APRIL FOOLS’ - BOOK REVIEW

Human skin journal

The following is a work of fiction. Viewer’s discretion is advised.

In his famous novel 1984, George Orwell sums up the compelling ideas of thought crime in a simple quote: “If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” Had the frightening old woman who lives next door to me been a wiser woman, she likely would have heeded this advice; luckily for me, however, she chose the path less traveled. It was with great pleasure that I found myself able to curl up with the yellowed pages and human skin binding of one spectacularly old woman’s treasured diary one rainy afternoon. There’s something to be said for the charm of reading something hand-written by someone in their blood.

I should preface this by saying that the journal started screaming as I popped it open; while it certainly gave me a fright, I simply couldn’t put it down once my eyes caught a glimpse of its ancient runes and powerful secrets. I had fully expected that the old woman’s journal would err on the side of boring—she doesn’t do much aside from cackling about murder or killing small animals, so I didn’t exactly have high expectations of the dramatic content of her life.

Thankfully, I was entirely wrong. This old bat wrote about her life with the vivacity of a gossip column sprinkled with the whispers of a romance novel. If the words of the old lady are any indication, the life of an immortal being is a tasteful juxtaposition of Jane Eyre, James Bond, and Necronomicon. I would never have guessed that she would use her ability to summon demons to keep her company, but by any metric she keeps busy. Whether it be an affair with Beelzebub or the fact that Baal is cheating on Baphomet with Paimon, the simple politics of a boring old lady and her supernatural friends is actually captivating on a deeply personal level.

But the drama didn’t stop with the scandalous lives of Hell’s elite, the way that the old lady engages her mind is arguably just as enthralling as the events in her life. One of my personal favorite entries included a detailed bracket ranking of her least favorite types of people—for the record, she hates small girls more than small boys—and a list of incantations that she casts on each of us to make each of our lives worse. I have to give her credit for imagination; her spells vary from something as typical as the flu to something as interesting as having your loved ones turn to dust under your fingertips. There’s something to be said for a witch who manages to be as nefarious as she is original.

Either way, I’m certainly glad that I decided to steal an old lady’s journal, and I’m even more glad that the lady didn’t have the foresight to think that I’d take it. Simply put, it’s one of the most fantastically written books to have ever blessed either Earth or Hell, and I would be disappointed if its pure evil continued to fly under the radar.

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