Horns- Joe Hill- Review (Spoilers)
This is another book I picked up because I saw that it was becoming a movie. As I have stated in previous reviews I like to read the books before seeing the movies. I want to see where the original story came from then see how they compare. I did not have a clear idea of what the movie was actually about. I thought it was more a love story. The main idea being having to accept and love someone despite the demon they may have in their soul.
What the book was really about was accepting the darker side of oneself and trying to determine what good can be done with that darkness. A reader learns that avenging a loved one can bring out the darkest sides of someone and sometimes that is necessary. I enjoyed the book so much because I was left questioning my idea of good and evil and what it means to live out a life defined by one or the other. And as I have stated previously as book that makes me question anything is always a book I enjoy.
Ig Perrish wakes up one morning with zero memory of the previous night. He also has a pair of horns growing out of the top of his head. He has no idea where they came from or what they mean. Almost immediately he learns what they do though. The horns compel people to express their darkest desires or confess their worst deeds to Ig. Unless they are in possession of a cross they can’t help telling him the worst sides of themselves.
Naturally at first Ig is confused, lost and upset. This is all made worse by the fact that the horns showed up a day after the anniversary of the murder of his girlfriend Merrin. He quickly realizes that he all those he leaned on and trusted are against him. They all harbor ill feelings or negative opinions that tear Ig apart. He is left alone and desperate to figure out what is going on with his life.
Ig does find a new mission for his life. Under the influence of the horns his brother tells him who killed Merrin, their old friend Lee. Ig instantly decides that he has to kill Lee to avenge the love his life. He becomes consumed with this mission and this mission only. He can’t rest knowing the man is walking around free.
I thought we were going to see Ig striving not to sink under the horn’s influence. I thought it was going to be a story about a man fighting not to kill and not lose himself to the darkness. What we got was a story about Ig learning that darkness and good are part of each other. They are meaningless concepts without each other. You can’t have pure evil without pure good because without one the other is just a word or idea with no reference point. Ig fights to find a balance between his good and evil side.
Ig is human and is not perfect. At first he doesn’t know how to control his urges. He pushes his grandmother down a hill when she confesses she wished she was dead and not dealing with him. He lashes out like many of us have. We all have had that moment when we hit someone with words or fists in anger. We all have a moment where we go too far. Ig realizes that he can’t let himself go around punishing everyone who confesses to him, despite the rush he gets from those actions. He decides to focus his energy on killing Lee instead.
We see his growth when he goes after his own brother. He believes his brother had to have something to do with Merrin’s death. He then sees that his brother had no control over the situation. He was present but not responsible. He wanted to confess was his hands were tied. He can barely live with his actions and decisions.
The easy thing, the devil thing, would have been for Ig to kill him or punish his brother no matter what. He could have stabbed him or tortured him just because he had the information for so long. Instead Ig tries to send him away and to his own life again. He does not want him to suffer anymore. This is the moment when we see Ig taking a step back and realizing that there is a line he has to walk no matter what is poking out of the top of his head.
Even when he is at peak devil he still thinks about others. His ex-girlfriend Glenna comes looking for him. He could hurt her. He could punish her for cheating on him or the number of other negative things she has done in her life. He could do a lot of things but he instead tells her she deserves more and sends her away. He tries to give her a better life. He wants her to get what she deserves in life.
Ig Perrish wakes up with horns believing his turning into the devil. What he learns, as well as what the readers learns, is that the line between being good and being evil is a very hazy line. They are two concepts that are woven together and trying to separate them into two completely separate concepts is nearly impossible. We all have angels and devils inside of us. We just have to determine when to let which side out and how to make them work together instead of against one another.