the best friends you’ll never have


Yesterday I reread Kristy and the Haunted Mansion. It is not a book I have read many times. I wasn’t sure why, before I read it again. Despite the presence of Karen Brewer, the idea of sleeping over in a creepy old house seems kind of neat, looking at all of the old crap in the house, all of it perfectly preserved. And then I got to the end and I realized why I hated it.

And this is where you should stop reading if you haven’t gotten a chance to read this book in the sixteen years since it’s been published.

So the caretaker guy, Will Blackburn, was so heartbroken that nearly sixty years later he was living on his ex-girlfriend’s property, keeping up all of her things, which is actually really creepy. You know, it’s sad that his first love died and all, but really he should have done something to get over it. He should have fought in World War II or something and gotten over it. Seriously. Are we meant to believe that his girlfriend died, his girlfriend’s dad died, and then he just bought this huge mansion on his own? I guess he must have made money while pining away for her after her death or something. But that’s beside the point–basically you have this dude, who never got with anyone else, never had kids, never seemed to really do anything in his life because his fiancee died in 1937…


Despite the fact that Dorothy’s actions killed her father and destroyed Will’s life, basically (although OK, I can see the argument that Will not moving on with his life is totally not her fault; he chose the path he followed, I guess), she is presented as a positive character in the book. She’s a nice old lady who bucked convention and had a great, feminist-empowerment life. I do understand why she did it, I suppose–not wanting to go from her dad’s house to her husband’s house–but, you know, she could have just met Will and said “I am not ready for marriage” and then gone off to Paris or whatever. She didn’t have to let everyone believe she was DEAD.

And what is the BSC’s reaction? “Oh, let’s reunite them! How romantic!” No, all you Mary Anne Spiers of the world, she’s just not that into him. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have faked her death to get away from him. Plus, how will poor Will feel, when his sixty-years-presumed-dead-fiancee-who-jilted-him shows up at his door? Dude’s gonna have a heart attack. Then he is going to be really, really pissed off.

In conclusion, this book is just all kinds of messed up and sends a weird message.

6 Responses To This Post

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Sadako said, June 14th, 2009 at 12:13 pm

I liked this book as a kid b/c of the idea of being in a haunted house for the night but now that I look back it’s pretty odd. Making your fiance/family think you were dead. Also found it kind of weird that she still lived in Sbrook.

bbb said, June 14th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

I only like this book for the haunted house aspect. The Dorothy/Will storyline weirded me out as a kid and still does. They’re both so messed up–Dorothy because she let those who loved her believed she was dead and Will because he’s lived at his ex-fiancee’s house for so many years. He could have left town, started a new life for himself, but he chose to remain in Stoneybrook. Did he think Dorothy might come back someday? Pt. 2: Will snaps and kills Dorothy and buries her in the backyard after she shows up at his doorstep saying “surprise hahaha I was alive the whole time isn’t it grand?”

nikki said, June 14th, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Never read this one, but damn, that’s all kinds of fucked up!

Myu said, June 15th, 2009 at 8:30 am

This. x1000
It also bothers me how this kind of wtf-ery is typical for the Mysteries series.

Gabrielle said, June 15th, 2009 at 5:17 pm

I have read this one but I have no recollection of it and you would think this would be the sort of thing I would remember.

mella2750 said, June 30th, 2009 at 10:14 am

I wanted to visit that mansion so badly! I loved this book growing up, but you’re totally spot on about the weirdness with the non-BSC characters’ stories. I mean, maybe Dorothy really thought she needed to run away without telling anyone to get away with it, but maybe she could have sent Will and Pops a postcard once she got to Paris. Geez.

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