Book Review

The Turn of the Screw Review


A young girl takes her first job as a governess for two strange children in a house in the country. At first the job seems wonderful and the children delightful, but then she starts to see strange things and maybe the children are not so delightful. 

My Thoughts: 

So it has been a long while since I read classic literature so the writing style was quite an adjustment for me. Don’t get me wrong I love a good classic, but this one was a little questionable to me. I was expecting a much darker and much scarier story and it just fell very flat for me. I just thought it had so much more potential, but I liked the fact that it left me confused and with more questions. This idea made it much more of a mystery than a gothic horror story for me. 

All of the characters were extremely unreliable! First of all the children’s uncle told the governess not to bother him if she had any complaints! That is a huge red flag right there! She has no idea what the children are like and doesn’t know anyone at the property! If he had told me that, I would’ve questioned why, but she just accepts it like it’s no big deal. I wish we had learned more about the uncle and why he didn’t want to be bothered by the children or complaints about them. Did he hate children? Did he know that there are issues with the children? Was she imagining him in the first place?! I have so many unanswered questions Mr. James!! 

Red flag number two, the fact their previous governess ended up dead. I’m sorry, but who in their right mind would want to work somewhere where the person that had your job previously died? NOT THIS GIRL! I don’t understand this common narrative of people taking jobs where the previous job holder has died. You are basically signing your death warrant when you sign up for the job, people! 

Red flag number three, when she met the children and they were angels. From my experience in gothic literature and horror movies, never trust the children! I mean no child is perfect, if they are very well behaved all the time, they MUST be doing something wrong! 

Lastly red flag number four, the son got kicked out of his boarding school and they didn’t state why. Uhhhhh, girllll you’re in trouble! She didn’t even confront him until way later in the book when he brought it up to her. Why all of this avoidance? Does she know deep down there is something wrong and didn’t want to address it? Ugh so many questions. 

The ghosts were very interesting, but they fell flat at the same time. The author didn’t really describe them except to state what they were wearing. We also didn’t get the back story of them or how they died. We just know they’re evil, but do we really even know if they exist? I don’t trust the main character of the story and the fact that Mrs. Grose didn’t see the ghosts, which made me question everything. 

The main character is the most unreliable out of all the characters. We don’t know any of her background or where she is from. I also don’t understand if she is crazy or not. I mean is she imagining these ghosts? Is she right that the ghosts want the children’s souls? I just don’t know! There are just so many questions I have and NONE OF THEM WERE ANSWERED!!! Sorry, I’m very bitter. 

The ending was a pure cluster of confusion and frustration and I am bitter about that too! Overall, I’m glad I read it, but it wasn’t what I wanted. 

My Book Rating

3/5 Book World

3/5 Heebie Geebies 

3/5 Plot

2/5 Characters

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Book Details

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James 

Genre: Gothic Horror 

Published by Penguin Popular Classics in 1994

Copy Read: Paperback 

Pages: 119

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