Book recommendation: ‘The book of accidents’ by Chuck Wendig

By Dr Jasmine B. MacDonald on December 5, 2023

About the book

This horror / fantasy novel is about Nate, his wife and their son. After Nate’s dad dies, the three of them move from the city into Nate’s childhood home in the country. Nate and his mother experienced abuse from Nate’s dad in this house. Circumstance means that moving back into the house is a necessary evil, even though it is distressing for Nate. Creepy stuff ensues…

The publisher page for the book provides the following teaser:

A family returns to their hometown – and to the dark past that haunts them still – in this masterpiece of literary horror by the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderers

More info about the book

Sensitive content warning

This book has themes related to child abuse, intergenerational violence, and broader sexual, physical and psychological violence.

How I found this book

A couple of weeks before starting this book, I found and purchased a copy of Gentle writing advice which is a non-fiction and much shorter book by the same author. You will hear about this book in a later recommendation – I love it. I read a bit every day on the train and then feel pumped to make stuff, at work and in my personal projects.

In Gentle writing advice, there is a chapter about genre. Wendig uses a number of examples from popular fiction in film and his own novels to highlight how genre is a slippery thing. At this point of the book I have already decided Chuck is worth listening to and is also hilarious (the footnotes are abundant and glorious). I figured that it was worth checking out his work in fiction, even though I pretty much exclusively read non-fiction and exclusively write non-fiction.

I went to a Melbourne library thinking I was going to pick up Wendig’s latest novel, Black River Orchard. But I had mistakenly requested it from a different library and would have to wait until the next day before I’d be able to pick it up. But I had already decided I was going to start reading a novel that Friday evening and have it finished by the end of Tuesday (4-day weekend y’all). I wasn’t walking away from the library empty handed. Luckily, the library had a bunch of Wendig’s books.

I walked away with The book of accidents, but honestly I was thinking two things: (1) ‘crap this thing is huge’ (it is over 500 pages and I don’t usually read fiction) and (2) ‘I can’t believe I am leaving with a haunted house book, I’m not gonna like this’.

I smashed through this book and thought it was awesome.

Why I enjoyed reading this book

  1. There are a bunch of really cool and interesting ideas in this book, especially if you enjoy fantasy, horror (books or film) and have an interest in trauma and psychology. Some of the interesting ideas were large plot points and others were small details that come up again later in a satisfying way.
  2. The violence in the book did not feel like it was for cheap shock value. It always felt like it was pivotal to the overall story.
  3. The use of humour complimented, and at times magnified, the horror themes.
  4. The story follows a range of characters and weaves together well, without being burdensome on the reader.
  5. I feel pretty confident that this book has sneaky little references to other novels by Chuck. Can confirm this when I read the others, because I will now that I enjoyed this one so much.
  6. There were popular film, TV and music references scattered throughout that I personally appreciated. I grew up with a brother figure of a similar age to Chuck who influenced much of my formative music, TV and film interests.

That’s it. Can’t say anymore. Check it out if it sounds good to you.

Author note

If you enjoyed this book and think I might enjoy something else you have read, let me know.

Another book I enjoyed and wrote about recently…


By Ján Jakub Naništa on Unsplash