The first full length book that I ever remember choosing for myself was Pet Sematary by Stephen King. The year was 1984 and I have no idea where I got it or what my parents thought about my reading choice, but I knew one thing. The suspense of finding out just what happened the day after the father buried his kid’s beloved cat, Church, in the ancient burial ground beyond the town’s pet cemetery was agony. You just had to know what would happen, however, you were in dread at the same time.
Reading Bedbugs brought that feeling back in a freakishly eerie way. Having moved beyond Stephen King long ago; it had been years since I had thought about those nights spent under my comforter, holding the flashlight and reading through the night.
Just why was that Brooklyn apartment such a good deal? Did Susan really see bedbugs or was it all in her head? If a delusion, where did the few bites she had on her arm come from? What would they wake up to tomorrow?
Bedbugs starts out slow, almost painfully slow. There is no escaping telling you that; there is about 100 pages of setting the scene, painting the characters, moments where I found myself jealous of Susan’s situation. She quits work in order to pursue her dream of being an artist while her husband pays the bills, including having a nanny for their daughter 5 hours a day. Most people would kill for that, but in between the fairy tale we start to see cracks in the surface of Susan’s castle. She sees bugs crawling through those cracks, even while no one else does.
It hit me early, this baby would make a killer scary movie. As a book, it just isn’t all that original though. You might even say derivative. I enjoyed it immensely, not only because it was a complete departure from what I have been reading lately, but because it brought back all of those feelings from the past. It got my heart racing, made me itch, reminded me of why I started reading in the first place; to feel things that my day-to-day life just can’t match.
So, if you want some thrills, chills, or just plain want to have the crap scared out of you by things that might, or might not, crawl in the night- read Bedbugs.
Bedbugs by Ben H. Winter
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books (September 6, 2011)