What’s the Scariest Book You’ve Ever Read?
The Other by Thomas Tryon Is not only a frightening tale but it broke my heart in two
I don’t like the horror genre. Many moons ago, I declined to go to the drive-in with my family to see The Exorcist. Years later, I thought it would be safe to watch the edited version on television — boy was I wrong. I’m still traumatized by the sight of sweet-faced Regan MacNeil turning into a foul blister-ridden demon child spewing green clam chowder and horrible (bleeped) curse words at a priest. Ugh! God Bless Linda Blair.
But as a teen, I enjoyed books and films that were somewhat weird or slightly chilling. David Lynch’s Eraser Head for example — I found it a fascinating movie that danced on the edge of odd but never fell over into horror territory. My parents were shocked that I’d “watch such nonsense” but I knew that movie was a work of art.
Finding the Balance
My mom read everything: Harlequin, Agatha Christie’s mysteries, psychological thrillers, and horror. One evening I plucked The Other by Thomas Tryon from her bookshelf and started reading. When I looked up, three hours had whizzed by and I reluctantly went to bed. I finished that compelling read the next day.
The Other by Thomas Tryon
This 1971 release is about the Perrys, a New England family that has owned their vast farmland for three centuries. The story centers around two adorable 13-year-old twins, Niles and Holland. Though they are identical, their personalities couldn't be more different. Niles is a nice kid, driven by his conscience to do the right thing; his charming twin brother is quite the opposite. Holland is a prankster and Niles feels a responsibility to protect him. An older relative who is attuned to the spirit world knows the history of her family’s land and senses something eerie about the boys. We soon learn that they are telepathically connected when physically apart.
Following the tragic death of the twins’ father, their extended family comes into town for his funeral. The boys’ mother is so distraught by her husband's unexpected death that she can’t function. She barely acknowledges her children and remains sequestered in her room, leaving…