Book Review: My Heart is a Chainsaw

A picture of My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones.

“Horror’s not a symptom, it’s a love affair.”

My Heart is a Chainsaw was my third book by Stephen Graham Jones and dare I say my favorite so far? A lot of reviews talks about how this book is the slowest of slow burns, and it is, but in my review I want to talk about how this book made me FEEL.

In My Heart is a Chainsaw we meet Jade, a teenager obsessed with all things slasher. She’s seen every slasher movie EVER, and is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to the genre. It’s evident that Stephen Graham Jones is an expert on horror, and his knowledge shines through Jade’s character.

But why is she obsessed with the killings, gore, and suspense of these movies? She’s suppressing trauma, and is hyper-fixated on horror as a way to cope.

We see it in her school essays which are placed throughout the book, and get an inside look at her messy, unreliable narration. Her character is chaotic, and I saw so much of myself in her. I’ve talked to my therapist about how I consume horror to cope with trauma, and I just know that Jade and I would be friends.

But this book isn’t just about Jade and how she copes. No, it’s about how she recognizes horrific patterns in her hometown, and figures out something terrible is going to happen, even before the useless cops know what the hell is going on.

Yes, this book is slow, but there are so many DETAILS that matter. The plot is a lesson in patience and paying attention, and the payoff is better than the corn syrup and red dye used to make that gory, glorious fake blood in our favorite slasher films.

We get the best of the best: nail guns, machetes, final girls, local folklore, piles of carcasses, and enough blood to fill a lake.

My Heart is a Chainsaw is indeed a love letter to horror and slashers, but it also punched me right in the heart in the best way, and I never wanted it to end.

This book may not be for everyone, but it was perfect for me. I hope fellow horror fans are able to find and read it.

Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, for sending me a digital ARC via NetGalley. My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones came out on August 31 and can be purchased wherever books are sold.

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