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Check It Out: My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

This is Ben Bemus with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to Check it Out.

Today I am recommending My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones. This novel is a loving tribute to the slasher film genre that often pokes fun at common horror tropes, while also being a compelling horror story itself.

Jade Daniels is a high school senior who knows practically everything there is to know about slasher films. When strange things begin to occur around the town of Proofrock, she is convinced that she is finally living out her dream of living within a real-life slasher movie. She decides that her job is to use her knowledge to protect and guide her new classmate – a seemingly perfect and kindhearted rich girl named Letha Mondragon. Jade believes Letha is the “Final Girl”, the surviving protagonist of slashers who ends up defeating the killer. But is a slasher film really taking place, or is it all in Jade’s head? And how far will Jade go to prove she’s right?

Interspersed through the plot are essays written by Jade for her history teacher about slasher films, which use examples from films like Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the Thirteenth to illustrate the common components of the slasher genre that parallel what she is seeing in town. These are clever ways of making sure the reader knows enough about slashers to appreciate the story, but they also help us better understand who Jade is and what she has been through. Both she and the town of Proofrock feel alive, enough so that Jones has announced he is writing two sequels to this book because there are still more stories to be told there.

Stephen Graham Jones clearly loves writing horror, and it feels like he had a lot of fun bringing this story to life. Come check out My Heart is a Chainsaw, and other thrilling and chilling horror novels like it, at the Sioux City Public Library.

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Verde Outdoor Media.

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