In the Tall Grass by Stephen King and Joe Hill is a bizarre and horrifying tale of two siblings that walk into a field after hearing a young boy call for help. Once they have stepped into the grass, they very quickly realize that they should have heeded the warnings and small red flags that they had brushed aside just moments ago…
Let’s dive into my review.
My Thoughts on In the Tall Grass by Stephen King & Joe Hill
Stephen King and Joe Hill are two of my favorite horror writers. When I first heard about this book, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t read it yet! Then I began to get a little nervous… My expectations were incredibly high, so I forced myself to wait a bit.
With the Netflix movie out now, I finally got around to reading it.
Who knows what my opinions would have been earlier on, but let me tell you… Reading it in 2019, this was a hit for me!
While this is a short tale, it certainly packs quite the punch!
The opening paragraph itself is very ominous:
He wanted quiet for a while instead of the radio, so you could say what happened was his fault. She wanted fresh air instead of the AC for a while, so you could say it was hers. But since they never would have heard the kid without both of those things, you’d really have to say it was a combination, which made it perfect Cal-and-Becky, because they had run in tandem all their lives.
After that passage, we move into some wonderful character building as we learn about the special bond that the siblings have with one another. Though it’s not long before the creep-factor really sets in.
The siblings are traveling to stay with their relatives. While driving through Kansas, they suddenly hear; “Help! Help! Somebody help me!” And then we dive right in to the horror.
While I really enjoyed this tale, I will say that it also made me incredibly uncomfortable while reading it.
Because of the setting, it made me feel super claustrophobic. There was also one scene that really had me cringing to the point where I found myself curling up in a semi-fetal position. This may sound odd, but I seriously loved it! I haven’t reacted to a tale of horror like this in a very long time.
The overall pacing was perfect. It started with a bang, then picked up quickly and got darker and darker before ending in a way that I just love; it was an ending that made me go, “Wait, what?! WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!” but also lets the reader mull things over on their own rather than being tied up in a nice little bow.
My Favorite Passages from In the Tall Grass
A scattering of dust-filmed cars was parked here, windshields beetle bright in the glare of the sun. That all but one of these cars appeared to have been there for days – even weeks – was another anomaly that would not strike them until later.
If you wanted to be a stickler for accuracy, you could say he was already losing it a little to even think he needed to try such an experiment. But by then reality was starting to feel much like the ground underfoot: liquid and treacherous.
Directions melted in the tall grass, and time melted as well: a Dali world with Kansas stereo.
Juicy Fruit was a waste of money. That citrus flash of sugar was always gone in four chews.
My Final Thoughts on In the Tall Grass
Throughout the novella, I just felt so unsettled. And that’s the perfect word for this tale; it was unsettling.
If you enjoy quick tales that are a bit bizarre, quite brutal, and will leave you feeling weird about that fact that you enjoyed it, then this is one I would recommend to you!
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Thanks for reading!
What was the last thing you read that left you feeling a bit unsettled?