For Abby, “friend” is a word whose sharp corners have been worn smooth with overuse. “I’m friends with the guys in IT,” she might say, or “I’m meeting some friends after work.” But she remembers when the word “friend” could draw blood.
By Jenna Dirksen
March is a month between two seasons: winter and spring. It has the cold, biting temperatures of winter, and the odd mix of rainfall and the sunshine of spring. To match this month’s melange, why not pick up a book that has the terrifying aesthetic of an 80s cult horror film, while also having the feel-good vibes of a classic coming-of-age story?
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix is set in the year 1988. It follows the friendship of two high-school girls, Abby and Gretchen, who have been joined at the hip since they were ten years old. While trying LSD for the first time with a group of friends, Gretchen disappears for a few hours. After Abby finds her, Gretchen appears to be fine. But in the coming weeks, odd changes in her behavior lead Abby to believe Gretchen has been possessed by a demon. Abby’s intense loyalty and love for Gretchen drives her to do whatever it takes to save her soul.
The love that exists between Abby and Gretchen is something that the audience can hold onto, believe in. When reading this book, you will remember what it’s like to be ten years old and in love for the first time with the kid in your class who likes the same weird movie as you. You will be reminded of the purity of friendship, and you will understand exactly why Abby risks everything to save her best friend. You know because you would do the same.
In this novel, Grady Hendrix has thrown convention out the window by creating a horror novel that is frightening because of how much you care about what happens to the characters. It’s fast-paced and delicious--I read it in one sitting, unable to put it down for a second. Plus, it has only minimal violence and gore, so it’s perfect for that squeamish person who wants to try out the genre. If you’re looking for a book to take on the road to Panama City Beach this spring break, I encourage you to try My Best Friend’s Exorcism. And if you’re taking LSD, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for those pesky demons!
NOTE: Phoenix Magazine does not encourage or condone the use of LSD.