THE HOBGOBLIN OF LITTLE MINDS
- By Mark Matthew
- Published by Wicked Run Press
- Available January 2021
Matthews has certainly created a version of werewolves I can get behind. Oddly enough, I’m not much for the classics – mummies, vampires, werewolves, zombies … they’re just not my cup of tea. They need to have something fresh about them to get my interest. Matthews has managed to do just that with The Hobgoblin of Little Minds.
The afterword proved to be especially memorable for me. I wasn’t aware Matthews is a licensed professional counselor in behavioral health, for one. Clearly, that background helped him in writing this story, which focuses on bipolar disorder. I am someone that has suffered from depression and anxiety most of my life, and as such I was able to relate to many moments throughout this book. There’s also the possibility that I am BiPolar like my aunt, something I’ve had family and friends ask me to pursue with doctors when I’ve hit my really low or manic stretches – I tend to become very destructive when they’re at their most extreme. I have not gone to the doctor about it, however, just like I’ve personally avoided medication for the past decade. From youth into early adulthood, I did try. I saw a handle of psychiatrists and therapists and tried a slew of different medications, and I felt like they were all useless. Of course, experiences are different for people – my mother swears by her own medications for depression and anxiety – so I’m not here telling you fuck the doctors and their pills. I really only point this all out because Matthews writes about people like me in his afterword – he may as well have just @’ed me!
But seriously, he gets the mania right in this book. Unfortunately, it’s not pleasant to read. I don’t know if that’s because it just hits too close to home for me or because mania can be an overly exhausting dose of words or actions. There are scenes in this book in which a character just goes on and on, whether aloud or in their mind. Things said seem frenzied and mismatched, out of place. Again, this was close to home for me. The manic moments felt very familiar and were well portrayed. I think Matthews was accurate with the symptoms in this book, and his connection to them being a transformation (in this case, werewolves) was something that seemed so obvious to me, I felt stupid for having not really thought of it before. At one point, Matthews says the symptoms of Bipolar presented in this novel are more extreme in nature, but not uncommon. He’s right. In my experience, it’s like being multiple people. When I hit those manic periods, I am surprisingly happy and energetic and just…extra everything (mentally, physically, sexually). When I’m dealing with my depression and anxiety, I’m withdrawn and tired and uninterested in basically everything.
The Hobgoblin of Little Minds turned out to be a bit much for my tastes, but Matthews did a great job on the book. It’s well-written, descriptive, visceral, and wild.
Highlights: A fresh take on werewolves … does “mania” justice … well written, complex, and full of depth you wouldn’t expect from a werewolf story … unsettling and disturbing
Shadows: The pace is a little slow once you’ve read beyond the beginning … some dialogue felt unnatural or long winded
FFO: Werewolves … horror based on emotional trauma and mental illnesses
Takeaway: It wasn’t quite what I wanted, but The Hobgoblin of Little Minds is well written, frantic at times, and an excellent display of bi-polar depression at its best and worst moments.
Would I read this author again? Yes
- REVIEW BY AIDEN MERCHANT
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