Author: Stephen Graham Jones
Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press
Released: August 31, 2021
Warnings: Animal death
Yes, please! Stephen Graham Jones is back with another captivating horror novel, and we all know what that means! Time to dive back in with My Heart Is a Chainsaw.
Jade Daniels is an outcast with a desperate need for refuge. She’s running from her father, her history, her town, and more – right into the arms of horror movies. At first, that refuge in the arms of horror movies feels figurative, but it doesn’t take long before it becomes more literal, as the town seeps red.
This is the story of how Jade Daniels embraced horror movies as her savior, her damnation. Her victory. Her revenge. Her story.
“Some girls just don’t know how to die…”
I’m sitting here, having finished My Heart Is a Chainsaw, and just trying to absorb the absolute ride I was just thrown into. To whoever promised me that My Heart Is a Chainsaw was a novel for horror fans – you were not kidding.
This novel is very much an homage to slasher films. While you don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre, it certainly wouldn’t hurt here! Jade lives and breathes slasher flicks, and it shows through on each page.
“Outside of Leprechaun 6, has there even been a black final girl before? Usually in slashers, the black girls are the friends – – Scream 2, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. And that they’re in the part 2’s means they’re a response, a bandaid.”
My Heart Is a Chainsaw has been described as a love letter to horror fans. But it’s also more than that – so much more than that. Once again, Stephen Graham Jones has woven fiction with scathing commentary on history. This novel is very much a critique of American colonialism and gentrification. It hits hard – just as it was intended to.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone weaponize subtext in the way that Stephen Graham Jones does. It’s…amazing doesn’t feel like a strong enough description here. His writing hits you in the face…and then you stop to think about it, and it hits you in the heart. It’s such an experience, one that I don’t think I can accurately describe.
It’s amazing how perfect the lens of horror films is for the message Stephen Graham Jones incorporated here. It’s like two halves finally meeting. It’s magical, intense, harrowing, and blinding, all in one.
Thanks to Gallery, Saga Press and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.