[REVIEW] My Heart is a Chainsaw – by Stephen Graham Jones

The Only Good Indians was one of the most talked about books in horror last year, and for good reason; it was vicious and unique and emotional. When I heard the latest SGJ novel was going to be more traditional – a slasher – I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Only Good Indians was my first book by him, so going traditional after that seemed risky. I’m also not huge on the slasher genre, despite having written in it myself. Maybe I should clarify – I’m not a huge fan of the slasher genre in movies. In books, I’ve read very little of it, in my opinion. I think My Heart is a Chainsaw is my first novel to really analyze the genre to the point it’s meta. Not only did I learn a lot about slashers and it’s subgenre, the Final Girl, but those informative essays were some of my favorite moments in the book. The problem I had was that the narrative style – in which we follow our MC and her train of thought – was too heavy all the time. By that, I mean we were too in her head, to the point I got bored and distracted. I was also very much annoyed by how little directly happens when the MC is present. She’s usually hearing about something or seeing it from a distance. This doesn’t really change until the final 20% of the book. Luckily, the finale on the lake is pretty wild, despite a disappointing conclusion (the final pages, I mean) that killed the momentum for me. All in all, my experience was lopsided. There were plenty of things I liked, but those things also ended up bringing me out of the story. I was just never able to really latch onto this novel, unfortunately.

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