My Best Friend’s Exorcism
Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act…different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
I picked up My Best Friend’s Exorcism, I am not afraid to say, because of the cover. I mean, look at it, how do you say no to that? It only goes up from there.
This book was so so good, you guys. So good.
Just as a physical object alone it was great. I mean, I’ve mentioned the cover, but the actual book is wonderful too. The end pages are decorated like a signed yearbook, and all the necessary beginning pages (copyright, title, etc) are designed like yearbook pages as well. It’s glorious.
Then you get to the story of Abby and Gretchen. Your average best friends from opposite sides of the tracks. They bonded when they were young and all that mattered were the little things like they liked the same movie (really it was E.T. that really cemented them together) and have stayed best friends ever since.
Having it set at the beginning of high school, you expect there to be some growing pains. After all, that’s when friendships like this usually start falling apart, right? This time, though, it’s not because one is accepted into a better social group than the other one.
This time, it’s because one is possessed and no one else will believe it.
The book is so full of 80s references, and it was so fun! Definitely had the Exorcist vibe to it, but much more light-hearted.
Spoilers below, so beware if you haven’t read it!
I think, honestly, that my favorite part was the exorcism itself, and I’ll get to that.
But first, though, I just wanted to say that I love how Gretchen was when she was possessed. It was exactly how you’d think of it and how you hear it described, but I think it was just done so much better than it usually is in movies.
Typically they make you think that the real person is in there somewhere and that they’re there most of the time. They’re the ones in control more often than not. But here, Grady Hendrix does a little more with it. The entity that’s possessing Gretchen pretends to be her so well that all but Abby are fooled, and it’s just because she knows her best friend that well.
There is a clear adjustment period that the entity goes through as well. Like it almost has to learn how to be in a human body. Gretchen goes through a period where she doesn’t shower and doesn’t put any effort at all into herself. Hell, she wears the same outfit for days at a time. Then the thing inside her learns, and comes in one day and has made Gretchen into an entirely different person like it finally grasped that it wasn’t doing things quite right.
But the exorcism though!
So they find the “exorcist” that they use through a program at school, and it’s this Christian dude who’s doing some kind of come to Jesus program for them, and Abby convinces him that she and Gretchen need his help.
They go to Gretchen’s family’s lake house somewhere, and he starts to do the exorcism and realizes that he’s way under qualified for this, and tries to get his mentor. But while he’s gone, Abby kind of just says “Fuck that” and manages to do the exorcism herself.
Do you know how she does it?
She sings We Got the Beat by the Go-Go’s.
Is that not the best thing you’ve ever heard? Because I honestly laughed out loud when I read it, and the actual exorcism of stories like this is supposed to be the most intense.
I think that’s where the strength of this book really is. It builds in all the right places and all the right ways, but when it gets to the big finale, everything’s flipped. It’s not what you think, and it’s just the absolute greatest.
Overall, I really really enjoyed this one. So much I’ve pushed it on three different people and immediately bought Grady Hendrix’s other book. I mean, come on, a horror story set in what is basically an IKEA? Yes puh-lease! I haven’t gotten to it yet (story of my life), but I am definitely looking forward to it.
If you’re looking for something that’s got all the suspense of a horror book and the heart of a comedy, I highly recommend this one. It could not have been less what I was expecting and I absolutely loved it.