Review: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
Quirk Books (July 2017)
336 pages; $10.19 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Chad Lutzke

Let’s skip the synopsis. The title and the cover say it all. And it was the cover that sold me.

Is the ’80s retro VHS/tattered book cover thing a dead horse? Not for me. I love nostalgia. I’m all about it. The ’70s, the ’80s. Anything that takes me back to carefree days, void of responsibility. Give me extra helpings please.

Grady Hendrix delivers ’80s nostalgia by the Camaro-load and manages to pull it off in a way that doesn’t feel forced or tacky. He digs deeper than Rubik’s Cubes and crimped hair, arcades and Madonna.

The aging punk rocker in me should hate this book. The testosterone-fueled machismo in me should be chopping wood or building car engines while reeking of onions and beer to compensate for the time spent reading about a group of young girls toting Trapper Keepers and spooning plushies in their rainbow-filled bedrooms. But here I am, singing its praises with my Dayglo flag held high. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Did it sometimes feel like too much? Yeah, sometimes. But only for a moment, then I was back in. All in, comb in pocket, boombox on shoulder.

It read like Babysitter’s Club (or what I perceive Babysitter’s Club books to read like without really knowing) YA with a hint of horror (sometimes going to some very dark places) and a humorous mocking of the era’s “Satanic Panic.”

If I were a woman in her 40s, this would probably be my favorite book of all time. But because some of the things are not as relatable for the opposite sex (which Hendrix pulled off very well, summoning his inner girl for authenticity), this is just a great book that I highly recommend to those who don’t mind a little glitter in their possession tales.

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