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The Final Girl Support Group


Grady Hendrix

The Final Girl Support Group
average rating is 3 out of 5

Horror, Thriller

R. Alex Jenkins

A long-winded and farfetched thriller.

Grady Hendrix does action like a novice stepping onto ice for the first time trying to push off, falling down on their backside, head hitting the barriers and waking up on a stretcher. It's all over. Gore is done in a similar way and feels like you're watching from a CCTV camera rather than being in the thick of it.

This book is a decent romp but with too much meandering and contemplation in its rather unsatisfying and drawn out approach, with the action feeling rushed, butchery too light, and the backstory infused with way too many confusing character studies. There are some interesting viewpoints but there is no explanation or philosophy about why people go into public and commit mass murder - they simply do it and we have to continue accept it as part of modern-day society from people who have probably been abused, parentless and unhinged since birth. I don't think this book deserves deep appreciation into why this happens, it's another thriller that garners fame from the negative blot on the copybook of our messed up lifestyles.

As my first introduction to Grady Hendrix, I was expecting a LOT from this book. The Final Girl Support Group is a female AA-type gathering for women who have been through extreme trauma and who need each other for support, but the overall concept is disturbing and unhealthy: if a woman has been harassed in the past, there are now legions of fanboys and perverts waiting to harass her even more. If a woman wins a tennis tournament or does some glamour modelling for extra cash, there will be a lifetime of stalkers and paparazzi following her every step. In Final Girl, murderous weirdos live in practically every house in every street and the male population largely consists of degenerated assholes. I can't think of one regular male character in this book that's level-headed or kind, and even little boys are oppressive and domineering.

The author plays on a trope that women are victims and therefore entitled to behave like turds, who go around kicking ass at no obvious benefit to themselves while living in the shadows and hidden away from potentially murderous men who make their lives even more hellish.

It's a depressingly ramped up viewpoint of modern America that mass murderers are everywhere and not just occasional odd-bods popping out of the woodwork, but buzzing around us like steaming flies. All female characters are traumatized and behave irrationally for a reason, but that doesn't excuse everyone being a miserable nutbag in this book, in its inaccurate and distorted viewpoint of murder or being murdered, eventually becoming a parody of itself that consists of very serious concepts on the one hand and borderline ridiculousness on the other.

Hendrix plays on our paranoia by over-exaggerating it, but worst of all, every character is dislikeable, disposable and non-consequential. I didn't care what happened to any of them, and regularly trying to keep track of so many disagreeable people and their relationships was equally tiresome. In chapter four I had to do a general character wiki, which is never a good sign, unless you're reading Shakespeare, which this certainly is not.

I read horror to make me feel something, for that emotion, shock, outrage and disgust when it gets really bad, sometimes for immature laughs, but this book made me feel depressed and nothing else. It is not a microcosm of real life at all. There sure are lots of sick weirdos out there, but most people are good, generous and kind.

The book is an exciting and well-planned thriller if you let all the misogynistic bullying wash over your head and can successfully filter through the confusing relationships and throwaway action. There are definitely good chapters and it's dynamic and imaginative in places. It's not my intention to crusade against it, but I found it pointless, misleading and destructive, and even sleep-inducing in places.

I'm reading this as a monthly read for book club Horror Haven, and next month we have another Grady Hendrix book, which I am desperate to be more balanced and rewarding than this? I paid good money for this book too, which isn't worth the price.

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