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Strong 3.5 Star Read, Rounded to 4 (The Little Stranger)

The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters

I try not to do half stars since I post on Booklikes and Goodreads and Goodreads still doesn't have half stars for rating purposes. This was a strong 3.5 star read. I don't see me rereading this in the future and I had some problems with the book as a whole. However, I like this book has tired back to other horror works like "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "Burnt Offerings." I think if Waters had shortened this book and had the narrator be someone in the Ayres family it would have been stronger. If that had happened, this for me would be up for along with "The Turn of the Screw" with asking who is to be believed in the end. Instead, allowing Dr. Faraday to narrate the story left me feeling apart from things as a reader. 


"The Little Stranger" takes place in post WWII England in a village called Warwickshire. Told in the first person, our narrator, Dr. Faraday begins the story telling is how old he was when he first came to a country squire's home called Hundreds Hall. The Ayres family has lived there for generations and we get Dr. Faraday's first look at Hundreds and the beginning of his fascination with the home and family that lives there. Decades later when Dr Faraday is called to Hundreds, he finds a home and family in decline. Dr. Faraday grows increasingly close to the family and though strange things keep befalling them, he has an explanation for everything.


I think that all the characters at times come alive while reading. I think though having Faraday narrate kept something back from me as I was reading. I wanted to know more about Mrs. Ayres and her son Roderick and daughter Caroline. We at times get Dr. Faraday's impressions of them. At his first meeting he found them distasteful and was angry at how cavalier they seemed to be at the state of their house. However, we at times get what they are going through when Dr. Faraday pulls his head out of his butt and focuses. It's just few and far between. For example, for me, I felt like I got to see the real Caroline at the first meeting with Dr. Faraday when she was distant and slightly disdainful of him. We get her sense of how she feels towards him after the dance they go to as well. And of course at the very end of the book. 


Caroline to me evokes thoughts of the main character in "The Yellow Wallpaper" who is being ignored and patted down cause she's a woman. Dr. Faraday does this to her multiple times as well as her mother and brother. He knows best even though it's obvious something is wrong in the home.


The writing is okay though I really think this book was way too long. We would go several chapters before anything really happens and once something did, it felt like it was dealt with too swiftly in the story. 


The setting of Hundreds seems perfect for a tale like this. A house slowly going to seed due to the changed circumstances in the family. And we know that perhaps the house could end up like so many others we are told about during the story that are sold to hose that tear them down, or renovate them into something else. 


The ending was a bit of a letdown. Once again reading about what happens through Dr. Faraday's eyes was a but much after a while. But the ending doesn't satisfy a thing in me as a reader cause I do have thoughts about what occurred. 


I think it's apparent to see that Dr. Faraday was the Poltergeist in this story. However I honestly think he did a go back to Hundreds one last time before Caroline was supposed to leave and I do believe that he killed her. I wish the book maybe ended with him in prison and he's just reciting the story to a psychiatrist or somebody. Instead having him roam the grounds and kind of being at peace and happy because all of the family is gone and the house can breathe again just didn't do it for me. We at times as readers get an inkling of his obsession with this home and then his obsession with the family because he sees them as not being worthy of being there. And at times we can feel his dislike of them throughout the story so it wasn't a surprise to find out that he was the little stranger in essence. 

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