Friday, 30 August 2013

The Creepiest Book I've Ever Read: The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright

The Lonely Doll is one of the creepiest books I've ever read. That it's supposed to be a kid's book only makes it creepier.

It's a 1950s book made up of black and white photos - that's right, no colour for you damn kids! - starring a disturbed, sad doll as two terrifying teddy bears, the youngest of whom is blank faced making him even more scary, and an adult bear, who has what can only be described as a crazy expression, move into the doll's house so she's no longer alone.

The phrase "Just wait and see what fun we'll have!" uttered by the bears is one of the most haunting lines I've ever read.

When the doll and the little bear behave like all kids (I assume the doll herself is supposed to be a kid - the alternative is that she's mentally handicapped. But then why is she allowed to live alone?), they are beaten by the adult bear. It's at this point that I began formulating my own plot about this book: the doll wants company and out of desperation (and probably a potent combo of liquor and prescription drugs) makes a bad decision and takes in a couple of transients who proceed to take over her house and hold her hostage.

Later when the adult bear leaves, the doll and the little bear attempt to escape the house which they've now become prisoners in. They fail and wind up trying to have as much fun as they can before the crazy adult bear returns. The photo of when they're playing dress-up and the adult bear is in the background standing in the doorway with that expression on his face - that is straight up, 100% legit, horror. The adult bear then proceeds to beat them. Then later, in a case of Stockholm syndrome and/or cultish devotion, they believe they've done wrong and apologise to the adult bear for their non-transgressions!

The fact that this book is presented with dead toys in chilling black and white photos with a chintzy dress pattern on the background cover, makes it even more disturbing to read. And if you look into the author Dare Wright's sad life where she had a domineering and insane mother and an allegedly incestuous relationship with her brother, the only man she could be close to, it just adds that extra layer of terror to the book.

This is a kid's book that I wouldn't ever think in a million years to give to a kid - it's like reading a book a mental patient in Bellevue wrote which somehow got published and became a serial killer's bible. The photos, the story, it's all just nightmare fuel. This is the anti-Toy Story.

Just wait and see what fun we'll have...

The Lonely Doll

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