Once Upon A Book – Charlee Rae's Book Reviews

"Books Fall Open, You Fall In"

Novels and Stories by Shirley Jackson


An anthology that includes:

The Lottery; or, The Adventures of James Harris (25 short stories)

The Haunting of Hill House

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Other Stories and Sketches (21 short stories)

Biography of a Story

I picked 2 stories to write a review on rather than review the book as a whole or each individual story. I decided on one very short story and one of the novels that were included. After consideration, I went with The Lottery and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I chose The Lottery due to its overwhelming popularity. We Have Always Lived in the Castle was an easy choice since I have previously read The Haunting of Hill House. My review are below:

The Lottery

I rated this story 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

This tale was absolutely disturbing. It starts out innocently enough and initially you don’t quite get why everyone raves about it so much. Then you get to the heart of the story and even though you are expecting something to happen, you still have a hard time accepting it. I actually set the book down after I had completed it and let my mind take it all in. In order to fully appreciate the tale, you must take into consideration how long ago this was written. With that in mind, I found it absolutely chilling. I can see why this story is considered one of the best and scariest ever written (again, the time thing) and it really speaks volumes about how people will blindly go along with things without even questioning them.

Total pages: 30

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

I rated this story 3 out of 5 stars….and yet I continue to waiver

“Spend two hours in the mind of a beautifully and dangerously deranged child.”

That pretty much sums up this story. I honestly am not even sure how to rate it. Is my rating too high? Is it too low? I continue to question it even as I write this review. The tale was atmospheric and beautifully written yet bizarre and anti-climatic. Initially I felt a bit letdown as I expected so much more, but then as I sat and thought about it, perhaps it was one of the most compelling stories I’d ever read. I can’t write a synopsis without really giving things away as these stories are too short but what I can say is this tale is full of all kinds of different mental conditions. OCD. Agoraphobia. Insanity. And you can’t conclusively decide who exactly is the evil one…..if there is in fact an evil one. Nothing in this tale is explained and yet everything is. I can’t stop thinking about it which makes me wonder…..is the story a total failure because it lacks to clarify its reasons for existing or is it absolutely brilliant because it does? I’m not sure. What I do know is that it has set with me for awhile now and doesn’t seem to want to let go.

Total pages: 160

I enjoyed every story in this book, each on a different level. Some are creepy, some are disturbing, and some are just weird. If you want an anthology that is extremely well written and a little crazy, I highly recommend this one.

Total pages of book as a whole: 832, Hardcover

Available on Amazon at the link below:

Novels and Stories

Available at Barnes and Noble at the link below:

Novels and Stories


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This entry was posted on April 18, 2017 by in Books I've read and tagged , , , , , .
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