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A NEW YORK TIMES BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • A darkly funny take on mothers and daughters, about a woman who must take drastic measures to save her husband and herself from the vengeful ghost of her mother-in-law.
“A quirky, gruesome, utterly original feminist horror experience.” —The New York Times Book Review
When Ralph and Abby Lamb move in with Ralph’s mother, Laura, Abby hopes it’s just what she and her mother-in-law need to finally connect. After a traumatic childhood, Abby is desperate for a mother figure, especially now that she and Ralph are trying to become parents themselves. Abby just has so much love to give—to Ralph, to Laura, and to Mrs. Bondy, her favorite resident at the long-term care home where she works. But Laura isn’t interested in bonding with her daughter-in-law. She’s venomous and cruel, especially to Abby, and life with her is hellish.
When Laura takes her own life, her ghost haunts Abby and Ralph in very different ways: Ralph is plunged into depression, and Abby is terrorized by a force intent on destroying everything she loves. To make matters worse, Mrs. Bondy’s daughter is threatening to move Mrs. Bondy from the home, leaving Abby totally alone. With everything on the line, Abby comes up with a chilling plan that will allow her to keep Mrs. Bondy, rescue Ralph from his tortured mind, and break Laura's hold on the family for good. All it requires is a little ingenuity, a lot of determination, and a unique recipe for chicken à la king…
Hogarth (The Boy Meets Girl Massacre (Annotated)) turns the tale of a haunting on its head in a masterfully crafted horror novel that's by turns humorous and deeply unsettling. It opens as Abby Lamb and her husband, Ralph, return from the hospital after Ralph's mother, Laura, died by suicide. For Abby, Laura's demise is liberating; she never got along with her mother-in-law, whom she and Ralph moved in with years earlier, and Laura's departure from their lives means they can finally start the family they've dreamed of. But Laura's lingering influence assumes a tangible presence that thwarts her recovery efforts. As Ralph slips into a depressive funk under Laura's ghost's tight maternal grip, Abby grows increasingly desperate to exorcise Laura from their lives. Abby makes a wonderful narrator; full of wry insights and frothy humor, she fully engages reader sympathies—until revelations about her childhood with her own mother suggest that she may be projecting her troubled emotions onto others. This dark domestic drama packs a punch.