Since his conception, Slender Man has been a popular figure among creepypasta consumers, including myself. Strangely enough, there doesn’t seem to be any big name novels out there that actually capitalized on the Slender Man boom until recently. Enter “Slender Man”, an apparently anonymously written novel I recently read.
WHAT IS IT?
Written anonymously (though some sharp-eyed Goodreads readers apparently attribute the book to author Will Hill), and published in 2018, “Slender Man” is a psychological horror-mystery about a young teen who experiences nightmares coinciding with the mysterious disappearance of his friend.
WHAT DID I LIKE ABOUT THE BOOK?
I like the format that they went with. This is an epistolary novel told in journal entries, news articles, interview transcripts, emails, text messages, etc. Considering the digital origins of our titular monster, it’s only appropriate that we too are confined to the claustrophobic storytelling devices. Anything that happens outside the documentation saved by our characters is left to the imagination, creating a sense of dread and suspense as you turn page after page, expecting the next development. You are left reading between the lines for any ulterior motives, double-meanings, mythology, clues, etc.
Our protagonist is too-cool-for-the-cool-crowd Matt Barker. He comes across — or at least presents himself — as a dashing rich kid (he even calls himself something like “a privileged white boy”) but as the story goes on, all that cool exterior goes down, exposing a young teenager that’s susceptible to forces beyond his control, and I’m not talking just about Slendy. There are also themes predatory (non-sexual) strangers online who seek not to help but, for lack of a better word, to troll. I think that’s what scared me more in this book.
That said, Slender Man is smartly mentioned sparingly, so you’re also left with ambiguous notions of maybe the characters are just foolhardy teens seeing Slender Man as the metaphor for adulthood or something like that? But it also leaves room open for the possibility that Slender Man is out to get them, made all the more chilling with the ending.
WHAT DIDN’T I LIKE ABOUT THE BOOK?
Though the storytelling technique is applaudable, some parts of the book suffer from the things we criticize in found footage movies: why are they documenting this? Why are they saying this as if there’s an audience? Other than this, I had a good time reading this book.
“Slender Man” is a pretty good YA horror novel that’s better than it has any right to be. It’s a subtle and claustrophobic psychological slow-burner that had me burning through the pages.
My personal copy of “Slender Man”
Dustin is a horror fan and sometimes short story writer who hails from the Philippines. He likes a lot of the horror genre but usually goes for slashers and arthouse/slowburn stuff. Currently, he’s trying to make up for lost time in the horror literature world by digesting as many horror books as he can.