Quick Reminder: This month we are reading ‘Dead of Winter’ by Darcy Coates!
Today I’m going to discuss the book in the same way I normally do online. You can find the recorded talk on my book club Instagram page. I’ll give a quick plot summary plus my overall star/scare-factor ratings. Then I will share the discussion topics and trivia questions. Please include all of your answers and opinions down below. I want to know exactly what you thought. I’ll also leave the answers to the trivia questions at the very bottom of the post, so if you wish to guess without being spoiled, do not scroll to the end until you’re ready. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
BLACK MOUTH BY RONALD MALFI – JULY 2023
For nearly two decades, Jamie Warren has been running from darkness. He’s haunted by a traumatic childhood and the guilt at having disappeared from his disabled brother’s life. But then a series of unusual events reunites him with his estranged brother and their childhood friends, and none of them can deny the sense of fate that has seemingly drawn them back together.
Nor can they deny the memories of that summer, so long ago – the strange magic taught to them by an even stranger man, and the terrible act that has followed them all into adulthood. In the light of new danger, they must confront their past by facing their futures, and hunting down a man who may very well be a monster.
OVERALL STAR RATING
I gave Black Mouth 5/5 stars. I think it will be a favourite for 2023! It had so many parallels to IT (more on that below) that made my heart so happy. It was my kind of story. A coming-of-age tale with plenty of heart and horror. I couldn’t put it down. This was my first Ronald Malfi book, but it definitely won’t be the last!
OVERALL SCARE-FACTOR RATING
I gave it an overall scare-factor rating of 4/5 stars. This book was very unsettling. It had so many skin-prickling scenes that set my teeth on edge. Picturing The Magician’s face changing as described by Jamie was enough to make me utter ‘nope!’ I also felt fearful when they descended into the well and found many an evil entity below.
1.) Discuss some of the parallels between Black Mouth and IT.
I had to add this question because as we all know, IT is my favourite horror movie and book. The fact that this novel was so similar, wasn’t lost on me. It definitely contributed to me giving it a high score and my overall enjoyment. Here are some parallels I picked up on:
– A group of underdogs facing a paranormal entity, both in childhood and adulthood
– Moving between past and present timelines
– An unhinged adult following the group, with intent to kill (similar to Henry Bowers)
– The final act consisting of the lead characters descending into the monster’s lair, only to find the spirits of the children he claimed
– Each member of the group (minus Dennis) having their own POV, as well as personal struggles in adulthood and childhood
2.) Why did Dennis possess the power to defeat The Magician?
I personally think it’s because Dennis couldn’t be manipulated by The Magician. His brain was wired differently and therefore, could not be influenced like the rest.
3.) What role did alcoholism play in the story and how did it measure up as a real-life monster adults battle?
Jamie’s battle with alcoholism was a demon in and of itself. It was also a very realistic depiction of an addiction. In the epilogue, he remarked that he continued to fall off the wagon but managed to pick himself up after every fall. Sometimes the scariest fights of our lives are the ones we can actually control. Jamie was a product of his past trauma and chose to self-medicate with substance abuse. It is as much a role in this novel as the actual characters.
Easy: Where were the group of friends from?
Medium: What was the name of Jamie and Dennis’s half-brother?
Hard: What was the name of Clay’s skin condition?
I hope you enjoyed the book club discussion in this post and on Instagram. As mentioned above, share all of your thoughts in the comments below! If you have any feedback/suggestions to improve the book club, please let me know. I look forward to talking to you all next month! Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo
TRIVIA ANSWERS: Easy: Sutton Quay. Medium: Milo Patchin. Hard: Vitiligo.