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The Dollhouse Murders: 02/06/10
I remember reading The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright in elementary school. It must have been right around the time when it was first published. I remember liking the idea of a haunted dollhouse but being annoyed by the book. When I saw the book at my library I decided to give it a second try. I liked it a lot more as an adult than I did as a child.
Amy needs some free time from her sister, Louann. Her sister is special needs, having suffered brain damage although I don't think how that happened is explained. Regardless, Louann needs extra help and Amy is stuck being the one always providing that extra care because their mother needs to work and money is tight. There isn't a father so their mother has the extra stress of being a single mother.
In the middle of all that family drama is a chance to get away for a birthday party at Aunt Clara's home. It's at the old family home where the ghost story takes center stage. In the attic is a model of the home with dolls representing the family as it was some fifteen or twenty years earlier. The dolls in the house replay the scene of a grisly murder that has been buried in family secrets all these years.
The ghost story by itself is chilling and terrifying. It though gets lost in the parallels the author is trying to draw between Clara and her brother and Amy and Louann. Add in Louann's problems, the added difficulties of being a single parent and basic sibling rivalries and the ghost story gets lost in the shuffle.
I said at the beginning that I liked it more as an adult. I did and I think it stems from me being now able to relate to the adults in the book. They are realistically portrayed even if the book as a whole is more complicated than it needs to be.
Comment #1: Saturday, February, 6, 2010 at 17:50:11
I'm so glad I didn't read this as a kid - it looks like it would have scared me to death. But I'd like to try it now that I'm all old and brave.
Comment #2: Monday, February 8, 2010 at 22:52:57
I think it scared me more as an adult than it did as a kid.
Comment #3: Saturday, February, 6, 2010 at 23:05:19
I've been meaning to reread this one! Glad to hear you enjoyed it more as an adult!
Comment #4: Monday, February 8, 2010 at 23:00:30
It's worth a re-read. I feel like I got more out of it now than I did as a teen.
Comment #5: Sunday, February, 7, 2010 at 09:55:23
wow - what a blast from the past! I remember reading this many years ago, although I don't remember what I thought of it. The premise freaks me out, though.
Comment #6: Monday, February 8, 2010 at 23:02:59
I remembered reading it but didn't really remember much about the plot until I started re-reading it. I'm glad I re-read it.