Saturday, November 28, 2009

Freak-Philip Henry

Philip Henry
Coral Moon, Nov 2008, $12.50
ISBN: 9780955655616

She was an innocent fifteen year old guarded by her religiously fanatic parents until the night in 1973 the carnival arrived in Port Stewart. Marie Stanton went with her friend. She meets Gustav who woos her into coming again the next night where he pays off his gambling debts by allowing six cronies to rape her. Marie becomes pregnant and gives birth, but suffered internal hemorrhaging from the damage Gustav and his associates caused to her internal organs.

Her parents kick her out of the house so she and her son Freak move into anew place aid for by her parents. Freak’s skin would not let a needle penetrate it and a person touching him ends up with broken bones. His mom lived as long as she could trying to care and protect him, but when she died he went to live in Port Stewart with his Aunt Gloria. Many thought he was an abomination, but though angry he tried to live up to what he thought his late mom would want of him. Betrayed by a young woman he cares for; when his aunt and her companion dies, Freak becomes a solitary recluse. However, the carnival with Gustav is back.

The innocence of Marie and later Freak make for an intriguing horror tale that in some ways will remind readers of Stephen King’s Carrie. The audience has mixed emotions towards Freak who receives pity and empathy yet he ironically rejects that from the few folks in town who do not loathe the abomination. Filled with twists, Freak is an interesting character study as readers will understand who the monster is.

Harriet Klausner

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