rest of Housebroken, after all I did request this novel. It was partially that, but I was also curious to just how much further this author intended to go. Rarely does a book elicit such a strong response from me and I needed to see it through to the end.
Stage 4: Excitement
Next thing I know, shit started getting real. This book picked up the pace, it goes from mild and somewhat boring straight into what Spaceballs calls "ludicrous speed". The unlikable characters start to get depth and the appropriate amount of backstory, turning them into people you actually want to live.
The twist and turns to each and every aspect of the plot are mind blowing. As a rule, I can't stand books that rely on sudden twists because they usually are easily predictable or so unbelievable that they come off as a desperate attempt to keep the reader interested.
The twists in this story are presented almost like a jigsaw puzzle, a whole mess at the start, but once you start filling in the pieces, it all fits perfectly without seeming forced or shoehorned in. It's perfectly believable and satisfying to experience.
The Behrg is an amazing writer and refreshing in this era of regurgitated literature. He can repel you one moment but suck you back in without a thought. His writing is intense and slightly traumatizing at times, and pulls you into the drama no matter how much you resist. This is a writer that you need to be acquainted with ASAP.
Stage 5: Angst
Just as you have embraced this story, it not only ends, but ends with a cliffhanger that made me anxious to know what happens next. If a sequel to Housebroken comes, I will definitely be on it like white on rice. I would definitely recommend Housebroken as well as check out The Behrg's other works.
Provided that he takes it easy on the household pets, that is.