Man, Fuck This House - Brian Asman

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Pros: a spooky spin on motherhood, postpartum depression, etc.

Cons: lots of typos, strange writing that took me out of the story, scattered storytelling overall

So this book, I was very excited to read. It was a shorter book with a catchy title and minimal cover... all things I gravitate towards when browsing books. Plus, the author follows me on Instagram so, no pressure, right? I did appreciate the story being told, the supernatural meets real world blend and the overall idea of the book, but I also had some issues. Here are my thoughts on Man, Fuck This House.




I am starting with the cons because I want to get them out of the way... the writing was c h a l l e n g i n g. I really enjoyed the chapter structure and how the titles were days of the week but the narrative sometimes shifted between characters so abruptly, it made it very difficult to read. There were many times where I had to go back a re-read several parts to make sure I hadn't missed something. There were also a bunch of typos: like using the word "hide" when it should have been "hid", using the word "here" when it should have been "hear" and there was even one instance of a double up: "about about."

Another aspect of the writing that I had a hard time with was anytime Damien was leading the narrative. Damien is an elementary school kid, intelligent beyond his years and is entertained by pretending to be a demon/sociopath to exacerbate his mother's already shaky mental health. However, he isn't written consistently enough to make that believable. At one point in the book, Damien is talking about his teacher having an "erection" in class and then just a few sentences later, he uses the word "poo poo" while in the bathroom. As a mother of 11 and 12 year old boys... I don't believe they know the word "erection." I am 100% sure that they know the word "poo poo" but haven't used it since potty training, age 3-4. Reading these sorts of things made the whole thing feel very unnatural and forced.


There were a lot of good qualities in this book, many of which carried the book across the finish line because if the story wasn't so intriguing, spooky and poignant, I would've slapped a DNF on it because of the writing, alone.

My favorite thing about the book was the nuanced approach to motherhood and postpartum depression. Full disclosure, I am not sure if I am using "nuanced" correctly, but I am rolling with it. There were several lines to be drawn from the events unfolding in the book and the postpartum/motherhood journey. It is touched on every now and then: Hal suggesting Sabrina see a doctor because he fears she "hates" their son, Damien himself saying that he is aware that his mother hasn't been the same since he was born, etc. So I feel fairly confident that the author did this knowingly. Although, I could also be projecting from my own journey with motherhood, WHO KNOWS.

My second favorite part of the book was, of course, the supernatural aspects. I felt like everything that happened was almost a direct result of Sabrina's mental state at the time... therefore, every weirdo bone in my body wants to say that the house was a tulpa. A tulpa is believed to be a supernatural phenomenon in which the collective thoughts of a person/group bring to life a physical manifestation of their thoughts, fears and desires. Slenderman, Freddy Krueger and my personal favorite, the Babadook could all be considered tulpas. So if you read the book with this in mind, the dots start to connect themselves. The house begins caring for her, helping her, etc. when they first arrived and she was adjusting, kinda lonely, etc. As Sabrina's fear of Damien grew, the house began taking shape, intimidating and eventually trying to kill Damien. The more intense her feelings got, the stronger the house (aka the tulpa) became.

Ultimately, Sabrina is destroyed by the house. However, if I am right and the house is a tulpa, Sabrina is destroyed by Sabrina. Her thoughts, fears, desires and crumbling mental health all had a hand in her own demise. I may be projecting yet again, but motherhood is often lonely and isolating; sometimes, it does get the better of us. Add to that, the feelings of resentment, guilt, the gaslighting from people who just don't get it (hello, Hal) and the postpartum depression itself... it is a recipe for disaster, and it came to fruition here. So, Brian, if that wasn't your intention, I have questions. If it was your intention, well done.


Also, please enjoy my GoodReads review and follow me there if you'd like! This review is a great summary of all the things I plan to discuss at length below.



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