The Haunting of Hill House

B: Shirley Jackson

When the show came out, I initially didn’t know it was based on a book. I meant to read it before getting into the show but that didn’t happen. I’ll say this, the book is scarier than the show for a few reasons. 

The house is a predator. From the beginning we’re put in Eleanor’s shoes; the main main character. A single woman who can’t stand her sister, brother-in-law, or her niece. She sleeps in the baby’s room, doesn’t have her own apartment and is desperate for something to happen. 

When she gets her letter from the doctor about Hill House, she’s more than ready to go. She steals her sister’s car–that she helped pay for and they won’t let her use–and heads for Hill House. 

Being in Eleanor’s head from the beginning makes one thing very obvious: she has anxiety. She questions everything she says, wonders if people are talking about her and doubts everyone. On the way to the house she daydreams about the houses she sees and when she meets everyone she weaves these daydreams into her life story when she shares it. 

No one knows it’s a lie. She builds herself up to be a person who has things instead of someone living with her sister in a situation she can’t stand after taking care of her infirm mother for years.

And the house instantly takes a shine to her. She’s the first affected. Watching the house work into her, how it affects her and the turns it all takes before the end was the most unnerving thing. When anything supernatural happened, it was truly terrifying. 

She wrote it like she’d lived it, as if the experience had affected and she was giving her own account. But the scariest thing was watching Eleanor fall victim to the house. It got inside her and there was no way to stop it. 

That was what truly chilled me. The house wanted to haunt someone, and Eleanor was the perfect person. She had no defenses to it. And in the end, when she drives her car into a tree on the property, her last thoughts of “Why am I doing this? Why won’t they stop me?” were what scared me the most. 


Author. Reader. Reviewer. Interested in Sci-fi, Fantasy, and everything in between. Ya, and Adult. Looking for representaion where it matters! BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, everything! We all deserve stories!

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