Possessions: A great book for kids

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsPossessions, Book One: Unclean Getaway by Ray Fawkes (author/artist)

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsIf you are looking for a fun, unique, well-written book for your 8-12 year old, you should seek out a copy of Possessions by Ray Fawkes. It’s horror fiction for kids in the same way that Scooby-Doo is technically horror fiction: It’s just so much fun, there’s nothing to be frightened of. Basically, the main character looks like a five- to six-year old girl, but she’s actually a pit demon known as “Gurgazon the Unclean.”

Gurgazon is captured by Mr. Thorne, a butler-like servant who maintains for his elderly employer the Llewellyn-Vane House for Captured Spirits and Ghostly Curiosities. The main narrative is simple: Gurgazon tries again and again to escape and is constantly frustrated by Mr. Thorne who seems to anticipate perfectly every attempt Gurgazon makes. The more complex her schemes, the funnier it becomes that anyone could anticipate them.

possessions 1Other than this dynamic between Gurgazon and Mr. Thorne, the comic book gains its humor from Gurgazon’s interactions with the other inhabitants: The Sturmann Poltergeist, AKA “Polly”; the very friendly Ice Field Lights; The Headless Pale Lady; and The Duke, a haunted Juke Box. The inhabitants have apparently resigned themselves to their fates and no longer try to run away, and they kindly welcome Gurgazon to their group. But with every attempt at kindness, Gurgazon yells out something like, “SHUDDER at Gurgazon’s unholy power!” or “ENDURE GURGAZON’S AWFULNESS!” All the friendly spooks try to ignore her insults — The Pale Lady even tries to hug Gurgazon. Only the friendly Polly is easily insulted, and then the fun really begins . . .

I read this book to my eight-year-old who howled with laughter every time Gurgazon screamed something like “Know Gurgazon and FEAR Gurgazon!” We had a blast reading it together, and then he went off and read it to himself once he understood how the voices of the characters worked. My twelve-year-old grabbed all three volumes of Possessions and disappeared into her room, only to emerge later demanding that I look at her favorite passages with her. I’d say that Possessions was a great success in my family since this father enjoyed it as much as his kids.

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BRAD HAWLEY, who's been with us since April 2012, earned his PhD in English from the University of Oregon with areas of specialty in the ethics of literature and rhetoric. Since 1993, he has taught courses on The Beat Generation, 20th-Century Poetry, 20th-Century British Novel, Introduction to Literature, Shakespeare, and Public Speaking, as well as various survey courses in British, American, and World Literature. He currently teaches Crime Fiction, Comics, and academic writing at Oxford College of Emory University where his wife, Dr. Adriane Ivey, also teaches English. They live with their two young children outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Read Brad's series on HOW TO READ COMICS.

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