After watching “The Girl Next Door” (the thriller and not the ditzy comedy) I thought I actually bought the right book to chill me to the bone just like the movie did. I was wrong, I bought the wrong book. I should have gotten Jack Ketchum’s one.
It took me 151 pages to realise that what I was waiting for wasn’t going to happen and instead I was actually reading a story about the trials and tribulations of the elderly.
In the waning months of the second World War, a group of children discover an earthen tunnel in their neighborhood outside London. Throughout the summer of 1944—until one father forbids it—the subterranean space becomes their “secret garden,” where the friends play games and tell stories.
Six decades later, beneath a house on the same land, construction workers uncover a tin box containing two skeletal hands, one male and one female. As the discovery makes national news, the friends come together once again, to recall their days in the tunnel for the detective investigating the case.
The story itself held no mystery whatsoever as in the first few chapters, the murder is described and the murderer is no other than Woody, a cheated husband who finds his wife in bed with one of the many men she was seeing behind his back. He kills them both by strangling them with a belt and then chops off their hands and puts them in a jar. He disposes of the bodies by staging a fire in his barn and playing dumb when asked about where his wife was.
70-years later, the old gang gets together and have to go through their muddled memories to try and remember snippets of what went on during their childhood and in the process, two of the septuagenarians get it on making me think of tortoise sex. I really didn’t care for any of the characters and in a cast of 20 or more, at one point, I didn’t even know what the hell was going on and who was doing who.
Grandpa leaves grandma to go and shag his teen sweetheart who looks good for her age and grandma takes advice from her grand-daughter when it comes to men. Grandpa recovers his common sense and decides that shagging a woman in her 70’s that gave it so freely when he was young must mean she’s a loose woman so he dumps her and tries to go back to lil’ old grandma only to find out she has a bit of a spine and won’t take him back.
I put the book immediately in the charity box. If I wanted to read about the lives of the elderly especially ones carrying out extra-marital affairs, I would have picked up a Margaret Atwood book 🙂