Christopher and his single-mother are starting over in a town. Christopher must savE the worlD. He’ll need all thE helP he Can geT. FrOm hiS friendS. From his moM. And from his new imaginarY frienD.
The Nice Man.
Over 900 pages of this book were written like that: short, declarative sentences; fragments; strange, unnecessary capitalization; breaks in the sentence and paragraph. It’s all very Chbosky. At first, the style choices work. The breaks and short sentences create a tone and a mood that leave the reader unsure and unstable. The choices seem very much inline with how an 8 or 9 year old would think or speak. But after about the first couple hundred pages, it all grates and all repeats.
The horror aspect doesn’t work either. There are no stakes. All of the horror happens on the imaginary side of the world where no one dies and everyone always escapes. Even those that don’t escape don’t end up suffering all that horrible of fate. At least their fate is not described as being so horrible. I’m not sure if Chbosky doesn’t write out the horror because he can’t or because Christopher, the narrator, wouldn’t be able to understand it. Either way, it doesn’t work. Similar to the syntax choices, all the horror descriptions we do get repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat…
There is also a third act shift to overtly Christian imagery and allusions that felt entirely unwarranted. There was one religious character who made every choice within the structure of Catholicism, but it seemed entirely bizarre to relate every character and plot point to Christianity. It cheapened everything that had occurred up until that point.