The Goth Girl on My Bookshelf: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – A Book Review

Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.

Delightfully strange and dark in all the right ways. 

It is my secret wish that Guillermo del Toro and Tim Burton will team up and turn this into a film. Please. Pretty please?

This book is slower paced, staying true to its classic writing style, but nonetheless enchants the modern audience by asking this one disturbing question:

What the hell happened?

You will find yourself oddly distraught over wanting to know its answer.

Our lead character is incredibly strange yet incredibly lovable. She is basically Luna Lovegood’s really weird second cousin. I love her very much. I’m also a little bit afraid of her. Okay, a lot. Don’t leave me alone with her, promise? 

Shirley Jackson is a master of story telling, and just in case you need evidence – this book does it.

This story really gives a unique perspective on how a haunted house might become “haunted,” as opposed to the usual tales of what happens in a house after the haunting has already begun.

This is one of my favorite classics editions, especially for a paperback.

The edges fold out to reveal beautiful illustrations and disturbing descriptions. If you’re a cover lover, this is for you!

Click the cover to meet Merricat, whose name is as peculiar as her personality. 


Out of 10

Good Things

  • Compelling story line
  • Strange and dark in the most beautiful of ways
  • Characters to fall in love with (and be slightly terrified of)
  • Riveting character dynamics

Bad Things

  • Slower pace in true classic form. Only a bad thing if you're in the mood for a fast read.

The Breakdown

Writing Style