I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
Published by titan Books on 2021
Genres: Fiction, Horror, Thrillers, Suspense, Psychological
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Publisher, NetGalley
Buy on Amazon
"The horror master...puts his unique spin on slasher movie tropes."-USA Today
In horror movies, the final girls are the ones left standing when the credits roll. They made it through the worst night of their lives...but what happens after?
Like his bestselling novel The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires, Grady Hendrix's latest is a fast-paced, frightening, and wickedly humorous thriller. From chain saws to summer camp slayers, The Final Girl Support Group pays tribute to and slyly subverts our most popular horror films--movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream.
Lynette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she's been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, working to put their lives back together. Then one woman misses a meeting, and their worst fears are realized--someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece.
But the thing about final girls is that no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.
After loving A Southern Book Groups Guide to Slaying Vampires, I was seriously looking forward to reading The Final Girl Support Group. The perception and reality, unfortunately, were completely different. A premise that should have both been intriguing and thrilling, it turned out to be neither. Something is lacking, be it characters of more substance and grit, racial tropes that don’t belong there and the feminist monologue just didn’t feel genuine and if I’m honest a bit contrived. The Final Girls were just girls that had a traumatic event happen to them – I wanted to the raw and unfiltered story of their backstories, we only had Lynette’s story, one narrative.
The Final Girl Support Group as mentioned above does well on intention but the reality was weak and without structure. The character development ultimately had me not caring about the final girls and that should be the last thing intended with a story of such a high concept. We need to care about what and why this happened to the girls but I ended up just thinking the majority of them were cold and calculated. I didn’t feel the strength and resilience at being the final girl – I couldn’t imagine any of them killing the murderer.
The Final Girl Support Group is a throwback to the ’80s and 90’s slasher flix’s and I think they should have just stayed there. It is one of the few novels I’ve read in the genre that has left me feeling it would have been better than a movie instead of a book. There’s gore but there is also cheese in equal measure and it was just too much (the cheese that is.) It’s reminiscent of Scream and Nightmare on Elm Street but the book dragged on in too many places for me to be truly invested in the outcome.
The payoff in the novel ended up coming way too late in the story for me to care. The killer’s motives weren’t revealed until very late on, the way the sequence of the story moved forward didn’t make much sense and by this point, I was left feeling very frustrated at the narrative and the plot. I was so sick of Lynette by the end I just couldn’t care what happened to her. How is she even a final girl? She was so weak and anxious. Suspending disbelief is how I would describe my reading experience with The Final Girl Support Group.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Like gravity, or ugly people, Grady Hendrix is hard to escape, especially here on his website. In this place, he is all up in your areas and he even wrote the words that you are reading right now. When you are on his website, he can see you. He can see you right now.
If you want to contact him then send him an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grady Hendrix writes fiction, also called “lies,” and he writes non-fiction, which people sometimes accidentally pay him for. He is the author of Horrorstör, the only novel about a haunted Scandinavian furniture store you’ll ever need. It has been translated into 14 languages and is being turned into a movie from the people who made quality films like 1917 and Black Swan. Foolishly, they are paying Grady to write it. He is busy inserting a whole lot of tutus into it right now.
His novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism, about demonic possession, friendship, exorcism, and the Eighties, is basically Beaches meets The Exorcist and it caused the Wall Street Journal to call him “a national treasure” and received rave reviews from everyone from Kirkus to Southern Living. Surprisingly, this is still not enough for him to earn his mother’s love.
Refusing to stop trying to prove himself to his family, he also wrote Paperbacks from Hell, a history of the horror paperback boom in the Seventies and Eighties. It is so popular it won a Stoker Award, and while you may not know what that is, trust me when I say that it is a big, big deal that gets Grady 20% off all purchases at the Franklin Mint. His next novel was We Sold Our Souls, a heavy metal take on the Faust legend, which hit bookstores in 2018 and got selected as one of the best books of 2018 by Library Journal, the Chicago Public library, and, finally, his mom. It’s also one of Locus’s recommended novels of 2018 and earned him an article in the Los Angeles Review of Books that makes him sound like some kind of smart person or something. He’s not.
His latest novel is the New York Times bestseller, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, which is being turned into a TV series by Amazon right now because they own everything. In a surprise twist, this book is actually about a Southern vampire getting clubbed to death with books by the band, Slayer.
Grady Hendrix used to be a journalist, which means that he was completely irrelevant and could be killed and turned into food at any time. He is one of the founders of the New York Asian Film Festival, but he is not responsible for the bad parts of it. He is also not Asian. For years he was a regular film critic for the New York Sun but then it went out of business. He has written for Playboy Magazine, Slate, The Village Voice, the New York Post, Film Comment, and Variety. He has a hard time making up his mind.
There is a science fiction book called Occupy Space that he is the author of, and also a fantasy book called Satan Loves You which he wrote as well. Along with his BFF from high school, Katie Crouch, he is the co-author of the YA series, The Magnolia League. He co-authored Dirt Candy: A Cookbook, the first graphic novel cookbook in America, with his wife and Ryan Dunlavey. It’s now in its seventh printing which means that at least 24 people have bought a copy. His fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Pseudopod, and the anthology, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination.
He is very, very beautiful, but if you ever meet him, please do not let this make you uncomfortable. He does not judge.
The New Yorker once ran a short profile of him, and this means that when the time comes and they are lining people up for the Space Arks he will be guaranteed a seat ahead of you.
I think he explains pretty well why Lynnette didn’t really fight back in her situation, but I agree with a lot of your review. I liked it more than you did but my main issue was that these were supposed to be grown women and they all acted like teenagers.
Yeah, I struggled with their behaviour a lot. I just think this one wasn’t for me but I’m sure there will be many others who will love it!