Book Review: His Hideous Heart

This book appeared just in the knick of time. I planned an American poetry unit for this Winter and hoped to add something more- current? To our Poe readings. This collection is so much better than anything that I thought I was looking for. This anthology includes so many talented writers that I feel obligated to list them all in this review:

Dahlia Adler  (Editor), Kendare Blake  (Contributor), Rin Chupeco  (Contributor), Lamar Giles (Contributor), Tessa Gratton  (Contributor), Tiffany D. Jackson  (Contributor), Stephanie Kuehn  (Contributor), Amanda Lovelace (Contributor) , Marieke Nijkamp  (Contributor), Emily Lloyd-Jones  (Contributor), Hillary Monahan  (Contributor), Caleb Roehrig  (Contributor), Fran Wilde  (Contributor)

Both of the reimagined and original tales are both printed in this book. I think we’ll read the new version and then the original and do a compare/contrast type thing during our Literature Study.

All the stories stick the original horror type premise in a newly imagined sometimes modern twist. This is a high school book. I wouldn’t use it as a read-aloud for grade-schoolers unless you’ve previewed it ahead of time. It is excellent for older teens, though, lots of diversity and inclusion in the characters of these sometimes terrifying stories. My favorite was The Oval Filter (The Oval Portrait) by Lamar Giles. In this story, a college football star’s dead girlfriend shows up in his Instagram feed, which is scary enough. But also, she’s trapped in an oval filter that appears to be suffocating her behind the screen. The stories touch on some heavy themes, such as, Animal death, homophobia, suicide, implied transphobia, torture, misogyny, and substance abuse.

Most of the stories would fit perfectly into Black Mirror episodes. This book would be an excellent gift for the holidays. Teens/New Adults in your life will probably never pick up a book of Poe Tales unless it’s this one. I checked it out of the library and then promptly purchased it to keep in our home library.

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