Bingo Square: Adaptation
As a child Vic McQueen finds a shortcut to lost things through the Shorter Way Bridge. On her bicycle, she can zip through one side to wherever a missing thing is on the other. Her mother’s bracelet. A special toy. One day she meets a girl who mentions a man Vic should avoid at all costs.
Charles Manx likes to take children to Christmasland in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith. A place where it is Christmas every day, a playground of everything you could wish for. He just takes their soul in exchange.
Of course, one day Vic finds Manx, and a whole lot of trouble. She becomes the only person to escape him, and he goes to prison, withering away until death. But Charles Manx is not dead, and he’s looking for Vic…
Overall I enjoyed this, it’s a big book but it didn’t feel all that lengthy while reading. It’s not a slog or anything. There are times I wished it had slowed down its pace a little and sat with Vic and her family, or even Vic and her addictions, as these are just mentioned in passing. We know she’s messed up as a result of her run in with Manx, but we don’t get to see the full fallout. There is also a lot of grim attacks on Vic and other women that felt relentless. It’s not something I should complain about given the nature of the book (what did I think I was getting exactly?), but still. I skipped over a bunch of those descriptions because I didn’t need it.
I found the ending disappointing. It didn’t give me the emotional punch I was expecting. I had followed Vic from childhood, through motherhood and breakdowns and finally getting to go toe to toe with Manx, and the showdown was a bit…blah. Lots of show and very little connection. I also felt like she disappeared towards the end. It was all about Lou and Wayne (her ex and son). She didn’t get the sendoff she deserved.
*This is from the acknowledgements, where Hill talks about going for a motorcycle ride with his dad. And this feels very much like a Stephen King book, possibly to its detriment. Because if I wanted a King book, I’d read one, you know? There are references to Pennywise and Shawshank, and it’s a homage sure, and I guess why wouldn’t you at some point. But I’m not sure how I feel about it.
Be sure to read the note on the type at the end, for some extra added creepiness.