There can be no doubt that every individual has their own little secrets. This could be a burning desire in life which is difficult to share with others, or perhaps it is a past unfortunate activity which is best left uncovered. People will try their hardest to protect such secrets in an effort to take them to the grave. However, while it is a fact that we all harbor secrets in life, it is equally true that others will try their best to uncover them. That is simply an unfortunate trait of human nature. Be that as it may, when such shrouded bits of information are actually uncovered, they may be much more than anyone bargained for… or can handle! That is certainly the case in Danielle DeVor’s short story, Papap’s Teeth. Those who enjoy quick horror tales juxtaposed with a side of sentimentality, may consider giving this book a read.
As this is a very short tale, I will provide a brief synopsis in order to avoid spoilers. The story focuses upon a little girl named Sara and her grandfather. They have a very close and loving relationship as is typical of many grandparents and their grandchildren. However, one thing does mystify Sara in regards to her Grandpa. Every time they are together he has a peculiar habit of taking a small wooden box out of his pocket and staring at it for a few moments. He then slips it right back into his pocket from whence it came. When questioned about this by Sara, he quickly dismisses her and warns her off the topic. On a sleepover at her Grandfather’s house, Sara’s curiosity finally gets the best of her and when her Grandfather is preoccupied, she looks into the little wooden box. What she discovers will change her life, and the lives of others, for eternity.
Overall, this was a well written story. The writing flows very nicely and the ideas are presented seamlessly. However, I found it to be missing some of the key elements which should be contained in a classic horror story. The horror genre will include elements such as mystery, suspense, fear, foreshadowing and a plot which will really make the reader think! Personally I did not connect with all of these elements in this tale. I connected more with this story as a nostalgic tale between a girl and her grandfather. I did find that part of the tale to be quite captivating and touching. The terror and fear which accompany a classic horror story were just not as powerful for me however and as such I found the plot was lacking in that area and not what I expected.
As mentioned, the author did do a great job at presenting the relationship between a grandparent and child. The characters were well described, developed and engaging. Many people would easily be able to associate their own personal experiences growing up and have nostalgic flashbacks to their own past. This critical relationship between Sara and her Grandfather was touching and engaging. Where it did lose me a little however was with the “gift” the grandfather left Sara in his Will. While I understand why this was included, it still did not seem to fit their relationship.
All in all this was a different type of horror story which certainly may appeal to many people. The actual writing is very good and the author attempts to create fear in a different way which incorporates sentimentality into the mix. An admirable attempt but it was missing a few too many other elements for this particular lover of the horror genre.
3 Toothy Stars for this one!