Review: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act…different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix. Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller. Published by Blackstone Audio, May 2016. 10 hours and 11 mins. This book was picked for the December 2018 read by my local book club as well as for the Goodreads Horror Aficionados group.

Well… I finished this book about a week ago, and I’m still not sure exactly what I want to say. There are several things I liked about it, but, I don’t know… sadly it just ended up kind of being meh for me. I really loved Mr. Hendrix’s Horrorstor novel, and perhaps was expecting My Best Friend’s Exorcism to by on the same level as that…? I don’t know. Even after having a week to think on what I didn’t like about this book, it still is hard for me to put my finger on what exactly that was.

Let me talk about the good things. It was an awesome homage to the 80s. You constantly had 80s pop culture dropped on you. Movies, tv, music… even things like the type of telephone they had or the way they did their hair… It felt very authentic. And if you loved the 80s, you will have a ton of fun picking out uber 80s moments mentioned throughout the book.

I also really enjoyed how the exorcist and the exorcism it’s self were very unconventional. It was amusing but also refreshing to see something so wildly different from all the other exorcism books out there. You really have not seen anything like it before. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about Brother Lemon, a very jock-like body builder exorcist… but I personally thought he was pretty funny and very fitting to the 80s.

There were a few spots that could be considered triggers for people. I know I did not like the animal deaths throughout the book. Very big turn off. Also, there were a few disgusting parts that were pretty vile. I don’t mind (non-animal) gross stuff, but I could see some people feeling pretty icky after reading it.

I listened to the audio and it was narrated by Emily Woo Zeller. Like the way I feel about the book, I’m having a hard time deciding how I feel about her performance. I think she nailed the whiney kid / teen girl.. but, I don’t know… I felt a little underwhelmed by the over all performance. Again, I can’t really put my finger on why I feel that way.

For some reason, My Best Friend’s Exorcism just fell a little flat for me. I think, maybe some of the problem for me was that it chronicled the entire friendship of the 2 main characters. There was a LOT of build up before we even got to the the possession. After the exorcism, it continued for an explanation of their friendship for the rest of their life AND it got kinda long winded and depressing! It just felt like a lot of info dump about their friendship and less time spent on the actual possession. Yes, you got to really FEEL the strength of their friendship, that’s true… but it just felt like the actual possession and exorcism didn’t get nearly enough time and details perhaps. I don’t know.

While I enjoyed the 80s references and some of the unconventional exorcism methods, the over all story felt a little meh to me. I didn’t really like the animal deaths and I felt like there wasn’t nearly enough time spent on the actual possession. It wasn’t a horrible book, but it wasn’t a great book. It is hard for me to point to why I didn’t like it, other then it just left me feeling a little disappointed.


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