Title: The Need
Author: Helen Phillips
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Page Count: 273
My rating: 2 stars
About the book:
When Molly, home alone with her two young children, hears footsteps in the living room, she tries to convince herself it’s the sleep deprivation. She’s been hearing things these days. Startling at loud noises. Imagining the worst-case scenario. It’s what mothers do, she knows.
But then the footsteps come again, and she catches a glimpse of movement.
Suddenly Molly finds herself face-to-face with an intruder who knows far too much about her and her family. As she attempts to protect those she loves most, Molly must also acknowledge her own frailty. Molly slips down an existential rabbit hole where she must confront the dualities of motherhood: the ecstasy and the dread; the languor and the ferocity; the banality and the transcendence as the book hurtles toward a mind-bending conclusion.
In The Need, Helen Phillips has created a subversive, speculative thriller that comes to life through blazing, arresting prose and gorgeous, haunting imagery. Helen Phillips has been anointed as one of the most exciting fiction writers working today, and The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives.
OK, first I should admit that The Need by Helen Phillips was a book that quickly lost my interest and I had a hard time following this one from the start. There are plenty of people that love this one so it’s probably more a case of it’s me and not the book this time. The Need is a sort of weird horror, scifi mix that did remind me a lot of being tossed into the Twilight Zone for a few hours while reading and as weird as it sounds with me being a huge horror fan I was never that fond of the Twilight Zone.
Our main character Molly is a young mother that tries to do it all to hold her family together. A mother of two young children under the age of five would be more than enough for anyone to handle but Molly’s husband is a musician and often gone while Molly is a paleobotanist bringing home the steady pay. Molly has been working at a site called the Dig where things have been found that seem just out of the ordinary leaving Molly with questions. Then one night at home with her children, overworked and exhausted Molly encounters an intruder into her life.
As I mentioned already this one just didn’t seem to be for me, it felt like the beginning wanted to be creepy horror but then became more scattered and out there as it went along. Not sure how to explain it as to me it felt the author was trying to expand but dropped some details as quickly as they start along the way and just didn’t gel well into the book. I just figure as much as I love twists and turns and red herrings in stories those are still solid information whereas something like this leaves too much to the imagination leaving me with questions along the way.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Helen Phillips is the author of five books, including, most recently, the novel THE NEED. Her collection SOME POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS received the 2017 John Gardner Fiction Book Award. Her novel THE BEAUTIFUL BUREAUCRAT, a New York Times Notable Book of 2015, was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her collection AND YET THEY WERE HAPPY was named a Notable Book by the Story Prize. She is also the author of the children’s adventure novel HERE WHERE THE SUNBEAMS ARE GREEN. Helen is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and the Italo Calvino Prize, among others. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, the New York Times, and Tin House, and on Selected Shorts. She is an associate professor at Brooklyn College. http://www.helencphillips.com.