Book Review: The Need by Helen Phillips

Published July 16th by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House Australia.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Thriller Fiction.

Page Count: 272

RRP: $29.99

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Penguin Books Australia:

Molly is exhausted, anxious, losing her grip on reality. Her husband is away and she is running between her children and her job, where things are unravelling. She’s a paleobotanist, working at a fossil quarry, and has recently unearthed artefacts that defy understanding; the coke bottle with the lettering that leans the wrong way, an alternative version of the Bible. Where do these things come from?

At home, as dusk falls, she gets jumpy. Are those footsteps out in the hall? What was that noise? She holds her two small children close to her, and tries to pull herself together. But her worlds of work and home are about to collide. She discovers that the stranger in her sitting room knows everything about her life and, as their identity becomes chillingly clear, this intruder makes a demand of Molly that upends everything, forcing her to reckon with her most unspeakable fears.

The Need is a gripping, unsettling and stunningly original story that probes deep truths about motherhood, and explores grief, loss and how we treat others. It’s a compulsive, reality-warping novel that makes us rethink our world, and question how far we would go to protect the ones we love.

My Review:

I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

This was quite a perplexing read, I felt like I couldn’t envision what may come next and I couldn’t help but feel a complete sense of unease as I read it! I couldn’t help but wonder if Molly, our main character, was completely imagining everything or just living in an extreme state of paranoia!

The narration was completely engaging, the chapters being quite short so as I was reading this, I felt like I couldn’t put it down! There were some aspects of this book that were done so well and I found them to be so spooky, such as when Molly finds an intruder in her home, decked in a turtleneck sweater, track pants and scarily enough, an antler head! The imagery here was so unnerving, I just couldn’t get enough! I couldnt help but wonder what would come next!

I admired Molly’s love for her children, I do think she is a great mother to young Vivi and Ben, effectively raising them herself whilst managing her demanding career as a paleobotonist, whilst her husband is away. I felt like a lot of the mystery, for me, in this book was that Molly often found herself slipping between what was real and what wasn’t, such as was that the footsteps of someone in the house? Or was it just Vivi or Ben?

I feel like I never really knew, and it was just constantly unsettling throughout!

If you’re looking for a unique and dark book, I definitely recommend this book! It’ll stay in your mind for sure!

Happy Reading,


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