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Ammie, Come Home by Barbara Michaels
Another haunted house story. I wonder how many variations an author can find on this theme. Somehow they are all the same: something evil has happened in the past, some dead people can't pass on and haunt the present occupants. They delve into the house's history, find out who the ghost is and discover a way to get rid of it.
What did Barbara Michaels add to make this one special? Perhaps the way the people discussed the possible explanations of the ghostly manifestations. When a girl appears to become possessed, someone believes she may be suffering from multiple personality disorder, and later on they all wonder if perhaps all of it is some hoax.

Ruth is the main protagonist, a forty-something widow. Next we have her niece, Sara, a college student. Bruce is Sara's boyfriend and Pat is her professor who shows an interest in Ruth. Sara started living with Ruth a few months ago in the house Ruth recently inherited from a distant aunt. Both of them hear someone calling in the night "Ammie, come home", but they think it's just a missing dog named Sammie. The trouble really begins after Ruth invites people over and they hold a seance, just for fun.

I've seen the TV-movie "The house that wouldn't die" (1970) a long time ago, and it was nice to visualize Barbara Stanwyck, who I admire a lot, as Ruth. So it wasn't hard to sympathize with Ruth.
I thought Barbara Michaels usually wrote about feministic women, but in this case she surely didn't. As soon as the first ghostly visitation occurred, the men took over. Ruth and Sara were only good enough to do some secretarial work and see that the coffeepot remained filled, and they never rebelled.

One of my pet peeves turned up: I hate it when authors use different languages and make grammar errors. “‘Ich hatte eine Kameraden,’” he quoted. This should have been "einen". I always start wondering what else the author did wrong, but which I'm not aware of.

For old time's sake I've also watched the TV-movie again. I remembered it well so it must have impressed me when I saw it in my teens. Now I felt nothing. Probably I've seen too many better films in the meantime. And I think the same goes for books: I've had my fill of haunted houses. I've also decided to give up on Barbara Michaels. I suppose this one was well done, I just didn't like it very much. As I'm not fond of ghost stories, I'm not the right person to write a valid review and I shan't give a verdict.

Messages In This Thread
Ammie, Come Home by Barbara Michaels - by Charybdis - 10-11-2011, 09:57 AM

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