I finally finished Neverland (Horror 288 pages) by Douglas Clegg last night.
This is one of those books that I’m pretty sure I’ll never need to read again. It definitely built tension and there were a good many scenes in the book that were absolutely gruesome, but it’s for that factor alone that I could easily stand to not read this book again. In this way, I think the author did an absolutely successful job with this novel.
The big mystery for the entire story is “who is Lucy” and “what are they really doing in that really creepy shack in the woods?” I have to say, I’m very glad that it didn’t wind up being anything sexual. I think that might have pushed my gross-out factor to the point of putting down the book and not finishing it, which is really rare for me. I can’t think of a single book that I have started that I have not finished. Some books have been greater struggles than others, but in the end, I always finish reading.
I liked how the story kept stringing us along with the ambiguous idea of Lucy, the really sick and twisted deity that Sumter worships. I think what really made the story creepy and gruesome was the fact that the main character and all the really important characters were children, or pre-teens. I think if the main characters were anything other than pre-teens, that the book wouldn’t have had nearly so much of the creep factor that it did.
It was also interesting to me how the story really played on the differences between how we view the world as adults and how we view the world as children. I’m pretty sure that most people don’t remember what they were actually thinking when they were children, and if we do remember what we were thinking, it’s quite likely that we don’t have the correct facts as to what the situation really was. When we grow up, our experience shows that there’s a lot going on in the world that may not have made very good sense to us when we were children. I think this makes it so that a lot of adults discount things children talk about when maybe they shouldn’t.
Sumter’s mom, Aunt Cricket, is a prime example of this. She was so focused on all the things she wanted to see about Sumter being a good little boy and that the kids couldn’t really be doing anything all that bad that she completely ignored all the stuff Sumter was really doing. He says all sorts of things throughout the entire story, even when the adults are around that would have keyed in just about anybody who was paying genuine attention that things in Sumter’s head were not quite right.
I guess that brings me to another point about how the book very well could have been kind of a moral of the story sort of thing. I’d like to say that if this were a real story that better parenting and less alcohol abuse would have led to a much smaller to non-existent death count, but that’s the point of reading stories like this. It takes normal occurrences and pushes them to the point of the worst case scenario.
Overall, I’m glad I read this book, as I definitely got a lot on how to gross out my readers, but I’m fairly certain this is not a book I ever need to read again.
Works cited: Clegg, Douglas. Neverland. New York: Vanguard Press, 2010.