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A Passion For Horror

Book Review: The School by T.M. Wright


The School by T.M. Wright

The School

By T. M. Wright

The School is 245 pages long. The central characters are Frank and Allison Hitchcock, a normal middle-class couple, who are haunted by the memory of their dead son Joey. When they vacate the beachside property where Joey lived and died though, and move into the old school on Ohio Road, the Hitchcocks find themselves haunted by something a little more tangible than just memories and Allison begins to believe that the unusual atmosphere present in the building may be able reunite them with their son.
The school has thirty-five rooms plus administrative offices, a nurse's station, a gym and much more besides. It is a big place and the Hitchcocks got it for the bargain price of just $75, 000.  The price may have been right but the old school is still a large place for two people to rattle around in and although Frank and Allison tell themselves that they bought the school out of a feeling of nostalgia, deep down inside they are not so sure. The reader can only presume that something inside the school influenced the Hitchcock's decision and somehow compelled them to buy the place, but this is something that is never adequately explained.
A school is an odd choice for accommodation and even a corridor that is illuminated by a row of Mickey Mouse nightlights (Frank's idea), though perhaps quaint, is never going to make it homely.  But if home is just a place to hang your hat the Hitchcocks have plenty of hooks to choose from in the cloakrooms, and Frank and Allison do their best to make themselves feel at home in the school, even if it does prove to have a shady history and a few ghosts wandering around the corridors.
The Hitchcocks are reasonably likeable characters and I am sure that a lot of readers might feel sympathetic towards their loss, but I found the whole dead son thing a little tedious and surplus to the plot. It makes sense that losing their son could prove to be an influencing factor in their decision to move home and that he would still be on their minds, but all too often I felt like the character of poor, dead Joey was being forced into scenes that would have been better without his almost presence. I say 'almost presence' because he never materializes into anything more than a memory or a dream. A real ghost-Joey I would have gladly seen more of, but this almost presence was just too present for my tastes.

T.M. Wright: The School (Book Review)

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The School has some creepy scenes and there are also some enjoyably surreal moments, but overall I found little to make the story stand out from the many other books that have been written about haunted houses other than the fact that the house in question was a former school.  All in all, on a scale of one to ten, I would rate this story as a six because I feel that a lot of things in the story could have been expanded upon and better explained.


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