Psychosis… Or not — The Marbury Lens
Posted on June 30, 2011
The Marbury Lens. I’m not sure anymore who recommended it to me, I think it was on the Kobo site. In any case: I bought the book and read it.
I love scare and horror, but this was way beyond scare and horror. This was like ending up in your very own nightmare, never to wake up again.
Sixteen-year-old Jack Whitmore celebrates the end of the school year at a party thrown by his best friend Connor, who will also join him on a two week vacation to London. It is a good party and Jack gets blind drunk. Staggering the six miles back home — that’s when you’re still happy that he didn’t take the car — he falls asleep on a bench in the park. A doctor, passing by, wakes him and offers to take him home. He seems like a friendly guy, this doctor, and Jack accepts his offer.
Jack wakes up zip tied to a bed, in his underwear. The friendly doctor turns out to be the neighborhood pervert and a serial killer. Jack’s stun gunned and drugged up. Is it sheer luck that his attacker gets called away, just as he is about to rape Jack? Whether luck or providence, Jack escapes and finds his way back to his best friend Connor.
That’s when the reader relaxes and sits back. But that’s not what Andrew Smith had in mind for us readers. Jack leaves for London, a few days ahead of Connor. In a bar he meets Henry Hewitt. Henry leaves a pair of glasses with Jack and through the lenses Jack gets sucked into a war-ridden parallel world called Marbury. Hell seems like an understatement for that white-hot murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two boys. And Connor’s in Marbury, too, blood-thristy and all geared up to kill Jack…
Reading The Marbury Lens is like ending up in a nightmare, one that won’t go away once you wake up. It sticks to you like Marbury sticks to Jack. You don’t want to read on, but you have no choice. You have to go back to Marbury, just like Jack. Till the bitter end.
Andrew Smith has done an excellent job. The book is well-written and scary as hell. It will be a long time before I will be able to, again, sleep quietly and undisturbed. If ever. And it will be a long, long time before I accept a pair of glasses from a stranger.
Tagged: Andrew Smith, Book Review, Literature, Mina Witteman, The Marbury Lens, YA
Mina, Thank you so much for posting this. One of these days we will make a support group for people who get dragged through Marbury via the pages of this book. Writing it was a visceral journey, and I’m satisfied that experience has pulled so many readers along, too.
You’re welcome, Andrew! Eradicating the Marbury horror from one’s system — if at all possible — might, indeed, require the help of a sound support group. You’re one hell of a writer!
I love this book. But you’re right, Marbury still pulls at the dark corners of my mind when I’m alone.
It does, doesn’t it? Better deadbolt the doors and hide the glasses!